UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Over the last three months, prices for various building materials have dramatically increased.
With a bag of cement selling between USh40,000 and USh50,000 from USh28,000 last year, customers and contractors are experiencing the worst cost pressure.
A 12 millimetre (mm) iron bar is at USh48000 from the initial USh36000, while a piece of 28 gauge iron sheet is sold at USh73000 from the initial USh47000. Each brick (not concrete bricks) is sold between USh300 and USh600 depending on the make of the brick.
Key players in the construction industry attribute the increment in prices to scarcity of raw materials and the rising fuel prices. For example, truck drivers queue at various cement factories to wait for the little cement available.
Many consumers have been left contemplating whether to continue with their projects or suspend them until the prices of building materials are more affordable.
In Arua City, a bag of cement has gone from USh46,000 to USh50,000.
James Odaga, a builder in Ewuata, Arua City says that he has been asked by his boss to stop the construction of the house he has been working on because he is no longer able to afford construction materials.
“Life is hard for those constructing houses because even prices of nails have increased,” he says.
He adds that there is a need for government to impose price control measures to protect consumers.
A kilogram of roofing nails has gone higher by USh1000 from USh7000 to USh8000.
In Koboko District, contractors say building materials have increased by 30% which has affected their planned price quotations.
Margret Ssekidde, the Director of Seroma Hardware says that they have been forced to increase the cement prices due to its scarcity.
“If you buy cement at a wholesale price of USh36,000 a bag, you are forced to sell at USh38,000 or USh40,000,” she says.
Considering the fuel factor, Ugandans continue to bear the burden of high fuel prices despite assurance from the government that prices would stabilise.
In most parts of the country, a trip of 1000 mud bricks goes for USh240,000 from USh200,000 while that of clay and soil bricks has almost doubled.
At Glory Hardware on Mukirane Street in Kasese Town, a bag of cement is sold at USh35,000 from USh32,000, while the price of white iron sheets has increased from USh32,000 to USh34,000.
The Managing Director of Geses (U) Ltd, Peter Nkurunnungi, says they are trying their best to fulfil their contractual obligation.
However, if the prices continue to rise, contractors will have to ask for an amendment to the contracts.
He adds that not only have the prices increased but also difficult to find the materials because of the shortage.
In Kyotera, the cement price ranges from USh37,000 to USh40,000 from the previous USh28,000 and USh30,000, respectively.
Ronald Kizito, the Manager of U-SAVE General Hardware in Kyotera Town, explains the smallest size of iron bars costs USh35,000 up from USh25,000, whereas the biggest size costs USh50,000 from USh35,000.
“Our suppliers have also hiked the prices and we have no option, but to follow suit,” he says.
Simon Masajage, who operates hardware in Mpigi Town, says it was difficult for prices of building materials to remain stable when fuel prices keep increasing.
“It is the fuel which drives our economy, and since its prices are unstable, don’t expect prices to decrease,’ he says.
In Lyantonde, a bag of Hima cement goes for USh30,000 while Tororo cement goes for USh31,000.
In Tororo, a bag of Tororo cement costs USh30,000 from USh28,000 and Simba cement goes for USh28,000 from USh24,000.
In Mbale City, most hardware stores, including Generous Trading and Investments Ltd on Mbale-Soroti Road, are selling a bag of Tororo cement at USh36,000 from USh33,000.
Ayub Madoi, the proprietor of Oceans Hardware Ltd in Mbale, says there is a cement shortage.
“There is scarcity of cement and other construction materials,” he says.
In Jinja City, North Division, George Kisame, the owner of Kisame George Hardware shop, says cement is now at USh36,000 from USh33,000, big iron bars USh45,000, up from USh40,000, and a bundle of wire mesh is USh45,000 up from USh40,000.
Kisame links the rise in prices to the Russia-Ukraine war as some manufacturers cannot find materials.
“Our suppliers are telling us that the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting them,’’ Kisame says.
Shaban Muyaki, a dealer in construction works, says despite the high prices, he has no option but to stay in business.
In Buikwe, David Achiga, who owns a construction company, says that the prices of building materials have gone up, which has stopped some people from starting or proceeding with construction.
In Moroto District, a bag of cement Tororo brand is at USh50,000, while in Kotido, it is sold at USh52,000 and in Kaabong, USh55000.
Patrick Lomuria, one of the contractors, said some of them who won contracts are facing a big challenge in fulfilling their contractual obligations.
Ali Rashid, the Vice-chairperson of Nebbi Lorry Tipper Drivers’ Association, said there is no business for tipper lorries since most clients have suspended construction work.
“Most of these people are going hungry,” he says.
Francis Opio, a local contractor in Adjumani Town, says his client has halted any construction works.
He says a bag of cement that was at USh30,000 has now increased to USh45,000, iron sheets white 30 gauge that used to be at USh35,000 have gone to USh42,000. The pre-painted iron sheet that used to sell at USh42,000 has increased to USh50,000.
In Gulu City, a bag of cement now costs between USh36,000 and USh38,000, up from USh28,000 and USh29,000. The price of Weather Guard paints (20 litres) rose from USh270,000 to USh290,000, while Vinyl silk (20-litre paint) rose from USh270,000 to USh285,000 in most selling points in Gulu City.
Godwin Mutabarura, a resident of Mbarara City, says they are having a challenge with building materials.
Currently, a bag of cement has increased from USh31,500 to USh38,000, and this happened in a few days.
The increase in construction material prices in April marked the highest rates in the last two years.
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