The President of the Scrap Metal Association (SLSMA) Omotayo Vidal Macarthy has said that approximately 10,000 people depend on scrap metal for survival.
Addressing a press conference yesterday at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLNA), the President noted that, “this association was established to strengthen the economy by creating employment opportunities for the unemployed youths, encourage them to participate in sanitation practices in the country by cleaning drainages, compounds and dust bins”.
He added that “we are working very hard to see that the whole city is cleaned properly, noting that this can only be done if scrap metals are removed from the ground”.
Vidal Macarthy said that, since the association was formed in 2005, they have tried very had to assist local farmers by collecting scrap metal in order to prepare the land for farming.
The aim of SLSMA, he said was to reduce the unwanted scrap materials in the country, which makes cleaning exercise easier, create employment opportunities for the jobless youths and in the end strengthen the county’s economy.
The President further stated that, his administration is trying to enhance a smooth running of the Youth Employment Project, which plays a vital role in the cleaning exercise.
The Secretary-General of the association, Moses Ekinado pointed out that all containers loaded for export are thoroughly inspected by government agencies including the Sierra Leone Police, Ministry of Energy and Power, Ministry of Trade, Radiation unit among others and scanned by Intertek before leaving the shores of Freetown.
Commenting on media reports that the association is involved in the smuggling of cocaine, the Secretary-General debunked those reports, stating that the organization has never involved in such business.
He added that in every town and village in this country, “we have chairladies and chairmen who also monitor the scrap metal business”.
Moses Ekinado stressed that, with the inception of the scrape metal business the crime rates in the country have reduced as ex-combatants and youths are gainfully employed in the business.
Ben Agbebaku, a member of the association, urged journalists to clarify issues regarding the association to avoid rumors and speculations.
Meanwhile the association is planning a campaign to discourage under age children from dealing in scrap metals.
By Abibatu Kamara