SECTIONS

Azimio to push for local steel manufacturing

Steel bars. [iStockphoto]

The Azimio-One Kenya coalition has outlined plans to ensure that steel, a key raw material for construction, is easily accessible should it form the next government.

According to the Raila Odinga-led coalition’s manifesto, their regime will promote local production of steel, aluminium and other products required by the sector in the country.

Mr Odinga said that instead of importing steel which Kenya needs in huge amounts for high rise buildings and projects like the Nairobi expressway, the same can be manufactured locally.

“We are going to make steel from iron ore, part of which we have in this country,” he said during the launch of the manifesto earlier this week.

The same will be done with copper and aluminium. Even before the Russia-Ukraine war started, prices of steel were soaring globally, following challenges in the supply chain occasioned by Covid-19.

By 2021, according to fortune.com, prices of steel were up 200 per cent. The price of hot rolled steel rose from Sh58,000 ($500) per tonne before the pandemic to Sh211,700 ($1,825) per tonne. From the Economic Survey 2022 report, Kenya’s demand for steel can be seen in 2019 when the imports jumped by 280,421 tonnes to 1,594,243 tonnes.

The manifesto documents that the construction and real estate sectors have grown in the last two decades, fueled by high demand for infrastructure and buildings.

This sector recorded an average growth of 11.8 per cent in 2020 compared to a 5.6 per cent growth in the same period in 2019.

The coalition sees opportunities to grow the sector further with stricter enforcement of construction standards and responding to the demand for affordable inputs for construction and real estate.

 The coalition will also moot reforms in policy, legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks to guide the construction and real estate estates.