Economy

Timber cost shoots 60 percent on State’s school desks project

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A cargo truck ferrying timber from Tanzania await to board ferry at the Likoni Channel in Mombasa on June 12, 2020. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

A foot of cypress wood that retailed at Sh160 before the government announced the Sh1.9 billion stimulus package for artisans, currently goes for Sh250.

The cost of timber has increased by up to 60 percent, triggered by government’s plan to buy school furniture from local carpenters.

A foot of cypress wood that retailed at Sh160 before the government announced the Sh1.9 billion stimulus package for artisans, currently goes for Sh250.

Timber merchants have also increased the price of mahogany wood from Sh380 a foot before the announcement, to Sh500 currently. “The suppliers increased prices immediately the advertisement was put out,” said Mr Justus Mwika, a carpenter operating on Ngong Road, Nairobi.

This means consumers will pay more for finished timber products as carpenters pass on the cost to stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The carpenters have been grappling with low cut timber supply following an anti-logging ban in public and community forests since February last year.

“The ban and now the government call for supply of school furniture has increased cost of wood by a big margin,” said Mr David Munue, who uses timber imported from Congo.

He said a six by four bed that retailed at Sh6,000 currently goes for Sh7,000.

The State invited carpenters to register with Deputy County Commissioners to be considered for supply of public schools desks ahead of reopening.

Aside from timber, the price of metal tubes (3/4 furniture pipe grade 16 to 18) , an essential raw material for making school desks and chairs, increased following the announcement.

“We are being told there will be 700,000 orders for desks but now the suppliers of those raw materials have hiked prices,” said Mr Richard Muteti, the chief executive of the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations.