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State projects push up cement consumption

BUSINESS
By Dominic Omondi | September 22nd 2021

A section of JKIA-Westlands Expressway under construction. [David Njaaga,Standard]

Huge road projects during the Covid-19 pandemic period helped push up cement consumption to a record high of 4.1 million tonnes in the first seven months of this year, official data shows.

The Sh70 billion JKIA-Westlands Expressway is one of the projects that have absorbed truckloads of cement in a period when economic activities were generally muted.

Even at the height of the pandemic last year, consumption of cement hit a high of 3.25 million tonnes buoyed by mega projects such as the expressway, which is being built by China Road and Bridge Corporation.

Cement consumption in the last five years to 2019 averaged 2.9 million tonnes.

Building and construction was one of the sectors that carried much of the weight during the pandemic last year, increasing at a significant rate of 11.8 per cent, one of the fastest growths in recent years.

“The accelerated growth was attributed to the continued investments in road infrastructure by the government and expanded construction in the housing sub-sector,” said the Economic Survey 2021.

The growth was further supported by the ongoing rehabilitation of the metre-gauge railway.

The survey noted that cement consumption increased by 23.3 per cent from 5.93 million tonnes in 2019 to 7.312.7 million tonnes in 2020.

The number of residential buildings completed by the State Department for Housing during 2020 were 2,332 units while 2,032 units were under construction.

Importation of timber and wood products, bitumen and cement, construction related materials, increased by 69.6, 15.2 and 3.4 per cent, respectively.

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