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A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S.

The economy’s booming. Some states have raised minimum wages. But even with recent wage growth for the lowest-paid workers, there is still nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country. One would need to earn $13.84 an hour — about $29,000 a year — to afford a two-bedroom apartment there. The minimum wage in Arkansas is $8.50 an hour.

Even the $15 living wage championed by Democrats would not make a dent in the vast majority of states.

In Hawaii, the state with the most expensive housing, one would have to make $36.13 — about $75,000 a year — to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment. The minimum wage in Hawaii rose to $10.10 an hour this year.

A series of studies have provided fodder for both sides of the debate on raising the federal minimum wage.
It gets worse in many metropolitan areas. San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties top the list of most expensive jurisdictions, where one would need to make $60.02 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

“The housing crisis is growing, especially for the lowest-income workers,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The rents are far out of reach from what the average renter is earning.”

Downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment will only help so much.

According to the report, a one-bedroom is affordable for minimum-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Those states all set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.

Nationally, one would have to earn $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment or $22.10 an hour for a two-bedroom rental. That’s based on the common budgeting standard of spending a maximum of 30 percent of income on housing.

The report estimates that renters nationally make an average of $16.88 an hour. That means even those making above minimum wage struggle to afford rent.

Housing costs have continued to rise with growing demand for rental housing in the decade since the Great Recession. At the same time, new rental construction has tilted toward the luxury market because of increasingly high development costs, the report said. The number of homes renting for $2,000 or more per month nearly doubled between 2005 and 2015.

“While the housing market may have recovered for many, we are nonetheless experiencing an affordable housing crisis, especially for very low-income families,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in the report.

The low-wage workforce is projected to grow over the next decade, particularly in service-sector jobs such as personal-care aides and food-preparation workers.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has tried cutting federal housing subsidies for the lowest-income Americans. As it stands, only 1 in 4 households eligible for federal rent assistance gets any help, the report said. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently proposed tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements on those receiving rent subsidies.

Tracy Jan

Osinbajo flags-off 1,800 housing units in Edo

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday flagged off the construction of 1,727 Emotan Garden housing units in Egba, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.

The Vice President, while performing the flagging off ceremony, commended the state Governor, Mr. Goodwin Obaseki, for his various initiatives since he assumed office as the governor of the state.

He added that with the pace of work done at the site, there is possibility that the housing units will be completed in no distant time.

“I want to appreciate what the astute and dynamic Governor, Godwin Obaseki, is doing. I was in Auchi to launch the fertilizer plant a couple of months ago and recently in this same Local Government I was here to launch the Industrial Park.

“It is my special pleasure to be here again to commission the ground breaking of this Emotan Garden

“I want to thank the governor and the government and Mista Africa and the APDA for their very execellent job and I hope that within the next few months given the fact that they were able to build this house within 12 days and i am sure that if we work hard the 1,727 housing units can be completed in no distant time,” Osinbajo said.

Earlier, Obaseki said it was in fulfillment of his electioneering promises of creating jobs and providing affordable housing for the people of the state.

“I want to thank all of you for taken time out to witness this ground breaking ceremony of Emotan Garden which we hope will be our flagship into creating modern house style in our state.

“You will recall during my electioneering campaign I did promise that we are going to make Edo State an economic hub. I said we are going to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs in my first time in office and we expected that these jobs will be created from areas like agriculture, construction and the manufacturing sectors.

“But we realized also that housing is very key to creating jobs and that was one of the reasons why one of the first thing to do was to restructure Edo State Housing and Property Development Company.

“We reenacted the law setting it up, we got a new management and this is the evidence of the reforms we have made in that agency,” he said.

The Governor noted that 80 percent of materials used for the building of the houses were gotten locally from the state.

He noted that the government is starting a new paradigm in the position of providing an affordable housing of the citizens of the state.

“We believed that we are starting a new paradigm in the position of affordable housing and we expect that this houses will sell from about N3m to no more than N12m and it will truly be affordable,” he said.

In his speech, the Managing Director of Mista Africa, Mr. Eddy Eguavon, thanked the State Governor for partnering the firm in providing affordable housing for the people of the state.

Jethro Ibileke

Housing development can create 15m jobs –Duke

Former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, has recommended massive investment in housing development as one sure way of creating jobs and bringing life back to the economy.

Duke who spoke recently at a public function in Enugu, said using alternate building methods as done by the Nigerian Navy was capable of adding up to 15 million jobs to the economy.

