Prices of building materials shoot up

Workers assemble building materials at Jukali Complex in Soroti Town on April 12, 2022. PHOTO | GEORGE MURON

What you need to know:

  • Key players in the industry attribute the increment to scarcity of raw materials and the rising fuel prices. The scarcity of cement has forced truck drivers to queue at the various factories as the little that is left is rationed.

Prices for numerous building material have soared countrywide in the last three months, Daily Monitor has established.

Customers and contractors are experiencing the worst cost pressure, with a bag of cement selling between Shs40,000 and Shs50,000, up from Shs28,000 last year, in a country already pressed by increasing fuel prices and other household items. 

A 12-millimetre iron bar is at Shs48,000, from the initial Shs36,000, while a piece of 28 gauge iron sheet is being sold at Shs73,000 from the initial Shs47,000. Each brick is between Shs100 and more than Shs600, depending on the type.

The prices have had an impact on the cost of transportation of the materials to various sites.

Key players in the industry attribute the increment to scarcity of raw materials and the rising fuel prices. The scarcity of cement has forced truck drivers to queue at the various factories as the little that is left is rationed.  

A mini-survey conducted by Daily Monitor across key municipalities, cities and town councils on Monday indicates how prices of cement, twisted bars and other construction material have increased, leaving many consumers contemplating whether to continue with their projects or suspend them until prices stablise.

In Arua City, this newspaper established that a bag of cement has risen from Shs46,000 to Shs50,000.

Mr James Odaga, a builder in Ewuata, says he has been asked by his boss to halt the construction works for his house because he will not be able to afford materials.

“Life is hard for those constructing houses because even prices of nails have increased,” he says.

The April prices represent some of the highest rates in the last two years. 

Mr Odaga said there is a need by the government to impose price control measures to protect consumers. A kilo of roofing nails costs Shs8,000 up from Shs7,000.

In Koboko District, contractors say building materials have increased by 30 percent, which has affected their planned quotations.

For instance, a bag of Simba and Hima cement sells between Shs45,000 and Shs46000 from  the previous Shs31,000.A bag of Tororo Cement, which was at Shs32,000 is  sold at Shs47,000 .

Ms Margaret Ssekidde, the director of Seroma Hardwares, says they have been forced to increase their prices due to the scarcity of cement.

“If you buy cement at a wholesale price of Shs36,000 a bag, you are forced to sell at Shs38,000 or Shs40,000,” he says.

Ugandans continue to bear the brunt of high fuel prices despite assurance from government three months ago that they would stabilise. 

In Kenya, government has settled part of the oil dealers’ debt and President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed a mini-budget allocating more funds to the subsidy. 

Last Thursday, the Energy minister assured Kenyans of normal fuel supplies after receiving a shipment of 100 million litres of oil at Mombasa Port.  However,  the countrywide shortage of fuel has entered the second week. 

Other districts

A trip of 1,000 mud bricks in most parts of the country goes for Shs240,000 up from Shs200,000. 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 Shs35,000 up from Shs32000 while the price of white iron sheet has increased from Shs32,000 to Shs34, 000, from between Shs31,000 and Shs33,000.

Uganda Baati is sold at Shs55,000 from Shs50,000 and Roofings increased from Shs48,000 to Shs53,000. A galvanised iron sheet is sold at Shs98,000 from Shs92,000 at the same hardware.

Enforcement bars Y-12 has increased from Shs40,000 to Shs45,000, Y-10 is sold at Shs35,000 from Shs30,000 whilst Y 16 is also bought at Shs80,000 from Shs65,000.

 A 20-litre jerrycan of Global and Vitoria paints is sold at Shs63,000 and Shs 42,000, respectively.

 Mr Brian Kibaya, an attendant at Glory hardware, says the price of the building materials have skyrocketed in one month. 

“There is high demand compared to the current supply,” Mr Kibaya says.

 In Soroti City, the cost of a 10mm rod of iron bar is sold at Shs33,000 higher than the initial price of Shs28,000 while a 12mm rod goes for Shs43,000 unlike the initial rate of Shs38,000.

Meanwhile, coloured iron sheets at Riddhi Enterprise are sold at Shs49,000 and gauge 30, whose price for white stainless iron sheets is Shs31,000. 

The coloured iron sheets of Gauge 28 costs Shs65,000, unlike before when it used to cost between Shs55,000 and Shs60,000.

 Mr Didas Marahi, who travelled from Rwanda with plans of plastering his five-roomed house in Katadoba Cell in Central Division, Kasese Municipality, told Daily Monitor on Monday that he has halted his plans due to the current market prices.

