Andre Williams, chief information officer and project manager for the JSWIFT Project.
The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has simplified the scrap metal export process by utilising its single window electronic system.
Chief information officer and project manager for the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) Project Andre Williams said, “Exporters would previously have to fill out a physical form, take it down to the Trade Board Limited (TBL), have that approved and then of course take that physical form to Customs.”
He explained that most of those steps can be completed online within the single window using one application. “It is routed to Customs and verification is done including inspection. When that is approved, it then moves immediately through the electronic system to Trade Board for approval and that person will simply be able to go online and download the approved export permit,” he said.
The process can take between one to two hours now; before, the process would take two to three days to complete.
Aside from the electronic improvements, JCA Senior Director for Kingston Operations Selina Clarke-Graham disclosed that the scrap metal industry is growing and the agency has put additional security in place to ensure the trade is properly regulated.
“There is a steady increase, in terms of the scrap metal, and they are consistently exporting scrap,” said Clarke-Graham.
She explained that the increased security was put in place to stave off another scrap metal ban such as the one which was imposed by the Government in 2011 to end the vandalism of costly metal from businesses and residencies. “At the relevant scrap metal sites we have customs officers who are stationed there. So, they oversee the entire operation, the receiving of scrap into the yard and the physical loading of the containers for export,” she said.
But that's not all. She disclosed that in order to operate legitimately within the scrap metal business in Jamaica, scrap metal exporters must register through the JSWIFT portal as manual applications are no longer being accepted by the TBL.
She also noted that there are many points of inspection conducted by various agencies to ensure that the operators are conducting business within legal parameters.
“If someone wishes to export scrap copper wires, that goes through an extensive process because there's a role for Factories Corporation of Jamaica, the Trade Board, MICAF and Customs. That scrap has to be inspected to ensure that they can declare accurately the source of the metal copper wires,” she said.
“After we have satisfied ourselves that this item was obtained legally we will revert to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce indicating to them that everything is okay for them to proceed with the relevant approval,” Clarke-Graham continued.
She noted that despite ongoing complaints from telecoms providers that vandals are stealing millions worth of metal from their facilities, those items have not been identified at any of the scrap metal sites.
“We have never come across any of those items, all that we inspect are authorised scrap or minced copper which they would have purchased from Cable & Wireless but nothing of the sort that Cable & Wireless would have declared have gone missing,” she said.
She reiterated, “We have cameras there for them to benefit from this site privilege. They have certain requirements that they have to meet, including CCTV and all of those things, so we have not received any reports of any of those things being identified at any of these locations.”
Since 2019, 17 companies have been licensed as scrap metal exporters. However, only 13 of those traders are currently valid. Williams advised that the other four traders could be in the process of renewing their licenses.
Source: Jamaica Observer
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