“Aggressively pursuing a housing programme of up to 2 million units in new town using alternate building methods as the Nigerian Navy has done in Calabar could easily create as much as 10/15 million skilled and unskilled jobs. The Nigerian Navy has in Calabar developed a very decent housing estate of 100 housing units in under 6 months with each unit under N2m. these efforts should be replicated on a national scale to bridge the 20m housing shortage,” he stated.

He posited that to remedy the disaster which he said the country was walking into with eyes open, there was need need to design an economy with a growth rate in the real sectors of about 15 per cent annually, consecutively for 10 years to bring it to terms with the projected population, need and place in the comity of nations.

According to him, “with a projected population of about 230m persons by 2030 with a minimum $2.5 trillion economy, averaging a per capital income of $10,500 that would generate growth in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, intellectual property and information technology,” was all Nigeria nneded to build.

Elsewhere, Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Ahmed Dangiwa, has disclosed that about N60 trillion was required to meet the estimated 17 million housing deficits in the country.

 

He however, assured that his administration will deploy innovative solutions such as public-private partnership, leveraging private sector capital and increased budget financing of the housing sector to bridge the yawning gap, and added that a viable mortgage system was imperative for tackling the challenges Facing the housing sector in Nigeria.

Magnus Eze

NIOB HOLDS 48TH AGM IN ABUJA, FOCUSES ON HOUSING DELIVERY

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) will hold its 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and National Conference from July 30th to August 3rd, 2018.

The Chairman of the Institute in the Federal Capital Territory, Bldr. Odunmbaku Wilson stated this in an interview with Housing TV in Abuja.

The theme for the 2018 AGM which will also double as the 50th anniversary celebration of the Institute is Housing Delivery in Nigeria and National Economic Development.

The AGM will hold at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.

Bldr. Odunmbaku said “ the highlight of this conference which is going to be different from the other conferences we have being having is that we will be celebrating 50 years of existence of the Institute and its going to be an exciting and  a promising conference. I want to believe no builder in this country will want to miss this huge opportunity.”

He added that the conference will be focusing on housing delivery and how it influences or impacts on national economic development.

On the recently approved National Building Code, Bldr. Odunmbaku described it as a right step in the right direction.

According to him “It comes with a lot of promissory notes because every professional in built environment is looking forward to it; it has been in the pipeline for long. Building industry is highly unregulated, without the code coming into effect; we will still be vulnerable as usual. It is coming at a very good time”

He further noted that “we are hoping that the bill or the Act that will give it an enforcing backing will also follow suit. I want to believe that the Executive will now send a bill to the National Assembly for the enforcement of this code because that is the key, without that, the code will still be at everybody’s mercy.”

The NIOB is the professional body for Builders and those who are about to be engaged in the Building Profession.

The Institute seeks to enable her members’ deliver, with relevant stakeholders, sustainable shelter that addresses the housing needs of the Nation through research and development and global best practices.

Adeleke Samuel, Housing TV.

 

What You Need To Know About Condominiums

Condominiums or condo is a term used in the United States and most provinces in Canada. Condos are more complicated than buying and living in a single family home. You must understand what it is you are purchasing and whether the lifestyle will suit you and your family.

In this paper, I will attempt to help you understand what it is you are purchasing when you say you are buying a condo and proffer some advice on what you need to know about condos in a Q&A format. It is imperative that after giving you this information, you still consult your lawyer to discuss the documents and any conditions that might affect your lifestyle since the documents are usually prepared by the developer’s lawyer.

1) What is a condominium?
A condominium is unlike an apartment. The difference between the two is purely legal.

A condominium combines the legal concepts of single ownership and tenancy in common, whereas an apartment only utilzes the concept of single ownership.

The concept of single ownership affords the owner of a piece of property the bundle of rights that go with real property interests. The bundle of rights are the right to use the property, the right to possess the property, the right to exclude all others from the property and the right to sell the property.

The concept of tenancy in common says that two or more persons hold an “undivided interest” in a property but all have an equal right to use the property. In one case it was held that a tenant in common unlike a joint tenancy have no right of survivorship and hold their property in undivided shares. “No right of survivorship” means that if one of the tenants in common dies, each interest may be separately sold, mortgaged or willed to another. This is distinguishable from a joint tenancy interest which has a “right of survivorship” and each interest passes automatically to the survivor.