 “I had budgeted to buy 25 bags of cement each at Shs28,000 like it was two months ago, but recently when I went to buy cement, the price had increased and I have halted the plan until the price reduces,” he adds.

The managing director of Geses U Ltd, Mr Peter Nkurunnungi, says they are trying their best to fulfil their contractual obligation but in case the prices continue to rise, they will have to ask for revision of the contracts.

 He adds that whereas the prices have increased, it is not easy to find the materials because of shortage.

 In Kyotera, the price of cement ranges from Shs37,000 to Shs40,000 from the previous Shs28,000 and Shs30,000.

  Mr Ronald Kizito, the manager of U-SAVE general hardware in Kyotera Town, explains the smallest size of iron bars costs Shs35,000 up from the Shs25,000 whereas the bigger size costs Shs50,000 from the Shs35,000.

 “Our suppliers have also hiked the prices and we have no option, but to follow suit,” he narrates.

 Mr Simon Masajage, a hardware operator in Mpigi Town, says it was difficult for prices of building materials to remain stable when fuel prices keep increasing.

 “It is fuel which drives our economy and since its prices are unstable, don’t expect prices of other commodities to be stable,” he adds.

At most hardware shops in Mpigi Town, a bag of cement ranges from Shs33,000 to Shs35,000 depending on the brand, while small iron bars cost Shs27,000 each up from Shs18,000 . The 30 meter gauge white Dumuzas iron sheets cost Shs33,000 each.

In Lyantonde, a bag of Hima cement goes for Shs30, 000 while Tororo cement buys at 31,000.  

In Tororo, a bag of Tororo cement   costs Shs30, 000 from Shs28,000 and Simba cement goes for Shs28,000 from Shs24, 000.

In Mbale, most hardwares, including Generous Trading and Investments Ltd on Mbale-Soroti road, are selling a bag of Tororo cement at Shs36,000 from Shs33,000.

Mr Ayub Madoi, the proprietor of Oceans Hardware Ltd in Mbale, says there is shortage of cement. 

“There is scarcity of cement and other construction materials,” he says.

In Jinja North City Division, Mr George Kisame, the owner of Kisame George Hardware shop, says cement is now at Shs36, 000 from Shs33, 000, big iron bars Shs45,000, up from Shs40, 000, and bundle of wire mesh is Shs45,000 up from Shs40, 000.

Mr Kisame attributes 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, but I feel the heavy taxes are behind this price increment,’’ Mr Kisame adds. 

Mr Shaban Muyaki, a dealer in construction works, says despite the high prices, he has no option but to stay in business. 

In Buikwe, Mr David Achiga, who owns Construction Company, says the prices of building materials have gone up and that has stopped some people from undertaking construction.

In Moroto District, a bag of cement Tororo brand is at Shs50,000 while in Kotido, it is sold at Shs52,000 and Kaabong (Shs55000). 

Mr Patrick Lomuria, one of the contractors, said some of them who won contracts are facing a big challenge.

Mr Ali Rashid, the vice chairperson of Nebbi Lorry Tipper drivers’ Association, told Daily Monitor on Monday that there is no business for tipper lorries, following the suspension of construction works by most clients.

 “Most of these people are going hungry,” he says.

Mr Francis Opio, a local contractor in Adjumani Town, says his client has called for halting of any construction works.

 He says a bag of cement that was Shs30, 000 has now increased to Shs45,000, Iron sheets white 30 gauge that used to be at Shs35,000 have gone to Shs42,000. The pre-painted iron sheet that used to sell at Shs42,000 has increased to Shs50, 000.

Meanwhile in Gulu City, a bag of cement now costs between Shs36,000 and Shs38,000 up from Shs28,000 and Shs29,000.

 It is also established that the price of Weather Guard paints (20 litres) rose from Shs270,000 to Shs290,000 while Vinyl silk (20-litre paint) rose from Shs270,000 to Shs285,000 in most selling points in Gulu City.

Mr Godwin Mutabarura, a resident of Mbarara City, says they are having a very big problem with building materials.

Currently, a bag of cement has increased from Shs31,500 to Shs38,000 and this happened in a few days. 

Compiled by Simon Peter Emwamu, Felix Warom & Rashul Adidi, George Muron, Tausi Nakato, & Denis Edema, Joel Kaguta, Alex Ashaba, Robert Muhereza, Obed Kankirih, Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Ambrose Musasizi, Brian A Kesiime, Richard Kyanjo, Cleophas Tukamarwa, Fred Wambede & Joseph Omollo, Abubaker Kirunda, Steven Ariong, Patrick Okaba and Scovin Iceta, Teddy Dokotho, Marko Taibot, & Tobbias Jolly Owiny, Felix Ainebyoona, Phillip Wafula

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