The 69% increase in iron and steel imports shot up Kenya’s import bill and placed iron and steel products in third place after petroleum and machinery imports. KNBS reported that the total value of imports amounted to Sh541.9 billion in the third quarter of 2021 compared to Sh420.8 billion in the same quarter of 2020. The main factor for the growth in imports was petroleum products and iron & steel that contributed to an 84.3 % and 78% increase respectively.
The growth of the country’s economic activity & a global price rise of the commodities caused this increase. The demand was due to real estate growth & the county’s infrastructure projects such as roads & affordable housing.
Ken Gichinga, Chief Economist at Mentoria, stated that even though demand has increased for real estate in the long term, for the supply side, there hasn’t been an increase in production from local companies to match the demand. To protect local manufacturers, iron and steel imports duty need to be 25% as agreed upon by the East Africa Community and Finance ministry.