Based on the foregoing analysis, it follows that a condo ownership has a dual nature; a condominium unit owner has ownership of his or her unit and, shares jointly with other unit owners, the ownership of the common areas, whereas an apartment owner has ownership of only his or her unit e.g. in a condo the sauna, swimming pool, gym, stairway, gardens, car park are common areas owned jointly, whereas in an apartment, these areas would be part of the apartment and the responsibility for managing these areas are not for the apartment owners.

2) What are the rules on condominiums?
Currently, there are no dedicated condominium laws governing the ownership of both residential and non-residential condominiums in Ghana, the condominium bill is the closest we have come to obtaining a condominium law but I understand the bill has yet to go for Cabinet’s approval.

3) What are the advantages of buying a condominium?
A few advantages of the condominium model are:

They offer conveniences such as saunas, swimming pools and fitness centers. These amenities are much cheaper when shared by a group of owners than by an individual property owner;
individual owners are not directly responsible for maintenance on the building or the common areas. Monthly condo fees will take care of all expenses related to the repair and maintenance of the community facilities.

4) What is an association?
When you purchase a condo, you are obligated to join that community’s homeowner’s association and pay monthly fees for the upkeep of the common areas. Countries that have rules on condos require that the associations are registered to make them legally distinct entities (“a person”) that has rights.

The model adopted by most countries is that their laws require the incorporation of a not for profit organization consisting of all the unit owners and formed for the purpose of managing and maintaining the condominium in accordance with the Bye-laws.

Thus, these associations are duly incorporated by the developer pursuant to a board of director’s resolution authorizing the developer to incorporate the company and to appoint members of its board.

Membership of the association is limited to, and compulsory for all unit owners. A unit owner can become a member under the following circumstances:

Upon subscribing to the regulations of the company or agreeing with the company to be a member; and
the entry of the unit owner’s name in the register of members of the company.
Recently, the Companies Act has added a further requirement to include the names and particulars of beneficial owners of companies in the register of members. This means that now, all prospective owners of condominiums can conduct a search at the Companies Registry and the beneficial owners’ names will be revealed.

This innovation by the Companies Act is laudable as prospective unit owners are able to make informed decisions about who they are entering into a co-ownership arrangement with and this could play a major role in deciding whether they would want to invest in that condominium or not.

5) What are the best practices for running an association?
Keeping proper records of association meetings is important for many reasons: The Companies Act requires that you keep minutes once your association is incorporated. There are other statutory books that the association is required to keep and update. These are the member’s register, register of directors and secretary; register of directors’ interest and disclosures, register of directors’ holdings. If these books are not kept and updated, every officer of the association is liable to a fine for each day that the default continues.

Minutes keep track of issues of concern to the members of the association. They also ensure that members have a clear record of what the board and association have done.
Compliance with the Companies Act: the Companies Act has extensive filing and other requirements that the association is required to comply with. The main ones are:

The association is required to at least once in every year, deliver to the Registrar for registration, its annual returns. A company can do so within fourty-two (42) days after circulating the companies profit and loss account, balance sheet and reports. Annual returns include particulars of every member of the association and every beneficial owner of the association. If this return is not filed, the association and every officer in default would be liable to a fine not exceeding three hundred Ghana cedis for each day the default continues.

The association must hold an annual general meeting each year, in addition to any other general meetings, at intervals not exceeding fifteen (15) months. If an annual general meeting is not held, the association and every officer in default will be subjected to a fine.
Read your governing documents and follow them: The first thing that any director or unit owner of a condominium association should do is to read the sale and purchase agreement, the lease or deed of assignment, the bye-laws, the company regulations and any rules and regulations that make up the association’s governing documents. A director and a unit owner’s duty is to comply with and enforce the rules contained in these documents.

Be aware of your community: Some people drive into their garage, walk from their car into their home and never wander beyond their unit. This should not be the case. Know your neighbours and residents. Look at the buildings. Examine the Balance Sheets and Financials. As a director and/or a unit owner, you have both a duty to yourself and the association to have a general awareness of the building(s), the community and the financial condition of your association.

6) I am buying from a developer, what do I look out for in all the documents?
Condo living is more complex than living in your own home. Thus, there are documents that govern how you can use the condo, and what you can and cannot do when you live in a condo. It is imperative that you review the agreements with your lawyer and do proper due diligence before you make a decision to buy a condo.

The main documents that you may encounter if you do purchase a condo are: the Byelaws, sale and purchase agreement, sublease or deed of assignment, regulations of the association, and rules and regulations (also called “House Rules”, “Community Guidelines” etc.)

