Demand for bitumen, a viscous black thick substance used for waterproofing and as an adhesive in road construction, is expected to rise thanks to the many planned and ongoing roads projects across the country.
According to recent projections by industry analysts, bitumen use in 2018 will rise to over 35,000 metric tonnes due to the government’s decision to increase budgetary allocation to road construction activities.
In the 2018/2019 budget, National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich has increased the budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Roads from Sh134.9 billion to Sh271.6 billion for construction and maintenance of major roads in the country.
This is a major boon for the sector considering that intensified civil works led to a significant increase in the length of bitumen road, from 14.5 thousand kilometres in 2016 to 20.6 thousand kilometres in 2017.
The planned increase in road construction and maintenance is expected to raise the demand for bitumen in Kenya, dealers say while admitting that prior to 2004 demand was low as the State was not investing significantly in road construction.
“Demand for bitumen is growing upwards as there is a lot of road construction, both planned and ongoing,” says Ahmed Hassan Abdi, a Nairobi-based bitumen dealer.