Ghanaian companies that deal in the procurement of scrap metals to feed the country’s steel industry are being pushed out of business by foreigners.
The business, which is purely for Ghanaians, as part of local content in the steel value chain, has been taken over by mainly Indians who are now dealing directly with the collectors.
The Indians are creating a huge mess that is leading to collectors of scraps for Ghanaian aggregators becoming redundant.
There are fears that the collectors, who are mainly from slum areas, will look for unorthodox means of surviving because of dark marketing involving the Indians.
What is happening is that the Indians have engaged a few collectors and are buying the scraps at super abnormal prices and so nobody is interested in dealing with the collectors that work for the Ghanaian scrap metals dealers.
Scrap Metal Front
There are some eight companies that feed the steel companies that are predominantly located at the Tema industrial area in the Greater Accra Region.
Each of the companies has an aggregator it deals with and there are well-structured ways of supplying the companies because the scraps suppliers were dealing openly with the scrap metals collectors, who always take their stuff to Tema.
The situation has changed, as the foreigners, especially the Indians, have set up various buying sites at Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi, where they deal directly with the collectors.
Majority of the steel companies are not getting supply of the scrap metals, as the foreigners are feeding only one company with what they get from where they have set up the buying sites to deal with the collectors.
Scrap Dealers Accuse B5 Plus
The scrap dealers that feed all the steel companies with the all-important raw material are accusing an Indian steel company based at the Tema enclave of being the brain behind the current chaotic atmosphere in the scrap metals business.
According to them, B5 Plus Company is the company that has set up sites across the country to buy the scraps from the collectors, who hitherto were dealing with the Ghanaian aggregators.
“The Indians on the field for B5 Plus have created an uneven playing field as they are offering super abnormal prices for scraps and that means that the collectors will only deal with them directly and not the Ghanaian aggregators,” they said.
They told The Inquisitor that all the steel companies that were depending on the Ghanaian scrap dealers for raw materials are being pushed out of business because of B5 Plus’s interest.
It is instructive to note that the steel industry is currently operating around 30 per cent capacity and that has placed lots of workers in a redundant position.
As B5 Plus is pushing hard to be in control of the scrap metals business to feed its operations, there is ongoing illegal exportation of the metals, although government has placed a ban on it.
Some countries, like China, Thailand and Malaysia, offer attractive prices for scrap metals which the local industries cannot afford to pay.
Ghana placed a ban on the exportation of scrap metals in 2013, in order to protect the local industry.
There have been several calls on the government to lift the ban, but that has not succeeded because of the interest of the local steel companies.
The Inquisitor Speaks With B5 Plus
When The Inquisitor contacted B5 Plus on the accusation by the scrap dealers, an official, speaking via mobile phone, said that the local scrap aggregators’ claims were baseless.
According to the B5 Plus official, the scraps collectors are interested in dealing with their company because they are comfortable selling their scraps directly to them, instead of going through the aggregators.
He told The Inquisitor that it was never through that the company had set up buying sites at Kumasi and Tamale to deal with the scrap metals collectors.
Admitting that the scrap metals business was the preserve of the local dealers, the official said that there was nothing wrong with offering higher prices for the metal from the collectors.
He told The Inquisitor that B5 Plus was producing under capacity because of lack of scrap metals.
Getting charged at a point during the interview, the official asked The Inquisitor of evidence of B5 Plus setting up buying sites at Kumasi and Tamale.
Before The Inquisitor would probe further, the B5 Plus official truncated the conversation on the phone.
Meanwhile, The Inquisitor is reliably informed that emissaries of B5 Plus buying scraps in Tamale went to the extent of announcing their purchasing prices on some local community radio stations in the area to attract more collectors.