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Government has deferred the deadline for bringing legislation to govern the scrap metal trade to the National Assembly, to next year.This was revealed during the second day of consideration of the Budget 2019 estimates when Business Minister Dominic Gaskin was questioned about allocations to various agencies under the Ministry.He was previously optimistic of bringing the scrap metal legislation to the House by this year end, following much back and forth after the trade was halted by Government.The ban was temporarily lifted in February 2017, after it was imposed in JuneBusiness Minister Dominic Gaskin2015. The Business Minister revealed in September that Government would be reopening the trade of scrap metal for three-month stints at a time until the relevant legislation was tabled. In June 2018, he had said that the new legislation was taken to the Cabinet and approved at that level. The next step, he had noted, would have been to approach the National Assembly.“Hopefully, before the end of the year, we will have a new legislation. We will have a new software system that we are using, and we will have a Board of Directors to oversee the scrap metal unit, and I believe we’ll have something firm and solid in place to regulate the scrap metal industry,” Gaskin had told the media earlier this year.However, following that declaration, the legislation was finalised in the Attorney General’s Chambers and has since been awaiting passage in the National Assembly. Government had approved a restart of the scrap metal trade in Guyana during February 2017 after closing down the industry one year prior to that.The main reason for this was to allow exporters to ship out the existing stock over a limited period of three months, to ensure that there was no pile-up of these materials. However, in April 2018, after several months of delays, Government decided to reopen the trade to facilitate the clearance of some of the accumulated scrap metal across the country.While a date for the full resumption of the trade had not been announced, Gaskin had told this publication that the date depended on several important factors.The Minister disclosed that a meeting was held with exporters and dealers to introduce them to a new system that the Business Ministry was trying to implement.According to him, it is a software-based system that was specially designed to help the Ministry to monitor and regulate the trade once it resumed, creating a level playing field for all.Gaskin said the resumption of the trade would give the Ministry the opportunity to test the system to ensure that it was working and would also help to clear some of the accumulated scrap metal that has been legitimately acquired from some of the exporters or dealers’ yards.It was after a forensic audit conducted by the Scrap Metal Unit (SMU) that Government had removed the responsibility for the trade from the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to the Business Ministry.