SGR slowdown, polls, to reduce cement uptake
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.