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Stay Ahead of Your Competitors With These Tips

The old adage, “If you’re not first, you’re last,” couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to business success. Being first-to-market may have its advantages, but long-term success is not a race – it’s how you make a product or service better than that of your competitors. And “Better” can mean anything from the product or service itself to customer service, pricing, or marketing strategy.

“Without a robust and resilient innovation strategy, no company can survive,” says Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. In just about every industry and just about every career, the creator of the Purple Cow enjoys the profits, the accolades, and the feeling of omniscience that comes with a success. So how do you stay ahead of your competitors and ensure that you are successful?

Stop trying to copy the business model of your rivals

You will only achieve success if you run your business on your own terms, and not fall prey to chasing after rivals in your industry. As soon as you stop following your own path and start copying your competitors, you could find yourself even further behind than when you started. You have your own unique strategies, resources, and capabilities so you need to stay true to your business model that optimizes them in the best possible way.

Stay ahead of your competitors with these tips

Make innovation your best friend

Being a small business owner means always finding novel ways to enhance your business. The companies that fail are the ones that become stagnant, relying on methods that can become outdated. Eventually, as their competition becomes more efficient, they leave these businesses behind. Don’t let that happen to you. Use the tips in this article to ensure that you remain ahead of your competitors.

Expand your offers – a market that’s already crowded has less scope for expansion. It is essential to offer something unique to your customers in order to build your own niche and minimize the existing competition.

Be the best employer

Skilled, motivated employees underpin vibrant, growing businesses. Attracting them means more than paying a competitive wage. People are often more impressed by a good working atmosphere, and benefits such as flexible working and structured career development.

Identify and solve the pain points of your customers

Ask open-ended questions to find exactly what your customers want while using your products or services. The key here is to provide solutions to the prospects and supply them what they need as opposed to selling them what you want to sell. You only need to fulfil the need, not "sell" anything. Your product or service will automatically start to sell more the moment you fill the void that your competitors are lacking.

Get the pricing correct

Perfect pricing strategy revolves around marketing psychology. Before you set your own pricing strategy, it is essential to know the competition. You must identify who is offering the best value for money. The price you set should be standard and must have a competitive advantage. A great pricing strategy does not always mean lowering the prices of existing products in order to win more customers. Every market is divided into three segments – the lower, middle and upper class. The first step is to identify the class you are targeting. Once you get an answer to that, it will be much easier to set a price that your audiences will love to pay.


Improve your customer service

People love businesses that provide exceptional customer service. If you delight your customers with great service, you will make loyal customers who will refer your business to their family and friends. Hire staff who have a good understanding of your products or services. Ensure that they remain patient and provide satisfying answers to every customer query. Your staff should greet customers with a pleasing smile and must show gratitude. Your customer care team should always remain courteous and respectful.

They must always be responsive to customer queries. They should have a problem-solving approach and always ask for customer feedback. Customer-centric companies are powered by dependable staff who raise the level of customer satisfaction. You can also consider offering freebies that competitors don’t.

Target new customers

Retaining your customer will help you build a loyal consumer base. However, if you want to grow your business, you’ll need to attract new customers. In this rapidly changing economy, you may wake up one day only to find that your so-called loyal consumer base is busy shopping elsewhere. There is no guarantee that they will keep coming back for more forever. A steady flow of customers will keep your business healthy.

More favourable opening hours

Whether you go 24/7 or just open Saturdays when your rivals are shut, making a customer’s life more convenient and shaping your business around their lifestyle is guaranteed to bring them through the doors, and this is a vital part of building competitive strategy.

Show your personality

There is true value that comes from turning the customer experience into a personal one. When people are able to put a face to the business, it naturally leads them to form an emotional connection that simply doesn’t happen when they walk into a big retail store. Share your business story. Discuss why you got into the business in the first place. Talk about why your service is unique. In short, reinforce the emotional side of things and you’ll see how your customers will begin to feel a real connection to your business.

Stay ahead of your competitors with these tips


Healthy competition is always good as it keeps pushing you to do better. Therefore, you should not shy away from competing. Nevertheless, you should arm yourself with the best of tools that can help you in staying ahead. Business is a never-ending battle that makes you learn new things each day. You must be ready to face any challenges or situations

Source: nairametrics

High Cost of Building Materials and its Impact on Housing


One of the major causes of concern for many Nigerians willing to own a home is affordability. This affordability is affected largely by the cost of building materials – both for developers and individual builders.

Building materials contribute immensely to the cost and quality of housing, from what is used for the foundation to the materials for roofing and finishes. The building materials industry is an important contributor to the national economy of any country as its output governs both the rate and quality of construction work.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the costs of building materials in Nigeria, and this development threatens the performance of the construction Industry.

According to experts in the industry, the general direction at which prices of building materials are increasing in Nigeria was as the result of the combined effects of high interest rates, devaluation of the Naira, inflation, exchange rate of the Naira, cost of fuel and power supply, changes in government policies and legislations and non-effective distribution network of the materials.

The contribution of this to the increasing housing gap in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. Many low to medium income earners have nearly given up the hope of ever owning a home of their own because of the unbearable cost of building materials.

Increase in the prices of building materials has multiplier effects on the industry. The rising cost of building materials has high implications on construction cost, volume of construction output, and risk of project abandonment.

The implication of the fluctuation in the cost of construction is such that projects are not delivered within the budget and time, the level of quality required is difficult to achieve, conflicts between contractors and clients ensue as a result of an upward review of contract sum and most likely leads to cases of abandonment where investments are tied-down since such projects will not be put to use at the time expected.

Another implication of the rising cost of building materials is such that the volume of construction outputs is reduced. The reduction in construction output is likely to jeopardize the government housing policy and invariably leads to shortage in the supply of housing demand of the citizenry and reduction in the employment, especially of labor workers in the construction sector, which by extension, is capable of bringing down the contributions of the construction industry to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

If the government is committed to delivering mass affordable housing for Nigerians, she must be concerned about the rise in cost of building materials and do something about it.

Some stakeholders have suggested that government should formulate policy that will play down the agitations on the use of imported building materials by encouraging research in the production of local building materials.

