22 years old Kadie Sillah is on record to have said that she was born to a very poor family background at Kroo Bay slum in Freetown where she was motivated to take to scrap mental trade as her only source of survival.
“Scrap mental sale has been my only source of survival because I am not educated to secure a gainful employment in Sierra Leone where opportunities are very scarce”
Kadie said she is engaged to an unemployed man who is also heavily involved in scrap mental business as a means of income generation to take care of the home.
She explained that scrap metal trade is not an easy task as most times she goes out together with her husband in search of the scrap metal in neighborhoods, dump sites and old garages.
“Some of the time we don’t get the scrap metal freely because we pay money for them so that we can assemble them and later resell them to the Sierra Leone scrap metal association at Kingtom” she explained, adding that the proceeds from the transaction go towards feeding , health care , schooling and clothing.
The scrap metals are weighed per kilo to determine the cost of the metals. A kilo scrap mental costs Le 3,000.
Old batteries, aluminum cans, scrap engines and other metals are mainly searched for by the unemployed youths across the country.
The Public Relations Officer and Coordinator, Sierra Leone Scrap Metal Association, Ayo Grant, said his organization is one of the most credible associations that have created thousands of employment for all categories of Sierra Leoneans including youths, adults and the aged.
He explained that his organization has since 2007 made it a point of duty to provide financial support to reliable youths who are willing to serve as agents for them across the country.
He pointed out that there are lots of controversies over the scrap mental deal in the country as some ill-motivated people go around tampering with government structures such as the National Power Authority electric cables thereby giving them bad reputation. He opined that it is now part of their policy to arrest anyone who is caught with any metal that has to do with government structure.
“We signed a resolution in 2007 which clearly stipulates that anyone who tampers with government structure must be dealt with”he said.
He said at one point scrap metal deal was banned across the country because of the occupation of some desperate people who were bent on destroying government structures in the name of scrap metals, but however warned that anyone caught tampering with government structure will be prosecuted in the court of law.
He said despite the presence of mining companies in the country engaged in mining raw iron ore , they deemed it necessary to embark on gathering old scrap metals for recycling because it is much easier to process than the raw materials.
He maintained that they have understanding with all the mining companies engaged in mining iron ore in the country noting that they are only interested in scrap metals and not raw materials. This, he stated, has to a very great extent reduced conflict of interest.
By Solomon Rogers