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Family Homes Funds To commence 4900 Homes in Borno After Landmark Agreement

Federal Government social housing scheme, Family Homes Funds have signed a landmark agreement with the government of Borno state to build at least 1700 homes for civil servants on low income and another 3200 for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The agreement which was signed on Sunday at the Borno state government liaison office in Abuja will mark a new beginning for the state which has been largely devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, leading to the destruction of at least 1 million homes.

Speaking at the event, the Governor of Borno state, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum stated that the state is excited about the project and the commitment of Family Homes Funds to fund such a massive project that will benefit both IDPs and civil servants, and with a loan repayment plan of up to 25 years for civil servants.

He said: ‘’The responsibility of the government of Borno state is to act as an intermediary to ensure that the houses are built in conformity with the standards, and we shall guarantee the payment of the loan back to family homes funds. The urban buildings are meant for the civil servants while the ones in the rural areas are for IPDs.

‘’It is a continuous process, and as time goes, we shall continue to engage Family Homes Funds to ensure that more homes are built, especially for IDPs. We have identified the locations and ready to go.

‘’We also have the responsibility to ensure protection and ensure safety because of the security situation in the state. We will cooperate with them to ensure no delay at all. And the beneficiaries, especially the 1700 civil servants earning below 100, 000 will be meticulously selected.’’

Speaking on the agreement, the MD/CEO of Family Homes Funds, Femi Adewole also expressed his satisfaction with working with the Borno state governor and his government whom he said has a pedigree that gives them assurance that this is not just a paper signing ceremony.

‘’We are delighted about this partnership with the Borno State Government which will provide much needed homes for 3200 internally displaced persons and 1700 civil servants on low income. With a total investment of about N15 billion this partnership will be making a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society and giving them hope and opportunity to participate in viable economic activities.

‘’We are also delighted to be working with a trusted partner. Probably unknown to many, His Excellency has personally overseen the completion of over 20000 homes. His active commitment to this project leaves us in no doubt that the homes will be completed to good quality within the agreed 18 months period.

‘’The 18 months starts now. Both parties are going to work hard to deliver on this commitment and bring hope to about 4900 families. With unit costs starting from N1.8m this is part of the Government Social Investment Programme committed to improving the quality of life of Nigerians. This will also improve the local economy through creation of jobs.

‘’We are doing two things. First, we are providing construction finance to ensure that the beneficiaries get their houses, on the back of that we will be providing the individual civil servants with homes loans assistance to ensure that they can afford the purchase of those homes for a figure that is no more than a third of the salary that they earn, and depending on individual circumstances, the tenure of that financing will stretch up to 20 years.

‘’The mission is to work together to ensure that fellow Nigerians that are living in very unacceptable conditions are allowed to have a home as quickly as possible.

‘’We are happy because up to 3200 people whom have been living in tents will now have a home that they can call their own which is safe and secure.

‘’We have worked with the government to provide the initial financing, the government will transfer these homes for free to the IDPs. So this is a significant initiative by the state government and they will pay back over an extended period of time which is up to an average of about 15 years,’’ he said.

Family Homes Funds is also currently developing low cost housing projects in at least 12 states of the federation in fulfilment of the mandate of the newly established organisation.

Unilag Scholars, Prof Nubi and Dr Adebisi Secure €1,200,000 Research Grant

Reports have it that the grants were from the United Kingdom Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund.

The scholars are Dr Sunday Adebisi, Director, African Research Universities Alliance ARUA Centre of Excellence in Unemployment and Skills Development, and Prof. Timothy Nubi, Director, Centre for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities. Adebisi secured the grant for Partnership, Research and Capacity Building for Youth Unemployment Solutions in Africa while Nubi got the grant for African Research Network for Urbanisation and Habitable Cities. The duration of the research projects is 36 months – from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31 2022.

Reports have it that the grants are for the development of integrated solutions that will maximise employment opportunities and enhance the future of work in Africa. They are also to provide a strategic platform for developing research capacities in African institutions to address Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using a hub and spoke models that will increase collaboration among African teams from diverse disciplines.