Government should also take drastic steps to reduce the cost of production and transportation of goods by ensuring an adequate supply from the power sector and production of petroleum products through the local refineries as against dependency on importation.

General infrastructures like roads, bridges, power etc. that will boost local production should be provided or improved. There should also be an enabling environment which comprises of economic policies and the building of more factories through public private partnerships. This will lead to more made in Nigeria building materials, and reduce the general cost.

There is also an argument about the monopoly in the production of cement. The government should enable an equal playing ground to enable the kind of competition that can drive down the cost of building materials.

More so, government should encourage and support the development of alternatives to cement. For building sustainability in the 21st century, there are several alternatives to cement which have been successfully implemented in several places. These alternatives are not only dependable but cheaper.

Import duty wavers should also be introduced for those who import certain resources that are not locally available to enable the local production of building materials.

If the cost of building materials are reduced, it will definitely help increase the production of affordable houses for more Nigerians in need of houses.

A Review of 13th Abuja International Housing Show – AIHS 2019

The 13th Abuja International Housing Show was the most anticipated event of the year 2019 as stakeholders from at least 15 countries converged in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja to learn, network and exhibit latest innovations in the industry.

The 4-day event had up to 30, 000 visitors and participants seeking better opportunities to own a home, have access to affordable mortgages, meet influential stakeholders, make purchases at exhibition rates and acquire important knowledge.

This report will feature the build-up to the event, the event itself, important details, conference recommendations and a breakdown of facts and figures about the event.

Pre-event Activities

Massive publicity for the event began in January 2019, featuring television, radio, print, billboards and social media campaigns, raising awareness about the show and its core values. The impressive pre-event campaigns had a lot of people in anticipation, and this led to a very huge turnout.

Event Registration and Sponsorships

From at least 5 months to the event, participants, visitors and partners including exhibitors and speakers had commenced registration and confirmation of event sponsorship.

Opening of Venue and Construction of Exhibition Stands 21st – 22nd July

As from 21st of July 2019, the venue, International Conference Centre opened for commencement of construction and setting up of halls, exhibition stands and sit-outs. The vigorous exercise produced a very beautiful setting and lasted till 22nd – the eve of the event.

Day One (1): Opening Ceremony – 23rd July

Africa’s largest show in housing and construction – Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) featuring conferences and exhibition was declared open on the 23rd July 2019 by the chairman of the occasion, Arc. Ibrahim Bunu, Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, who urged participants to seize the opportunity provided by the show to improve affordable housing delivery in Nigeria and Africa.

Top dignitaries attending the opening ceremony included the Senate President of Nigeria, Ahmed Lawan (represented); Debra Erb, MD OPIC; The Head of Service, Oyo-Ita; Suleiman Hassan, Former Minister of Environment; Festus Adebayo, MD/CEO AIHS; Kecia Rust, Executive Secretary, AUHF; Femi Adewole, MD Family Homes Funds; Andrew Chimphondah, MD/CEO Shelter Afrique; Obadiah Mailafia, Former Deputy Governor, CBN; and many more top local and international stakeholders too many to mention.

The opening ceremony was streamed live on national television and covered by all reputable media houses in Nigeria.

The exhibition stands were also officially opened for business and guests and all categories of visitors trooped in to see for themselves.

Special Recognitions

Some notable personalities were also honoured with special recognition awards of excellence at the opening ceremony.

The awardees included Hanatu Fika, Outgoing Executive Secretary, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board; Town Planner Umar Shuaibu, Former Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Counci; and Debra Erb, MD of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Conference: Theme and Activities

There were over 30 speakers from at least 15 countries at the event. The speakers who are drawn from reputable institutions like mortgage banks, real estate companies, housing regulatory agencies, construction companies, housing finance firms etc. and from various countries including USA, UK, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, India, China, UAE, Ghana, Rwanda etc. spoke on the theme; ‘’Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models in the Midst of Global Uncertainty.’’

Leading conversations on the first day were notable paper presentation and speeches from the Senate President, Head of Service, Governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed (represented), Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki (represented), Debra Erb of OPIC, Festus Adebayo of AIHS, Femi Adewole of Family homes Funds, Andrew Chimphondah of Shelter Afrique, Emmanuel Akinwumi of AfDB, Roland Abonta of NIESV and many more.

The well received presentations were focused on the theme and subjects around it including the role of monetary policy in housing finance and development; project finance for large scale housing – OPIC approach; closing the gap in affordable housing production: increased efficiency and cost; building a global framework for foreign investments in Nigerian housing market etc.

The CEOs Forum and three (3) panel sessions focusing on alternative investment options for housing growth and development followed.

The sessions were moderated by Hakeem Ogunniran, CEO of Eximia Realty.

Day Two (2): Conference and Exhibition – 24th July

Day Two of the event continued with the conference, CEOs Forum and panel sessions featuring top CEOS and speakers including Robert Hornsby of American Home Builders of West Africa; Ugochukwu Chime of REDAN; Mounia Tagma of Affordable Housing Institute; Kecia Rust of AUHF; Sa’Adiya Aliyu of Urban Shelter; Prof Charles Inyangete, former MD of NMRC; Ahmed Dangiwa of FMBN; Afolabi Imoukhuede, SSA to the President on Job Creation; Robert Plattner of Hydraform; Banjo Obaleye of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank; Hakeem Ogunniran of Eximia Realty; Mr P. Bhaskar Rao of Royal Ceramics; Sam Odia of Mmillard Fuller Foundation; Prof Timothy Nubi; Jide Odusolu of Octo5 Holdings Limited; David Gardner AUHF etc.

The well received presentations were focused on the theme and subjects around it including housing construction case studies; low cost housing; harmonising Nigeria real estate sector for enhanced socio economic development; moving from luxury homes provision to affordable housing delivery; the role of housing in job creation; foreign capital for housing finance in emerging economies; data and analytics; innovations in residential housing development; democratising mortgages; mortgage consumer education and many more.

The sessions were moderated by International mortgage expert, Kunle Faleti, David Gardner and Jumoke Akinwumi.

The exhibitions were holding simultaneously.

Day Three (3): Conference and Exhibition – 25th July

Day Three of the event started with a breakfast meeting between the overseas team of African Union of Housing Finance (AUHF) led by Kecia Rust. Also at the breakfast meeting were Kehinde Ogundimu of NMRC; Niyi Akinlusi of MBAN; Hakeem Ogunniran of Eximia Realty; Festus Adebayo of AIHS; Robert Hornsby of American Home Builders of West Africa; Kunle Faleti; and a couple of other stakeholders.

The purpose of the breakfast meeting was for the AUHF to enlighten the stakeholders about their responsibilities in providing housing finance on the continent and on the need for more Nigerian presence in the South Africa based association. The session also featured elaborate conversations about ongoing collaborations, including the one between NMRC and AUHF and the need for more of such collaborations, especially with regards to data access.

Shortly after, the event continued with the conference, and panel sessions featuring top CEOS and speakers including David Gardner; Jide Odusolu; Adedeji Adesemoye of CBN; Ifeoma Okoye of Brains & Hammers; Roland Igbinoba of Proptech; Isoken Omo of Edo Development Property Authority; Joshua Egbagbe; Eucharia Alozie of Ministry of PWH; Muktar Aliyu; Prof Charles Inyangete; Bob Weinschenk of iBuild and others.

The well received presentations were focused on the theme and subjects around it including addressing housing demand in the face of growing joblessness and income inequality; addressing supply side issues; green and energy efficient housing; cooperative housing, and proptech.

The sessions were moderated by Jide Odusolu, and Robert Hornsby.

The exhibitions were holding simultaneously.

Day Four (4): Artisans Day and Nigeria Housing Awards Dinner – 26th July

26th of July was the climaxing day of the 13th Abuja International Housing Show. The day’s events commenced with the national union of Artisans who were given educational support speeches on how to improve their skills, compete with global counterparts and make the most out of their skills.

At the aside of the event was a MoU signing agreement with Family Homes Funds – a federal government social housing scheme intent on building up to 500, 000 houses for low income earners by 2023.

The exhibitions were holding simultaneously and only came to an end by 6:00 PM to mark the beginning of the Nigeria Housing Awards.

Nigeria Housing Awards 2019

Nigeria Housing Award is an annual event that celebrates the successes of firms, individuals, teams, or companies who are setting trends in innovative construction, consistency in high industry standards, market expansion and are engaged in the development of the national economy to a large extent. The NHA is a way of endorsing abilities and rewarding achievements; this event is widely regarded as the most credible and prestigious award in Nigeria’s Housing Industry. The event typically marks the end of the Abuja International Housing Show.

The Nigeria Housing Awards and Dinner was well attended by all leading stakeholders, CEOs and companies in the housing and construction sector present to celebrate each other’s successes in the past year.

The colourful event had a lot of special moments including the surprise award for the CEO of Abuja International Housing Show, Festus Adebayo by Royal Ceramics.

Before that, the CEO of Royal Ceramics himself, P. Bhaskar Rao had won CEO of Building Materials Company of the year award. The award for Best Innovation in Housing and Construction Industry 2019 went to Echostone International. Sam Ogrih won the CEO of Real Estate Company of the Year, while AFP Furniture was crowned Furniture Company of the Year. Town Planner Murktar Galadima won Town Planner of the Year. The Affordable Housing Promoter of the Year (organisation) went to Family Homes Funds, while NMRC won the Housing Market Information Data Recognition Award. A Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on Prince Seyi Lufadeju. CEO of Government Owned Housing Agencies of the Year was Isoken Omo, CEO of States Owned Housing Agencies in Nigeria. Kunle Faleti won the Affordable Housing Advocacy Award (Diaspora), while Toye Eniola, Executive Secretary, Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria won the Affordable Housing Leadership Award. Affordable Housing Policy Driver Recognition Award went to the distinguished Professor Charles Inyangete. Urban Shelter won Estate Developer of the Year. Hydraform international ltd won an award of promoter of affordable housing of the year (construction) 2019. Roland Igbinoba of Proptech won the Housing Data Recognition Award, while Arc. Adewumi Okupe won Affordable Housing Advocacy Promoter of the Year Award. Pan Africa award of Affordable Housing Promoter of the year went to Shelter Afrique.

Many more awardees included Cosgrove Investment Limited going away with the award of Best Residential Real Estate Developer in sustainable smart Development and customer experience initiative.

The highlight however was when Mr Rao of Royal Ceramics invited CEO of Abuja International Housing Show Festus Adebayo to the stage for a surprise award. The fulfilling night was a mix of soothing music, choreography, dining, wining and laughter.

Top 10 Recommendations from the 13th AIHS

Upon the completion of the event, participants, speakers, developers, and heads of all housing bodies at the event agreed on a number of sustainable and important interventions that will bridge the housing gap in Nigeria.

Below are selected 10 out of these resolutions that have been presented to the government and its several housing agencies for implementation.

1. Creating enabling policies around land title documentations, with government playing a larger role in assisting investors and supporting local building industries and materials.

2. Fast track the passage of foreclosure bill into law to legally resolve default issues in the sector. Also the review of land use act of 1978, Federal Government Housing Loans Board bill (FGHLB), the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme Act 1992, Mortgage Banks Act 1989 (subsumed in BOFIA), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Act 1993, The Trustee Investment Act 1962, The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 1993, The Insurance Act 2002, The Investment and Security Act 1999, The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act 1990, Securitization Bill amongst many others.

3. Advance the ongoing partnership between Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with regards to the underwriting standards which can increase housing and mortgage affordability for the masses.

4. Building the right skill ecosystem through job-driven training programs spearheaded by private sector industry participation for adoption of trainees.

5. Institutionalisation of collaborations and partnerships between large scale industry players to enhance mass housing provision and affordability.

6. Creating standard data base in African countries especially in Nigeria that can be universally accepted to collate data, identify data gaps, integrate, optimise and expand knowledge set to meet current demands.

7. The policy creation, adoption and financing of sustainable buildings that utilise green approach in construction which integrates topography into developments.

8. To set up an institution such as a National Housing Council to be the focal point for housing research, policy development and implementation, development of suitable housing economic models that fits into local contexts and monitoring of the housing sector.

9. The adoption of high impact training that supports research and data generation by major stakeholders within the industry.

10. To resolve the challenges of affordability mismatch resulting in unsold and unoccupied developed houses especially in our major cities, there is an urgent need for paradigm shift from market driven pricing system to end user driven pricing to ensure houses are provided for those who need and could afford them. (Extract from 13th AIHS communique, 2019).

Facts and Figures about 13th AIHS

Below are key facts and figures pertaining to the 13th Abuja International Housing Show 2019:

• The biggest housing and construction show in Africa
• Biggest stakeholders’ networking platform
• The biggest exhibition event for housing, construction and finance companies and brands
• The most influential event for public policies, especially in the related sectors
• The event featured a special CEOs Forum comprising of the most influential local and international leaders in the housing, construction and finance sectors
• All papers and speeches presented at the 13th AIHS are available on the AIHS website

• 1 venue (International Conference Centre, Abuja)
• 4 days event (23rd to 26th July 2019)
• 10 major conference recommendations
•12 conference sessions
• 13th year running of the show
• 15 participating countries
• 30 international speakers
• 45 panellists
• 400 exhibitors
• 40, 000 visitors and participants

Exhibitors at 13th AIHS

The exhibitors at the 13th AIHS are too numerous to mention, but some of them (in no order) includes companies from China, UAE, Turkey, Italy, India, Turkish Quality Nigeria, Royal engineered stones limited, Urban Shelter, Echostone, Brains & Hammers, Family Homes Funds, NMRC, AFP Furniture, CDK, iBuild, FMBN, MIXTA Africa, AUHF, Nigerite, Solignum, Shelter Afrique, Earthpoint Modern Shelter, IFC, Hydraform, Copen, Cosgrove, FGSHLB, Wiser estates, MBA Forex, Plusworld, OPIC, Haven Homes, AMMC, ITMB, Delta mega trend limited, Lubrizol, Rural Homes limited, APDC, Peachville platinum, SPS, Wallpaper world, windows blinds, Net construct, formul, GVE, Niger state housing corporation, weatherguard, c-stemp, elinuol, interrand, Nigeria pipes, Plascon, Post service housing development limited, skylum, Eisenkraft, Maldini granites, Picadilly paints, Wavin, Flexi clay, Kabba, Builders stop center, PGL, Big homes, FGMB, Zobis, Norton, Hared, Leisure court, Efab, Bstan group, FTS, Ponglomerape, Constrix, Naval Building and construction company limited, Cherry hill, Onduvilla, Solartime, Olat, Midel Group, AMCON, Armese, Berger paints, JEDO, Silkcoat, FISH, Alaro city, Nuel Osilama Global Investment Limited, Voda paints, ABUMET, Realtypoint, Trustbond mortgage bank, PIL, Ellington, International lift and elevator, earthpoint, Aiben, Lasercraft, New cruise, A quapipe, Fabcom, Feratto, Cutix, Shandong Jiacheng Stone, Denam, GOFA, FA’AL, Uche silver international limited, Periwinkle residences, Highbright roofing, Lannik beauty, CAP Plc, AHCN, Sweethome, Bluestar, Asba and Dantata, Countrywide, Happy home, Prime properties, Octo5, Eximia, MBA Forex, Holborn and many more.

What Stakeholders Said about Successful 13th AIHS 2019

At the end of show, it was largely commended for setting the right tone for housing development in Nigeria and Africa and how it has cemented its place as a truly international platform for stakeholders.

For Debra Erb, the MD of OPIC who was attending for the first time, the Abuja International Housing Show has set a standard and requires more collaboration from government and private players.

‘’This show gives stakeholders a chance to gather and figure out ways to solve the affordable housing needs of people in Nigeria and Africa. The first thing to do about solving the affordable housing needs is talk to the actors, and this is what the Abuja International Housing Show is about. It is an impressive platform,’’ she said.

Also speaking on the significance of the show was Kecia Rust, the CEO of African Union for Housing Finance, AUHF.

‘’I thank the Abuja International Housing Show for this opportunity to showcase our organization and motivate for increased Nigerian participation in the network. You are doing a tremendous job for housing in Nigeria! Thank you for making the space for so many to collaborate with one another,’’ she said.

The Chief Executive and Managing Director of Shelter Afrique – the pre-eminent Pan African Housing Development Financial Institution – Andrew Chimphondah also had glowing words of praise for the 13th Abuja International Housing Show and its organisers.

‘’On behalf of the Board and Management of Shelter Afrique, we would like to thank you for including Shelter Afrique in this very auspicious Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) to provide a key note address. We benefited from the strong networks that were created between Developers, Investors, Funders, Regulatory Authorities and all stakeholders in the Real Estate and Housing Sectors. Rest, assured that Shelter Afrique is re-energized in its quest in fulfilling its vision of providing decent and affordable housing for All Africans.

‘’We believe that with the shortage of Housing in Nigeria up from 17 million to 22 million in 2019 and the estimated shortage of Housing now up from from 51 million to 56 million. We can aspire to reduce it, because to eradicate it would require funding of US$1.4 trillion as a minimum.

‘’Let us continue as fellow housing activists to advocate through the Abuja International Housing Show for an eradication of this scourging housing deficit so that our fellow brothers and sisters can live a dignified life as a basic human right.

‘’I want to also commend the living legend, Festus Adebayo, for his selfless contribution in advocating the need to seriously address the housing crisis.

While speaking with Housing News, the retired officer who started Nigerian Army’s first housing cooperatives said that the 13th Abuja International Housing Show was phenomenal.

‘’I recall when the show started 13 years ago. It was quite small. It started with a really humble beginning. I am impressed to see the scale and the quality that it has come to be today. Of course there is room for improvement, but what we have seen today is phenomenal. It is quite clearly moving towards becoming the largest housing show that it portends to be in Africa,’’ he said.

For Anders Lindquist of Echostone, the 13th Abuja International Housing Show is the most significant highlight for their company and what they stand for.

Speaking on his impression of the show, he said; ‘’I was so moved by the reception we’ve received during our time at AIHS. I feel that EchoStone must say thank you for allowing us to share in this monumental event. Your hospitality has been instrumental in our success at the show. We’ve made far reaching connections in affordable housing, which offer the potential to bring over a million affordable homes to Africa – not to mention the massive amount of jobs that will follow.

‘’Without a doubt, the attendees of this conference have been some of the most dedicated, enthusiastic, and engaged of any that we’ve attended. Our entire company owes you a debt of gratitude for allowing us to present on two panels and participate in and outside the conference walls.

‘’Thank you for helping us to change the housing development landscape and join in this celebration of innovation. It has given our entire team a vision of our future in Africa that has inspired us all.

‘’So, again, I extend our sincerest thank you and look forward to the continued success of the AIHS conference, its participants, presenters, visitors, and yourself. I hope that it inspires us all to support and encourage one another toward successful and prosperous future for all of Africa. This is from me and the whole EchoStone team.’’

Robert Hornsby, Co-founder, American Home Builders of West Africa also commended the organisers for convening what he calls the most important platform for discussing affordable housing and associated issues in Africa.

On her part, Mounia Tagma of Affordable Housing Institute Morocco lauded the wonderful contributions of Abuja International Housing Show over the years in terms of how its bring together global stakeholders from public and private sectors to learn from each other, network and collaborate on projects that matter to them.

While speaking during the CEOs Forum of AIHS 2019, Hon. Abu-bakar Saddique Boniface, Minister of State, Ghana, said that the show is playing a critical role of tasking private sector stakeholders on their most important responsibilities.

‘’The private sector should be more positioned so that the government can always look to them for policy advice. The private sector are and should be the engine of the economy, and I appreciate how this show is representing that fact,” he said.

It wasn’t just the speakers that have good words for the show, Bhaska Roa of Royal Ceramics – one of the biggest exhibitors at this year’s show appreciates the show for offering them the opportunity to meet with industry leaders, buyers and respectable clients that has enhanced their business operations.

The impact of the Abuja International Housing Show is so much that Bhaska Rao and his Royal Ceramics team had to present a special award to the CEO of AIHS, Festus Adebayo at the closing ceremony on 26th July 2019.

The CEO of iBuild Global, Bob Weinschenk also appreciated the opportunity for stakeholders to focus on the most pressing issues in housing through AIHS.

Final Notes from Festus Adebayo, CEO of Abuja International Housing Show

On a final note, the CEO of Abuja International Housing Show, Festus Adebayo was full of appreciation for all participants, speakers and exhibitors from all over the world who came to be part of history at this year’s epic edition of the annual housing and construction show.

Festus Adebayo said he was very pleased with how the flagship show has metamorphosed into an all professionals affair. ‘’The platform is now more for professionals who are capable of solving the housing problems in Africa. While I am happy about that, I will be the first to say that more still needs to be done in ensuring that all the points raised during the show are put on the table for the government to start acting on those recommendations immediately.’’

Speaking in retrospect, he said that he believes that the goals set for the 13th AIHS which was to reveal alternative housing finance models have been considerably achieved.

‘’We wanted stakeholders to leverage on their experience and reveal more options for financing affordable housing in Nigeria and Africa. Luckily, we had the likes of Debra Erb, Kecia Rust, Hornsby, Lindquist and many more presenting sustainable alternatives for achieving this goal. A lot of stakeholders were fulfilled by the outcome of this year’s event with regards to how to reposition the sector.’’

He also said that the political will of the government should be seen in the removal of duties on building materials in order to enhance affordability.

‘’We can’t be talking of affordable housing if there is still heavy duty for building materials when our own steels rolling mills are not even working. Even if there is monopoly in the local manufacturing of materials like cement, government needs to intervene to reduce the cost for builders,’’ he encouraged.

The CEO assured stakeholders that every point raised by them will be put into action. ‘’In the next few weeks, all resolutions will be compiled and forwarded to whoever becomes the Minister of housing, the Presidency, Senate President, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, the Governors Forum, state Commissioners, NGOs, MBAN, REDAN and all professional bodies in the industry.’’

He urged everyone to look forward to an even bigger AIHS in 2020.

Source: Housingnews

Aso Rock Cabal Shops For Osinbajo’s Replacement •Popular South West Pastor Tops List

•VP may face corruption allegation

From within Aso Rock, words got out on Friday that the powerful cabal around President Muhammadu Buhari has concluded on forcing embattled Vice President Yemi Osinbajo out of office.

Despite the fog of uncertainty surrounding the fate of Osinbajo, nothing concrete is yet be traced to the president regarding the future of his deputy with whom he had shared a warm relationship since their joint victory in 2015.

But the president’s men are said to be unrelenting in their pursuit of an agenda reportedly aimed at abruptly ending Osinbajo’s presidential sojourn.

Amidst all these, the vice president, on Friday, in Ekiti State, accused insiders whom he described as fifth columnists of working against the interest of the government.

In weeks ahead, one major battle Osinbajo may have to fight is preventing corruption tar from leeching on him as allegations of corrupt handling of government agencies under him may soon hit the airwaves.

To a devastating effect, the administration has employed the anti-corruption campaign to uproot perceived enemies within the government.


Apart from Walter Onnoghen who was sacked from office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria for alleged failure to declare five domiciliary accounts belonging to him in his asset declaration form, the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita was also relieved of her position on Thursday over an alleged corruption probe.

Aftermath her open clash with the powerful Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, at the exco chamber in the Villa over the controversial return to office of fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina of the infamous Pensiongate, many within the system were counting days for her before being sent packing.

It was also predicted that allegations of corruption would be used in getting rid of her.

Both predictions came to pass and were accurate.

Maina, a former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension, who fled the country and was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was smuggled back into the country and into the civil service in October 2017, triggering a national outcry.

On camera, an incensed Oyo-Ita was seen wagging her fingers in the face of an equally angry Kyari. Both eventually made up before the camera.

With the sack of a former Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Lawal Daura, Kyari is believed to be the face of the presidency cabal, though two other powerful figures (names withheld) not in government are also said to call major shots.


Search for replacement

Beyond the drama of the past week within the presidency, which has seen Osinbajo in the eye of the storm regarding his continued relevance in the administration’s second term in office, Saturday Tribune was informed by a well-placed Villa source that names were already coming up as possible replacement for the vice president.

Topping the list of those being considered is said to be a popular pastor for what is deemed an appropriate replacement and balancing.

Osinbajo, aside from being a Christian, is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and an ally of the denomination’s influential general overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

Although other names are reportedly being bandied as his possible replacement, the said pastor appears to fulfill all the requirements, being also a Christian, a popular pastor and equally from the south-western part of the country like the vice president.

It was further learnt that those who want to see the back of Osinbajo are considering two major exit strategies: either his forceful resignation or impeachment through the National Assembly.

A source around the vice president said his in-house traducers are already seeing him to be toast with the conviction that it may not be too difficult forcing him to resign when brought under pressure.

Osinbajo’s lack of meaningful political structure outside of Senator Bola Tinubu’s is likely emboldening those seeking to rid the presidency of him.

The vice president’s major sin for which he has reportedly not been forgiven, according to an insider source, is beyond the actions taken when the president was hospitalised in the United Kingdom.

As the acting president, Osinbajo saw to the Senate confirmation of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the nation’s substantive Chief Justice, though Buhari eventually got rid of him through a controversial suspension following an alleged failure to declare all his assets as required by the law.

Onnoghen, the first southern Christian CJN in over 28 years of northern domination, was replaced with Justice Mohammed Tanko.

Osinbajo also got the controversial erstwhile Director General of the SSS, Daura, fired following a siege to the National Assembly.

The then acting president publicly said he consulted the then ailing president before making the decisions.

Daura has been seen around the seat of power since Buhari assumed full duties.

However, the public denial of the much-despised Ruga policy of the Buhari administration by Osinbajo, following a national outcry, is said to have been the deal breaker for the presidency cabal.

The back-and-forth between the vice president’s office and the Myetti Allah over Ruga and the insistence by the former that Ruga isn’t the same as the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) against the position of the latter further mobilised national and international outcry against the policy.

Buhari’s administration later succumbed to the global condemnation and scrapped the idea, which was aimed at having strictly Fulani settlements in local governments across the country.

The cabal, according to information available to Saturday Tribune, is holding Osinbajo responsible for the unnatural death of the Ruga agenda, believed to have been packaged by the administration to favour the Fulani stock of the president.

Despite the decision by nearly all northern governors to buy into NLTP as against Ruga and with Osinbajo being actively involved, the party is reportedly considered over for him in the current power project, hence the resolve, according to available information, to kick him out.

A political associate of Osinbajo told Saturday Tribune he didn’t see any big deal in the alleged raw deal coming the way of the number two man.

When asked if he had discussed the current realities with the vice president, he said he could only volunteer an opinion when asked.

Osinbajo has been variously accused of sidelining many of his associates while only relating closely with those who are of the Redeemed church.

A senior lawyer had told Saturday Tribune of efforts he made to see the vice president for a serious national issue only to realise that none of the appointments given him materialised.

There is also a perception that the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler’s recent query from the Villa was part of the assault against the camp of the vice president, considering their long-running friendship.

Osinbajo’s name has featured frequently and prominently in the 2023 presidential permutations and many commentators, pressure and political groups from the North have said 2023 should not be an exit point for the zone.

The vice president is yet to make any comment about running for president.

Source: tribuneonlineng

Fannie Mae: Cheap Mortgage Rates Will Push 2019 Refinancings to Three-Year High

Fannie Mae released a forecast on Tuesday that has 30-year fixed mortgage rates falling to an average of 3.5% in the fourth quarter from 3.6% in the current period, which will boost refinancings to a three-year high.

The nation’s biggest mortgage financier said refinancings probably will reach $699 billion in 2019, a 31% jump from 2018. Fannie Mae a month ago projected the average fixed rate would be 3.7% in the fourth quarter and annual refinancing volume would be $638 billion.

“The decline in our mortgage rate forecast since last month led us to revise upward our forecasts of refinance originations in both 2019 and 2020,” Fannie Mae said in a statement. “With rates declining almost an entire percent and a half from the peak last November, fewer homeowners have mortgages at rates lower than current market levels, meaning homeowners are less likely to feel `locked-in’ to their current mortgage.”

The overall view of the economy was pessimistic, even though the U.S. trade war with China hadn’t worsened in the last month.

“Businesses enjoyed at least a temporary respite from further escalation of U.S.-China and other trade disputes, but the month brought both confusion in the U.K. regarding the government’s Brexit plan and renewed evidence that the U.S. manufacturing sector is not immune to the global manufacturing slowdown,” the forecast said. “Perhaps more ominous, the month also brought signs that the resilience of consumer spending may be starting to wear thin, with weak growth in employment and a sharp turn downward in consumer sentiment.”

Fannie Mae lowered its outlook for existing home sales, though not by much. Resales of homes probably will total 5.324 million this year, a drop of 0.3% from 2018. A month ago, the forecast projected a 0.1% decline.

New-home sales got a small upward adjustment. Builders probably will sell 666,000 single-family homes in 2019, a gain of 7.9% from last year. Last month, Fannie Mae said it was expecting 659,000 sales.

“The lack of existing home inventory is supportive of new construction. We continue to expect single-family housing starts to move modestly upward through the remainder of the year, even as builders continue to face labor and land constraints,” the forecast said.

Task before Economic Advisory Council

The Federal Government announced the members of the Economic Advisory Council on September 16, 2019. The new body which replaces the Economic Management Team that was headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to be led by Prof Doyin Salami as Chairman; Dr. Mohammed Sagagi, Vice-Chairman; and Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu, Secretary, who happens to also be a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Development Policy. Other members are: Prof. Ode Ojowu, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, Dr. Iyabo Masha, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Mr. Bismark Rewane. The team is no doubt a top rate one.

The team, however, has a female member, Dr Iyabo Masha, who was until August 2019 the IMF Representative for Sierra Leone. The percentage of female is about 12.5%, a ratio of 1 to 7. Perhaps, President Buhari should have appointed more females for a more gender-balanced composition.

The EAC appears to be modelled after the United States’ National Economic Council, though the Council of Economic Advisers model would have been more institutionalised because the latter was established by the Congress and the members’ appointment is subject to the Senate approval.

