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Glimmer of hope as construction works gain momentum in Kisumu

The long wait is over as recovery efforts in real estate sector begins to bear fruit after the 2017 political hostilities

Construction business activities in Kisumu are steadily picking up after undergoing difficulties due to political hostilities experienced during last years prolonged electioneering.

Players in the sector say Kisumu town is now witnessing a period of recovery following a year of hard times occasioned by political instability that accompanied the aftermath of the August 2017 elections. Many developers in the town took a break during the political showdown, but some have now come back with big projects, which is good news to the construction sector.

Speaking to Boma, the players expressed confidence that the sector is headed for a major comeback as there is already a beehive of construction activities going on in the lakeside city. They said the sector has now rejuvenated and has started realising good fortunes as potential developers have re-embarked on new mega projects.

They attribute the build-up to the positive results of the Building Bridges Initiative being championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Last year, there was a slow down in construction activities as developers switched to a wait and see mode as a result of the shakeup caused by the political heat. Consequently, business in the sector drew to a halt.

Pabari Enterprises Ltd director Jiten Pabari says business has been picking up gradually in the construction sector in the last few months. “As a result of the regained political stability in the lakeside town, construction activities have gained momentum, translating into increased demand for construction materials,” says the dealer of building and construction materials. 

“We have seen activities take shape in the sector, which is good news for the players. Developers in Kisumu are trying to pick up from where they left so that they can catch up in meeting the housing shortage. Dealers in construction and building materials are now recording good business again,” he said.

According to the entrepreneur, players in the industry anticipate business will peak next month when the festive season arrives. “We are hopeful business will be more flourishing, especially in the month of December because many people will be travelling upcountry to put up new houses,” he explains.

For a sustainable growth in the industry, he urges the county government to play a proactive role in empowering businessmen, particularly those interested in investing in the sector by creating an enabling environment.

The businessman further appeals to the county government to come up with flagship projects such as in agriculture that will spur development through increased money circulation. “We are asking the county government to be supportive of the sector by initiating development projects aimed at ensuring its fast growth,” he says. 

Wyckliffe Nyaloba, a contractor in Kisumu conquers, saying developments have picked up in the town once again, making contractors busy in new and old construction sites.  This, he says, is an encouragement to the prospective developers who want to either resume their postponed projects or put up new ones.

The town has become lively again with construction work as several among them high-rise buildings including malls and residential apartments are now coming up. “We are upbeat of good tidings ahead because of the positive signs so far being experienced in the sector,” says Nyabola, while urging investors to utilise the opportunity to cash-in on mega projects.

Some of the areas with new buildings under construction are in Millimani, Mamboleo, Tom Mboya, Riat, Migosi estates and the town’s Central Business District (CBD).

Nevertheless, Nyabola points out that there is slow take off on projects by the county government because of delayed release of funds from the National Treasury. Except for the projects financed under the Kisumu Urban Project (KUP), the contractor says, construction works for most projects being implemented by the county government have stalled due to inadequate funding.

Pabari also decries high cost of construction materials due to the recently hiked fuel prices brought by imposed fuel taxation. The changes occasioned by fuel levy, he says, are affecting them in terms of cost of doing business. “There is a considerable rise in the cost of building materials and as a result, our profits are shrinking,” adds the proprietor.

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