They are also to be used to fund themed capacity-building workshops, PhD Colloquia in conferences and researcher exchange programmes that will promote mentoring as well as carry out scoping studies in research areas, specific to Africa’s urbanisation challenges. Adebisi told NAN on Saturday in Lagos that a major aim of the grant was to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment, using a stakeholder network approach involving academic research institutes and non-academic institutions with shared vision, interest, goals and objectives.

According to him, this will build significant research capacity across African universities as well as promote youth employment and skills development in African countries starting with universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.

He added that it would enhance the realisation of the SDGs. “It will also provide sponsorship for academic training for seven doctoral students, six post-doctoral fellows as well as 15 faculty members distributed across African universities for capacity building in carrying out research on skills development for reducing youth unemployment in Africa.

“This grant will also be used to create a one-high performing hub that has the capacity to raise external funds, firm partnerships, explore entrepreneurial activities as well as attract excellent mentors worldwide and anchor research network across African universities toward youth skills development, in a bid to achieve the SDGs. “We will also strive to hold international conferences, workshops and training that will be attended by not less than two hundred participants every year for the duration of the project,” he told newsmen.

Adebisi said that the activities, under the ARUA Centre of Excellence, would be in collaboration with universities such as Coventry, Lancaster, University of Derby, University of Cape Town and universities of Ghana and Nairobi.

source: vanguard

Rethinking the Licensing of New Banks

With the current licensing of new banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria will have about 26 commercial banks when operations commence.

A key question is if we really need more banks just 14 years after the 2005 banking consolidation, with the present state of our economy.

According to sources familiar with the licensing, CBN is not only concerned that the sector is shrinking, but is eager to attract new investment and ensure that over 50 million unbanked and under-banked Nigerians are financially included and properly served.

While the adduced reasons might be perceived as cogent, a critical assessment of the sector, the economy and the purpose of a banking sector to the economy reveals otherwise.

It is also important that we remember what necessitated the 2005 banking consolidation and be sure that we are not preparing for the same situation where we had about 89 banks with many mainly involved in activities that can be best described as anti-banking and anti-Nigerian economy.

The principal purpose of banks in an economy is to provide financial intermediation services mainly through the collection of deposits from areas of surplus and allocations of credits or loans to areas of need.

In addition to other variables, a common way to examine the extent to which the banks in any economy are achieving expected tasks is through the credit provided by the banking sector to the private sector as a percentage of the GDP.

In Nigeria, the average from 1960-2017 is 12.52%. While it is 98.1% in South Africa from 1965-2016, it is 81.2% in the United Kingdom from 1960-2016 where we got our banking model from.

As we are gearing to about 26 commercial banks in addition to five merchant banks with only about 36.8 million bank account holders in a country of about 180 million people, South Africa with about 57 million people has mainly 10 local banks and seven foreign banks with about 22 million bank account holders.

In the UK with a population of about 64 million people, there are about 150 million bank accounts (savings, deposits and current) and about 95% of adults have at least one bank account.

With about 64,000 ATM machines with no withdrawal charge in over 98% of them, the financial sector employs about 1million people. Interestingly, there are only five independent British banks.

From the above, it is clear that effective provision of the required financial intermediation services is not really about having a high number of banks in an economy; it is about the depth of the economy and financial sector, infrastructure and other critical institutions and factors for robust development of the sector.

Using all relevant variables to compare Nigeria with other peer countries, we cannot be said to be doing well; these include inflation, financial sector contribution to the GDP, interest rate, depth of the financial market, net interest margin, return on assets ratio, loan to assets ratio etc.

With a total domestic credit provided by Nigeria’s financial sector to the private sector as a percentage of our GDP just at 23.3% in 2018 as compared to South Africa with 180.4%, it is very clear that Nigerian banks are not lending to our private sector.

Worse still, even the very little they lend is highly concentrated with allegations that about 100 Nigerians and their affiliated companies account for over 60% of all the total credit provided by the banks.

If this is the case, which is evidently true with over 80% of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) maintaining that lack of finance remains one of their critical challenges, the question then is if the huge profits declared by banks are from financial intermediation or from anti-banking and exploitative activities.

Using the 2018 annual performance as announced by the banks themselves, only about 10 banks can be said to be doing well in terms of declaring good profits or paying encouraging dividends.

In a bid to survive the intensely competitive environment therefore, many banks have devised all kinds of nefarious charges through which they generate significant portions of their non-interest incomes.

An experience shared two weeks ago explains this; on the first day of carrying out a transaction with one of the banks after opening an account with a good deposit, he was asked to re-submit his BVN number for re-confirmation.

This he gladly did only to be alerted by his phone that he has been charged N2.50 as BVN enquiry charge. As he made a transfer from his account to another account, he was further charged N210.00 for the small transfer form he used in inputting the transfer details.

In addition to these two exploitative charges, he paid another N52 as transfer charge and his phone credit further debited N8.00 as fees for the debit alert messages.

This scenario is the experience with many of our banks, it is difficult to agree that having more banks is what the economy really needs now and that the banks will be different from the existing 21 commercial banks.

Given the current state and performance of our banks and as economies of scale and scope are critical factors in a sector like banking, it seems that what we need now might be more consolidation and regulatory reforms rather than new banks.

Of the many reforms needed, a few stands out; first is the need for the development and enthronement of an effective and sustainable strategy for the integration of the informal finance sub-sector with the formal sub-sector.

Second is urgency for a deep understanding and utilisation of the recommendations of the recently released code for corporate governance by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; third is the need to review the current cash reserve and liquidity ratios to see the possibility of reduction to free up some idle cash.

The fourth regulatory reform is to explore how the banks can be helped to reduce their increasing non-performing loans and interest rates, fifth is the necessity to eliminate the opaqueness of our foreign exchange administration either through full liberalisation or a more transparent and beneficial system.

In addition to other required reforms, it is believed that the few identified above might better enhance the contribution of the banking sector to the economy than the emerging proliferation of banks and other financial institutions.

Lagos Business School

Japan and the African Development Bank has announced a joint target of $3.5 billion under the Enhanced Private Sector

Japan’s State Minister of Finance, Mr. Keisuke Suzuki made this known during the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) held in Yokohama.

He said both Japan and the Bank have set a target of $1.75 billion each, from 2020-2022, to enhance the fourth phase of EPSA to spur private-sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa.

“Building on the successful achievements so far, Japan and the Bank have decided to upgrade EPSA in both quality and quantity to meet financial needs for infrastructure development as well as for the private sector development in Africa,”

“I wish that the new EPSA initiative will lead to business, investment promotion, and job creation in Africa,” Mr. Suzuki noted.

According to the President of the African Development, Akinwumi Adesina,

“Today marks another day to celebrate the strong and impactful partnership between Japan and the African Development Bank. The African Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are long-term partners for promoting the development of Africa. EPSA helps to deliver much needed to support the private sector,”

“Under EPSA 4, JICA and the African Development Bank will provide co-financing of $3.5 billion. This is a significant increase over EPSA-3. Increase is what we need to meet the needs of Africa. Increase is what we need to raise the level of our ambitions for Africa.

“Increase is what we need to build upon the solid foundations of co-financing over the last 13 years, and deliver even greater and more impactful development results in the years ahead. Now, let us arise with renewed vigor. Let us deliver even greater impacts for African countries through EPSA 4,” Dr. Adesina concluded.

The ongoing EPSA3 (2017-2019), Japan and the African Development Bank are cooperating closely to provide the targeted joint amount of $ 3 billion.
[8/30, 3:29 PM] mbilawisdom: Japan, AfDB announce $3.5bn support for Africa’s private sector

Buhari orders ministers to design monthly performance indicators for parastatals, agencies

Ministerial nominee Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Ministers to come up with key performance indicators for Parastatals and Agencies under their ministries which should be evaluated monthly. The Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami disclosed the President’s directive in Abuja when he received a delegation from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), an establishment under his ministry.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the delegation led by the Director General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa was on courtesy visit to the minister.

