WITH about $5 million lost to cable thefts in the Western Division over the past 12 months, Telecom Fiji Limited is spearheading a campaign to see the full enforcement of the Scrap Metal Decree.
TFL's regional manager west Henry Kitione said the theft of copper wire from the telecommunications provider was not just an economic issue.
The widespread theft of copper cables and sabotage of TFL property also compromised the security of homes and businesses in the Western Division.
"TFL has been bogged down with cable thefts, so much so that we have now sought the commissioner western's help," said Mr Kitione.
"And we have met other aggrieved parties like the Fiji Sugar Corporation, Fiji Electricity Authority, Water Authority of Fiji and the Fiji Roads Authority that all share the same predicament.
"We need a solution. This problem is not only an economic problem, it is also a security problem because most companies alarms work on our lines and when lines are cut and cables removed, alarms do not work."
Mr Kitione said the high market price for clean copper made copper wire lucrative than conventional forms of revenue earning.
"In the telecommunications business, copper cables are some of the most expensive resources we use and we have found out that this is also one of the most sought-after by scrap metal dealers.
"We have heard that dealers are paying anywhere between $10 to $14 a kilogram for clean copper. For that kind of money, people are not planting cassava and preferring to steal copper."
Mr Kitione said the theft and sabotage used to be a nation-wide problem but for some reason the recent focus of thieves was infrastructure in the Western Division.
The Western Division Scrap Metal Task Force has suspended all scrap metal dealers licences as of Thursday.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said the suspension would not be lifted until all dealers were inspected by security forces and brought in-line with the Scrap Metal Decree. All exports of scrap metal out of the division have also been put on hold by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority until further notice.