• Fri. Aug 19th, 2022

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | In Uganda, the limited availability of building materials, rapid population growth and limited household incomes had already posed a challenge to low-income earners’ access to decent shelter.

However, the recent sharp increase in the cost of building materials has further hampered access to affordable housing. A bag of cement is now selling between USh40,000 and USh50,000 from USh28,000 last year.

A 12-millimetre (mm) iron bar is at USh48000 from the initial USh36000, while a piece of 28 gauge iron sheet is being sold at USh73000 from the initial USh47000. Each brick is sold between USh100 and more than 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 rising fuel prices. For example, truck drivers queue at various cement factories to wait for the little cement available on the market.

Many consumers have been left contemplating whether to continue with their building projects or suspend them until prices are more affordable.

In Arua City, a bag of cement has gone from USh46,000 to USh50,000.

James Odaga, a builder in Ewuata says 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.

In Koboko District, contractors say building materials have increased by 30%, affecting their planned quotations.

Margret Ssekidde, the Director of Seroma Hardware, says that they have been forced to increase their prices due to the scarcity of cement.

“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.

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 stopped all construction works.

He says a bag of cement that was USh30, 000 has now increased to USh45,000, and 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.

Godwin Mutabarura, a resident of Mbarara City, says they are also facing the same problems with building materials.

Currently, a bag of cement has increased from USh31,500 to USh38,000 in just a few days.

The population can’t keep up with the new prices, making it difficult for Ugandans to afford homes. It is now expensive if one wants to buy a house or even build it.

The president of the Association of Real Estate Agents Uganda (AREA), Mr Vincent Agaba, said that the rising costs in the construction sector have challenged the supply side of affordable housing units.

“The capacity to provide low and affordable houses on the market is reducing. Developers are putting fewer houses on the market because of rising costs,” he said.

It is also worrying that because of the rising cost of building materials, Uganda will suffer a housing deficit since most people are unable to incur such high costs.

Uganda has a housing deficit of over 550,000 units of which 160,000 units are needed in the urban areas.

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