Pantami recalled that the president gave the directive during ministerial retreat and was re-echoed during their inauguration. The minister who said he would implement the president’s directive to the latter, charged the workers to be passionate and dedicated to their work, develop themselves and contribute their quota to the growth of the nation. “As instructed by the President, we will come up with the key performance indicators for agencies under our ministries which will be evaluated monthly. “It is,important that you are passionate about your work, be hardworking and always find ways to improve yourselves because having your integrity intact is better than anything. “If we are all committed to working passionately, it means the government has succeeded and will deliver on its mandate to develop the country through deployment of Information Communication Technology,” Pantami said. Pantami also said that the ministry would come up with broad policies which would be handed to the agencies for implementation, He assured that the ministry will always approve any action-plan of its agencies and intervene in situations where they needed support. Specifically, Pantami said he was abreast with the events of NITDA having being the immediate past director-general of the agency for three years. Congratulatory card presented to Dr Isa Pantami as Minister of the Federal Government. He charged the management of NITDA to take proactive steps towards improving on the delivery of the agency’s mandate. NAN reports that the delegation briefed the minister on the projects and programmes of NITDA and presented him with a congratulatory card on his appointment. (NAN)

‘Building collapse a major challenge’

The National President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu, has identified building collapse as the major challenge facing the construction industry.

Speaking in Port Harcourt, he said the menace of building collapse has created doubts about the competency of practitioners and artisans in the international community.

He said the menace was man-made and could be overcome, if there was genuine interest to right the wrong. “About 10 years ago, when I was the chairman of the NIOB in Lagos State, the frequency of building collapse in the state made the then Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to set up a technical committee to reform the Physical Planning and Development Law of the state.

“The committee developed a bill that was passed by the state House of Assembly and assented to by the governor in 2010, becoming the new Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law,” he said.

Awobodu continued: “Promulgating the law was one hurdle crossed, but the implementation becomes a bigger hurdle.” According to him, compromise and corruption remained the bane in the fight against building collapse. He, however, noted that NIOB must sustain the efforts to ensure that buildings that are being constructed in Nigeria meet the required standard.

He said if builders were complaining about that the construction sphere is replete with quackery, NIOB should proffer the solution that would encourage developers and clients to patronise trained builders.

In view of this, he said, “Self-development and professional competency drive will be salient in the programme of this new NIOB administration.”

Awobodu said the institute would embark on international collaborations to equip members with latest construction technology and improved construction methodology.

Fashola Restates FG’s Commitment to Complete Ongoing, Abandoned Projects

Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has assured that the Federal Government is committed to completing on-going and abandoned projects across the country.

Speaking on Thursday when the Management team of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) paid him a courtesy visit in his office, Fashola said the policy direction of the present administration was on completing all on-going and abandoned projects.

The Minister, who was responding to the remarks of the Board Chairman of FMBN, Dr. Adewale Adeeyo, on the uncompleted re-capitalization of the Bank, said the Ministry would see that the process was completed as the government of the day placed importance on Housing and Consumers Credit.

According to him, ”It is one of those areas of urgent focus by the President as a way of creating prosperity and as a way of enhancing the dignity of Nigerians”.

Fashola said there was a lot that could be jointly done by the Ministry and the Bank in the actualization of the Next Level Agenda of Mr. President assuring the Bank of the Ministry’s readiness to look at its projects that are on-going and fashion out ways of completing them.

Charging the Bank to do more on publicity as most Nigerians were currently not well informed that the Bank grants construction loans with more competitive interest rate than those offered by commercial banks, Fashola declared, “You must find a strategy to pass information on platforms that people take information from and that include, not only the conventional platforms like television, newspapers and radio, but also markets, places where people gather; sports clubs, social clubs and so on. You must reach out”.

“You must also engage the appropriate skill sets in getting this message out”, adding that the bank must also seek to reach the people at the bottom of the pyramid who, according to him, “also save money in their small businesses, in their small cooperatives”. “ So why not open accounts for them too”, he said.

Earlier, Dr. Adeeyo, who led the team of the top Management of the Bank on the visit, had solicited for the completion of the re-capitalization process of the bank.

