NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s producer inflation rose marginally in the
third quarter pushed up by increase in sugar and timber prices.
The inflation increased by 0.49 percent from 119.37 points in
June to 119.96 in September, the government statistics office
said in a report.
“The increase in the index was mainly due to higher costs in the
prices of timber and sugar,” said the Kenya National Bureau of
During the period, Kenya experienced shortage of sugar following
crackdown on contraband imports.
The cost of a tonne of sugar at the end of September stood at
1,065 U.S. dollars, up from 816 dollars in June.
The country has also placed a ban on logging leading to scarcity
of forest products that include timber and charcoal.
Rising cost of
living push up construction labor charges in Kenya
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The rising cost of living in Kenya amid growing
demand for workers has pushed up labor charges in the
construction industry, putting many developers on the edge.
Those whose wages have risen significantly include electricians,
masons, carpenters, welders and plumbers.
Their pay has been on the rise for the better part of this year
as the construction sector booms following political stability.
However, an increase in the cost of living arising from high
fares, rent and electricity prices following the introduction of
fuel tax has seen the workers demand for more.
It now costs up to 25 U.S. dollars a day to hire a worker, a
rise from between 8 dollars for a semi-skilled who mixes sand
and cement and 12 dollars for a skilled mason.
Those doing semi-skilled work are currently demanding 10 dollars
for a day’s work while masons 15 dollars. Electricians, plumbers
and carpenters are asking for 25 dollars a day, up from 20
“The cost of living in the country has really gone up, so we
cannot retain the old rates,” said Samson Jaoko, a mason in
Nairobi, on Tuesday. “We have to meet our daily needs.”
Property developers who cannot honor new wage demands are facing
tough times as workers shun their projects.
Jaoko is currently working at a site in Nairobi’s South B
district, where the developer is building a six-story building.
“When we started working, 20 of us, we were being paid 12
dollars for masons like us, but we asked him to increase to 14
dollars. The cement mixers are now earning 9 dollars, up from 7
dollars, a day,” he said.
Bernard Muia, a banker building a house in Juja on the outskirts
of Nairobi, said construction has become expensive.
“I have been building my house step by step subject to
availability of funds. When I started nearly two years ago, I
was paying masons 8 dollars and the other workers 5 dollars (a
day). Now charges have doubled, making construction very
expensive,” he said.
Electrician Vincent Musyoka noted that workers are demanding
higher wages because of the high cost of living.
“The cost of living has doubled and we workers who do not have
monthly pay are bearing the brunt. The thing is that one does
not know when the next job would come,” he said. “So, you have
to ask for a good wage to plan for rent, take your children to
school and save some money.”
Inflation in Kenya last month stood at 5.7 percent, up from 4.04
percent, on rise in fuel prices following the imposition of an 8
percent value added tax, according to the Kenya National Bureau
House rent for single rooms, where many construction workers
live, went up slightly by 0.1 percent last month but was 5.5
percent higher than last year.
Prices for kerosene, which many workers use for cooking, rose 67
percent, as a result of government tax.
Antony Kuyo of Avent Properties, a real estate consultancy, said
construction workers’ wages have hit the roof.
“It is now really expensive to build a house, thanks to the high
wages. But it is the consumers who are paying the highest price
because the charges are passed to them in terms of rent and
higher prices of houses for those buying,” he said.
Kuyo does not see wages in the sector coming down in the near
future due to rapid construction of houses and rise in cost of