As stated in a report by the President’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, this advisory council, which will be reporting directly to the President, will advise him on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies. In addition, the EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President. The chairman may, however, request unscheduled meetings if the need arises (I like this part because it fosters flexibility). One thing is missing: its tenure. We don’t know for how long the EAC will be in existence.

From the face of it, the EAC composition appears to be pro-growth and can kickstart a bullish run on the Nigerian economy, other key factors being equal. It is a good signal and confidence-boosting. And the administration will attract more attention and respect from the international market. We must however face the fact that this administration has about 30-36 active months to consolidate on its recent gains and lay a solid foundation for higher economic growth and create more jobs. Time is running out fast. So, let us take a look at the economic statistics staring at the EAC:

-Gross Domestic Product grew by 1.94% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2019. On a half-year basis, real growth in the first half of 2019 stood at 2.02%.  The Federal Government’s growth estimate for the 2019 fiscal year is 3.01%. But the IMF is projecting a 2.1% growth for 2019.

-Unemployment rate was at 23.1% (Q3 :2018) up from 18.1% a year earlier. The African countries having higher rates than Nigeria are Namibia (33.4%), Angola (29 %), South Africa (29%) and Mozambique (25%). Countries such as Libya (17.3%), Tunisia (15.30%), Rwanda (15%), Kenya (9.30%) have lower rates compared to Nigeria. More details are contained here

-Underemployment was at 20.1% (Q3: 2018)

-Inflation rate at 11.02% (August 2019). The Federal Government’s estimate for 2019 fiscal year is 9.98%

-The key benchmark interest rate (monetary policy rate) is 13.5% with asymmetric corridor at +200/-500 basis points

-Out of the actual 2018 FGN budget of N7.455tn, the debt service was N2.152tn, which represented a 28.8%. The FG also recorded a variance of 23.9% (shortfall) in the total expenditure- N9.120tn vs N7.455tn. The actual amount of debt service was even more than capital expenditure (N2.152 trillion vs N1.743 trillion)

-The key projections contained in the Draft Medium Term Expenditure Framework /Fiscal Strategy Paper 2020-2022 released on September 10, 2019 by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning are shown thus:  The real GDP growth is projected to be 2.93% (2020), 3.35% (2021), 3.85% (2022). Using an official exchange rate of N305/US$, the real GDP is projected to be US$458bn (2019), US$468bn (2020), US$522bn (2021) and USD588bn (2022). If an exchange rate of N350/US$ which mirrors the actual rate available to much of the population is used, the real GDP will be lower than the projected figures.

-The personal cost (inclusive of pension costs) for 2019 is over N3tn (more than a third of the entire budget) and it is rising. New borrowing as a percentage of total FGN Budget (including Government Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans) between 2020 and 2022 is averaged to be about 15%. Debt service to Revenue ratio (including Government Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans) for the projected period is averaged to be about 34%. Deficit as percentage of FGN Revenue (including GOEs & project-tied loans) is averaged to be about 26%. Capital expenditure as percentage of Non-Debt Expenditure to be about 29% on average. It is 41% in 2019. So the FGN is planning to spend less on CAPEX between 2020-2022. This is strange though. The draft document concludes that “Nigeria faces significant medium-term fiscal challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation and rapid growth in personnel costs”. The draft MTEF 2020-2022 can be downloaded here


So, what should we expect from this EAC? For one, most if not all the members of the council have a market ideological bent. But they will be reporting to the President who seems not to have a soft spot for free market. Perhaps, the President’s mindset is now changed. Secondly, it is important the apparent ideological differences are resolved from the onset.

Nigeria has been running perennial budget deficits and keeps increasing. It is equally troubling that much of the public debt goes to recurrent expenditure. Eventually, Nigeria will have to adjust. As I mentioned, the EAC does not have much time but a lot can be done. I guess the council will work with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of Buhari’s administration. It is its major economic blueprint. The ERGP objectives are to: restore and sustain growth; invest in our people and build a globally competitive economy. Given the ERGP, the EAC would likely tilt towards stabilisation policies for the remaining duration of the administration. This administration ends in 2023.  The first 90 days of the EAC will either confirm a good signal or a bad one. It will show whether the initial optimism will be sustained or will fade away quickly.

Going forward, in its advisory role to the President, the EAC will have to:

  1. Look for more sustainable ways to generate revenue.
  2. Reduce leakages in government spending to the barest minimum.
  3. Help answer the question whether Nigeria (administrative-wise) wants an expansive government or restrictive type.
  4. Decide whether to borrow more from the international markets right now or borrow domestically
  5. Evaluate the question of subsidy/under-recovery in the pump price of petrol
  6. Evaluate the government strategies at generating more revenue from taxes taking into consideration other bottlenecks Nigerian businesses currently face which make them to be less competitive.
  7. Advise the FG whether it is in Nigeria’s interest to go ahead with launching of ‘ECO’, the planned single currency for Economic Community of West African States in 2020; given the divergence criteria in most member States.
  8. Consolidate on the Ease of Doing Business initiative
  9. Work with the monetary authorities to fight inflation.
  10. Fight the unemployment.
  11. Assess the current state of the currency swap deal with China.
  12. Assess the various intervention schemes (not the monetary policy mandate) of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the real sector of the economy.
  13. Ensure a better coordination between Ministries, Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and other key agencies.
  14. Ensure Nigeria is an attractive destination for Foreign Investment. It is obvious the quantum of domestic investment can not take Nigeria forward. Nigeria needs on a much bigger scale both the Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment.
  15. Look at other areas that need critical infrastructure such as ports, education, works, housing and power. This is also calling their attention to the fact that as contained in the draft MTEF, a reduced amount is proposed to be spent on CAPEX between 2020-2022. This could be counterproductive.

The Federal Government will have to decide on what it wants to do with Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme and other intervention schemes on the one hand and the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on the other. Does it want to merge them and why?

Ag-HoS Yemi-Esan Receives Hand Over Note From Oyo-Ita

The acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, yesterday resumes duty after receiving a 153-page handover note from Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, who was asked to proceed on an indefinite leave.

A statement on Wednesday night in Abuja, signed by the Director, Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Mr. Willie Bassey, said the removal of Mrs Oyo-Ita was to allow for the conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Daily Trust reports that Mrs Yemi-Esan and Mrs Oyo-Ita met briefly in the morning yesterday before the final handing over later in the evening.