Chamber of Commerce lauds Buhari’s new economic, diplomatic shuttle

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed economic and diplomatic shuttle to Japan and Russia as a commendable step in line with Nigeria’s economic growth plan.

A statement issued by Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President, on Thursday in Abuja, said that the diplomatic shuttle was also in line with demands of the new African free trade plan.

Kayode, also a Trade and Tax Consultant, described the trip to Japan as a rewarding exercise in Nigeria’s drive to advance its economic interests and lead Africa as the biggest economy and population.

“We commend the President for providing the necessary leadership for Africa in Japan as he participated in several meetings which yielded positive agreements, especially in terms of placing Nigeria’s economic interest in the front line of discourse.

“The consolidation of mutually beneficial ties with the Japanese is not lost on business stakeholders.

“More critically is that the president supports Japanese alternative programme for African infrastructure renewal which emphasises quality rather than quantity of infrastructural projects on the continent.

“While in Japan, the president also held bilateral talks with the South African President, a meeting very critical because of recent threats to Nigerian businesses in South Africa,’’ Kayode said.

He recalled that the President had secured a major Japanese support for the upgrade of power transmission facilities in Lagos.

Kayode said that the Japanese trip would consolidate and deepen infrastructure support for Nigeria from its government:

“Economic diplomacy is the watchword now in global diplomacy. As our President is firming up deals in Japan, he will no doubt pursue this diplomacy further by attending the Russian Africa Forum in October 2019.

“As President Buhari has also reached out to Germany which signed a major power deal with Nigeria few weeks ago, the next point of call is Russia to advance our steel, mining, defence and manufacturing sectors.’’

Kayode further commended the President for implementing a paradigm shift in the national economic focus of Nigeria.

He advocated continued pursuit of the new policy shift, urging presidential attendance at the 2019 Russia — Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia in October.

“Nigeria must be present to anchor our national interests as well as provide leadership for Africa,’’ he added.

Amaka E. Nliam

AUHF Set to Hold 2019 Housing Finance Course for Sub-Saharan Africa in September

African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) – an association of mortgage banks, building societies, microfinance institutions and banks, housing corporations and other organizations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent has announced the official date of the 2019 Housing Finance Course for Sub-Saharan Africa.

This year’s edition of the annual housing finance course of one week for Sub Sahara Africa in Cape Town, South Africa will hold from 29th September to 5th October, the association has revealed.

According to Kecia Rust, Executive Secretary of the association, the course, is in collaboration with International Union for Housing Finance.

The courses will focus on; The role of housing in an economy; The role of finance in housing markets; Building blocks of a housing finance system; The state of housing finance in Sub-Saharan Africa; Overview of housing finance products; The business of housing finance; Profitability, risks and risk management; Funding sources for housing finance: Role of capital market funding; Safety and soundness of financial institutions: the regulatory environment; Expanding housing finance to underserved markets: housing micro finance; Using subsidies to expand housing markets & housing finance systems.

The AUHF was established as a member based body of housing lenders in 1984. Today, AUHF comprises of 49 members from 16 countries across the continent.

As an industry body, the AUHF promotes the development of effective housing finance markets, and the delivery of affordable housing across Africa, working in the interests of both the members and the industry as a whole.

The association supports its members in realising their vision, through networking and deal facilitation, information collection and dissemination, lobbying and advocacy, and capacity building and training.

Closing date for application is 1st of September 2019.

Court summons AGF, EFCC over Yari’s property

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, summoned the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to appear before it over plans to seize the property of the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Abdulaziz Yari.

Justice Nkeonye Maha, who gave the order after listening to the arguments canvassed in a motion exparte by counsel to Yari, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, adjourned the matter until August 30.

The motion ex parte, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/948/2019, was brought pursuant to section 46(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and order 4, rule 3 and 4, of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009.

The AGF is the 1st respondent while the EFCC is the 2nd respondent in the suit.

Justice Maha equally ordered that the respondents be served with the court processes within 48 hours before he adjourned further proceedings.

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