SGR slow­down, polls, to re­duce ce­ment up­take

The Star (Kenya) - - News - CYN­THIA ILAKO @TheS­tarKenya

Bam­buri Ce­ment, the coun­try’s largest maker of the build­ing ma­te­rial, ex­pects slow ce­ment up­take to per­sist for the re­main­der of the year, and in the pe­riod lead­ing to polls next Au­gust.

Growth in ce­ment con­sump­tion dropped to 5.4 per cent in April-June com­pared to eight per cent in the same pe­riod last year, the Kenya Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics re­ported last Fri­day. The slow­down, at­trib­uted to re­duced ac­tiv­i­ties in the con­struc­tion of the Stan­dard Gauge Rail­way, cooled growth in con­struc­tion to 8.2 per cent from 11.2 per cent pre­vi­ously.

“So far we have seen a six per cent in­crease in ce­ment con­sump­tion and we ex­pect more or less the same amount of growth come next year,” said Bam­buri Ce­ment’s com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Ge­of­frey Ndugwa yes­ter­day. “As the lead­ing ce­ment man­u­fac­turer we are not re­ally wor­ried about the elec­tions as busi­ness is ex­pected to go on as usual.”

Bam­buri Ce­ment yes­ter­day signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the Na­tional Con­struc­tion Au­thor­ity, in a part­ner­ship that hopes to bridge the skills gap in the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try. The col­lab­o­ra­tion, which is set to spear­head the devel­op­ment of a cur­ricu­lum for train­ing con­struc­tion site per­son­nel and con­trac­tors in the coun­try, is ex­pected to reach two mil­lion work­ers over the next five years.

“We will work to­gether to im­prove ar­ti­sans skills and pro­fes­sion­al­ism by de­vel­op­ing cur­ricu­lum and of­fer­ing them for­mal train­ing. And through this aid to pro­mote safe con­struc­tion and job cre­ation in the coun­try,” NCA chief ex­ec­u­tive Daniel Man­duku said.

The ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme is part of mea­sures that the NCA is tak­ing to root out in­dus­try quacks. There have been in­creased in­ci­dences of build­ings col­laps­ing, claim­ing lives.

“What we re­alised is that build­ings col­lapse due to poor con­struc­tion among many other rea­sons. And one way to ad­dress this is­sue is to en­sure that those en­gaged in the con­struc­tion works es­pe­cially at the bot­tom of the pyra­mid are com­pe­tent,” Man­duku said.

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