The Director, Information, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHoCSF), Mrs Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, in a statement yesterday, said the new HoCSF finally took over at 6.40pm.

According to the statement, “Dr Yemi-Esan in her remarks acknowledged the hard work and dedication to duty of the outgoing Mrs Oyo-Ita and promised to build on her achievements.

“There is no reinventing the wheel. I will only build on the sound foundation and structure which she has left behind because government is a continuum.” Earlier in her handing over speech, Mrs Oyo-Ita said her almost four years as the HoS was eventful.

Source: dailytrust

Affordable housing forever! ‘Revolutionary new approach’ to home building comes to York

According to directors of YorSpace James Newton and Imelda Havers, the market is broken and YorSpace offers an opportunity to start fixing it through a radical approach to funding, community and environmental sustainability.
It already has approval to build a 19-home mixed community at Lowfield Green, Acomb.

YorkMix met YorSpace to find out more.

Revolutionising the way homes are funded
For the first time raising finance through a community share offer will be used to create homes that are not only kind to the environment and community focused, but permanently affordable.

This innovative method of raising capital for community homes could be a potential model for the future.

YorSpace director Imelda Havers said:

There are many exciting features to this project. But raising money in the community for local housing really is a bit radical.

By investing in YorSpace, local people and businesses will have a stake in future housing provision and can shape the type of homes that the city really needs.

Permanently affordable homes

There would be a community heart to the development
YorSpace has created an ownership model which is designed to be permanently affordable.
People who live in each development own a part of the whole development, with any equity only rising with inflation ensuring affordability for the next generation
Lower building costs and no developer profit means a significantly lower deposit of 10% is required on a house value of approximately 80% of the equivalent home which can never be sold on the open market for a quick profit
All residents will be equal shareholders of the cooperative that owns the houses, paying a monthly contribution to give them added security in tenure.

A 21st Century community

It aims to create homes for all ages
Community wellbeing is key. Residents will have strong connections with the local area and be in housing need.
The 19 homes at Lowfield Green in Acomb are YorSpace’s flagship development, and will involve a mix of housing, from one bed apartments to four bed houses to create a diverse mix of life stages and family sizes.

The residents range from young people to the retired, with one resident aged 80 setting up home with her daughter and granddaughter.

Every resident is committed to helping nurture an active community and will give time each week to make the development a thriving place to live where everyone has a say.
Sharing is also key to community cohesion including communal areas covering dining and kitchen, laundry and car share. Sharing in this way will free up space in homes, bring the community together and improve the quality of life as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint.

Decarbonising house building

Photograph: YorSpace
The homes at Lowfield Green have been designed around One Planet Living principles of sustainable living, which will limit the environmental impact of the neighbourhood being built.
Every building is being built from low carbon, bio-based construction materials which lower the carbon footprint of the fabric of the homes whilst making them both energy efficient and economical to run.

These materials have the added bonus that they create a healthy indoor living environment for residents, avoiding toxic, petrochemical based products.

YorSpace director James Newton said:

Our single storey common house is going to be a community self-build incorporating locally sourced straw bales.

I’m very excited about the opportunities that these types of materials offer and I’m convinced that their performance will be better than the materials typically used in building.

The build could also offer local training opportunities and employment.

Why invest in the community share offer?

The Yorspace Lowfield Masterplan

YorSpace have just launched their public share offer – allowing interested parties to invest in the project.

By making an investment you’ll be helping shape housing development in the city to the needs of the community as well as helping to tackle the housing crisis and build momentum in an innovative community housing model in York.

Individuals can make a minimum investment of £250 to a maximum investment of £47,500 receiving a maximum return of 2.5% payable into each individual investors personal share account which can be withdrawn from 2022.

Ethical crowdfunding platform Ethex will be handling all transactions. YorSpace are looking to raise a minimum of £375,000 from the share offer.

The future

Following the successful delivery of Lowfield Green, YorSpace will continue to grow and help facilitate more community led housing in York.

James Newton said:

  • We believe our community funded, permanently affordable homes using low carbon building materials is a model for the future, and we’re keen to speak to people across the city who would like to find out more: whether that’s potential investors or people interested in joining the YorSpace residents register.

AfDB Approves $500,000 Grant for clean Energy in Nigeria

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved 500,000 dollars grant to support the development of clean energy in Nigeria.

The grant was approved under the AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).

SEFA is a multi-donor facility established to unlock private sector investments in small to medium-sized clean energy projects in Africa

Wale Shonibare, the bank’s Acting Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth said the grant would also support launch of the Nigeria Energy Access Fund (NEAF).

NEAF is a new private equity fund developed by `All On’, a Nigerian impact investment firm financed by Shell.

Shonibare pointed out that NEAF would make strategic investments in sustainable energy in Nigeria, particularly in the country’s burgeoning off-grid and mini-grid sectors.

“NEAF will be a first-of-its-kind facility to provide eligible projects and businesses with equity solutions that are currently unavailable in the market.

“Nigeria requires bespoke and innovative market-based solutions to provide its off-grid population, estimated at 100 million, access to sustainable sources of energy.

“The SEFA grant will be instrumental in the constitution of NEAF, and ultimately, the mobilisation of much-needed private sector investment for clean energy.

“The grant will support specific work streams to set NEAF in motion and enhance its engagement with private and public sector investors.

“Once operational, NEAF is expected to complement the bank’s wide range of sustainable energy initiatives currently being implemented in Nigeria,’’ Shonibare said.

He added that SEFA’s support to NEAF was aligned with the New Deal on Energy for Africa and the bank’s priorities, especially ‘Light Up and Power Africa.

The project, which conforms with AfDB’s Energy Sector Strategy, is expected to boost Nigerian government’s power sector recovery plans.

CBN Retains Benchmark Interest Rate at 13.5%

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday announced the retention of its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 13.5 percent.

This announcement was made by Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on outcome of the two-day meeting of the MPC, which started yesterday.

According to the apex bank chief, the committee decided to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged in order to monitor developments in both the global and local spaces.

The central bank further said the MPC agreed to leave the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 around MPR, liquidity ratio at 30 percent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent.

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