THE Ministry of Industry and Trade has suspended all trade in non-ferrous metals for at least one month as it continues to combat the illegal trade in scrap metal.
Non ferrous metals on the suspended list include copper, aluminium, nickel, silver, tin, platinum and lead. However, gold is not one of the suspended metals.
The suspension of trade in the non-ferrous metals comes with the announcement that relevant stakeholders will band together to form a Compliance and Enforcement Working Group to monitor the trade of scrap metal under the Scrap Metal Decree 2011.
And this will see some of the 12 licensed scrap metal dealers in Fiji losing their licences if found to be in contravention of the decree by the working group.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday permanent secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali made the announcement on the new government policy directed at stopping the illegal trade.
"Effective from today, the trade of all non-ferrous scrap metal will be suspended."
"This is to allow the compliance and working group to undertake monitoring of the trade, they will undertake their work for at least one month after which the situation will be assessed and then we can review the suspension," Mr Ali said.
He said the ministry would also take a lead role in forming the Compliance and Enforcement Working Group with relevant agencies including the police, the Fiji Electricity Authority, Telecom Fiji Limited and other government ministries.
The trade in illegal scrap metal is estimated to have cost FEA, TFL and the Water Authority of Fiji millions of dollars and Mr Ali said the two main areas of concern were the Central and Western divisions.
Those found in breach of the Scrap Metal Decree 2011 can be fined a maximum of $10,000 or serve a term of five years in prison.