Adnan Adams Mohammed
Ghanaians are seriously agitating against the skyrocketing increase in prices of building materials in recent times.
The untold trend have pushed some high profile Ghanaians to add their crying voice as a former Deputy Finance Minister has charged Parliament to look into the reasons behind the leapfrog hikes in the prices of building materials such as sand, stones, cement, iron rods and the likes inspite of the effect of COVID-19 on cost of living.
Some key stakeholders in the building and construction sectors, such as, the Ghana Chamber of Construction Industry have pointed out that, Ghanaians are likely to struggle to rent and acquire houses in the near future, if nothing is done to halt the unusual rise in the price of building materials.
“if the situation is not checked, prices of other building-related services will also rise”, speaking on the floor of Parliament on, last week, Kwaku Kwarteng, a member of parliament for Obuasi alarmed.
“These price developments have triggered further hikes in building-related services, such as excavations, drilling, tiling etc. Indeed, I have heard complaints that even water supply to construction sites and construction labour have all become unusually more expensive. It is hard to figure out the source of these unusual price increases. We know that Parliament has not passed any law that could have added any tax or levy to the prices of these items.”
“Mr. Speaker, it is a strange development that must be frontally addressed. We need to check this for the sake of the construction industry, and more importantly, we need to get to the bottom of this disturbing development to ensure that it does not spread to other commodities and other industries on the market. It is, therefore, my respective view that Parliament needs to take steps, under our standing orders and the law, to assist the country deal with this matter,” he added.
The CEO of the Chamber of Construction Industry, Emmanuel Cherry, speaking against the development said, that is what they have been calling on government to take a keen interest in the issue as it will eventually impact its budget.
“Honestly speaking we have taken a key interest in the issue, that’s the reason we took the pains to petition parliament. So we welcome the call by the former Deputy Minister of Finance. The time to correct the development is now. There is no better time than now to take steps to save this country. Because a time is coming if we are not careful you cannot rent or buy a house because of this challenge.”
“A time is coming, if government is not careful, building cost is going to be so alarming that a kilometre of road is going to be expensive. Even as we speak, automatically, all contractors who have abandoned site if they are moving back, their contracts might have to be reviewed upwards, which will impact government’s budget. So let’s all come together to resolve the problem before it gets out of hand,” he added.
As the demand for houses increases, the COVID-19 induced restrictions have had a negative toll on the construction industry.
This has been widely attributed to the exponential increase in construction materials, which are mostly imported.
Some of the major construction items which prices have been affected include iron rods and cement.
It is worthy to note that a ton of iron rods which used to cost GHS4,000 only a few months ago has shot up to a little over GHS5,000.
Checks have revealed that, a bag of cement has increased by GHS3 from GHS38 and now selling at GHS41.
Samuel Amegayibor, Executive Secretary of Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) believes these price hikes have contributed to the dip their businesses are currently facing.
“I called the cement manufacturers, and they admitted that there has been a price hike, and it’s because of certain challenges they are facing in importing the major material which is called clinker. They are telling us that some of the sources of the clinker have either closed down, and generally, the international market price has gone up and also the cost of freight has also gone, and shipping lines have attributed it to the cost of crude oil, which has also spiked.”