By Kiyimba Bruno
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics [UBOS] has reported a continuous increase in the costs of commodities in the construction sector in Uganda. This was released by Imelda Atai Musana, the executive director at the UBOS.
According to the report released, annual changes show that prices for the whole construction sector, covering material prices, wage rates as well as equipment hire rates, increased by 1.1% in the year ending December 2016 compared to the ended year of 2015.
Prices for the year November 2016 increased by 0.1% where prices for the year ending 2016 decreased by 0.1% compared to years ended November 2015 November and October respectively
According to the released data, the rise in the prices is mainly due to the increase of 2.8% in prices of inputs for residential buildings.
Dick Wanasolo Wadada, a Principal Statistician at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) said, “The overall prices of steel in the different markets have been going up due to the absence of steel in the different markets and this was worsened by big market suppliers like China going on a break.
“This means that there was less steel going around for all the construction work that was taking place,” he said.
He said Uganda has been witnessing higher costs in the construction sector. There were sustained price increases for steel, roofing sheets, electrical equipment, diesel and wages in October 2016 with a 1.0 percent rise, a 0.1 percent for the period ending November 2016 with the period of December 2016 registering a 1.1 percent increase compared to the period ending December 2015.
“This means that on average, one had to pay 1.1 percent higher for a given selection of inputs into construction works in December 2016 than in December 2015 for the same basket,” Wadada said.
Prices for electrical wires and cables rose by 2.2 percent and on aggregate by 5.6 percent due to hikes in transportation costs and demand which saw an increase in price inputs for both residential and commercial buildings.
Prices for inputs for residential buildings saw an increase of 2. 8 percent, following a price increase in concrete products by 16.1 percent.
There were also increased production costs for roofing sheets by 2.8 percent, aggregate demand by 5.6 percent and wages by 2.7 percent. Workers cited higher costs of living. Non-residential buildings registered a 0.7 percent increment in input prices of 0.7 percent and roads gravel by 0.6 percent.
Wadada said unless domestic steel manufacturing picks up quickly, it is unlikely the construction sector will get any relief from high prices until about April or May when more steel is available and Chinese imports are off-loaded.
Monthly charges showed that in December 2016, there was an increase of 0.5% in the average prices of inputs for the whole construction sector following decreases of 0.1 in November 2016 and 0.1% in November 2016.
Currently in Uganda, most of the construction materials like cement, spades, sand, iron sheets have relatively gone high.
This according to the citizens is mainly due to the ongoing drought and the increasing rate of the Uganda shilling.