Byelaws: these contain greater detail about what a unit owner is required to do such as the right to vote, procedure for voting and the value of the unit owner’s vote which is usually tied to the total percentage allocated to the unit owned by the unit owner.

In these byelaws look out for restrictions like the restrictions on pets. Now it is imperative that if a unit owner owns a pet he should come to terms on what happens to his pets when a pet ban has been enacted after he has purchased a home. In some jurisdictions if a pet ban is enacted after owners with pets have purchased a home, those owners will be exempt.

Look out for a provision restricting the renting or leasing on units. This is also called a “rental cap”. Rental caps typically limit the percentage of rented units to between ten (10) and twenty-five (25) percent of all units. This is because owners are concerned that renters may not respect the community rules and take care of the property but this could affect a unit owner who is renting mainly for the cash flow.

Sale and purchase agreement/deed of assignment: these contain details about the payment terms, conditions that have to be fulfilled before full payment, representations and warranties.

The unit owner must ensure in the sale and purchase agreement that the developer is granting him everything he requires to perfect or register his interest in the unit. These things are: the strata plan (a site plan especially designed for condos, approved by the Director of Survey and endorsed with the Lands Commission’s bar code at the back), a copy of a consent letter from the headlessor, a deed of assignment or sublease in which the oath of proof has been administered before the land registrar or a registrar of the High Court.

Without these documents, the unit owner cannot sell or mortgage the units to another.

Unit owners should look out for representations and warranties in the Sale and Purchase Agreement. A representation is an assertion as to a fact, true on the date the representation is made, that is given to induce the purchaser to enter into the contract but which do not become part of the contract. A representation which is false is called a misrepresentation and there are three (3) kinds of misrepresentations: fraudulent, negligent and innocent misrepresentation. Thus a buyer who was induced by a misrepresentation to enter into a contract can rescind it and may be entitled to claim damages if the misrepresentation is fraudulent or negligent, but not if it is innocent.

A warranty is a term of a contract which is not so vital as to effect a discharge of the contract. A breach of a warranty entitles the innocent party to sue for damages. For example as an inducement to a purchaser, the developer could represent and warrant that it has good title to the land, that it has full authority to enter into the agreement, that there is no litigation on the land, and that there are no bankruptcy proceedings against it.

Regulations of the body corporate: for our purposes, the regulations should state the objects of the company, the names of the first directors of the company, their powers, the extent of the member’s liability and how unit owners can become members of the body corporate.

Rules and regulations also called “House Rules”: these are the lowest level in the hierarchy of governing documents. These govern day to day living such as where you can park your car, when to observe quiet hours, what to do if you have a noisy neighbor and what the fines are if an owner does not obey the rules. These are meant to fill holes that are left in the byelaws and often changes overtime as the community changes.

Conclusion
This paper has summed up what you need to know about condominiums. As I stated earlier, buying and living in a condominium is more complicated than in a single family home. You must understand what you are purchasing by reviewing the relevant documents; and whether the lifestyle suits you and your family. Once you do the proper due diligence with the help of your lawyers and your documentation is in order, you will enjoy the condo without much hassle.

Emmanuel Mate-Kole

FG properties abandoned in Lagos amid mounting housing deficit

Amid mounting housing and infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, a number of Federal Government’s abandoned properties have continued to rot away in Lagos several years after the federal capital was moved from Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, to Abuja.

These properties which include the old Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, old National Assembly Complex at Tafawa Balewa Square, Independence Building that housed the Defence Ministry and former Federal Ministry of Commerce, at Tinubu Square have been left un-utilised since the seat of power was moved to Abuja by the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida.

Housing industry professionals and sundry stakeholders are worried that these properties are allowed to rot away in a country with an estimated 17 million housing deficit and in Lagos where housing deficit is both qualitative and quantitative and estimated at 3 million units.

The professionals posit that it would be an advantage to Nigerians if the custodians of these properties, particularly the old federal secretariat, valued at N40 billion a couple of years ago, look inwards and proffer creative ways the buildings could be transformed for commercial or residential purposes.

“These properties can be transformed into mixed use developments or work, live and play facilities. They can also be used as a co-work space, multi-studio apartments. Alternatively, they, the old federal secretariat especially, can be used as retail facility in order to reduce the 2.7 million space deficit across the nation,” Udo Okonjo, Fine and Country West Africa CEO, suggested in an interview.

But officials of Lagos State government confirmed on Thursday that discussions were ongoing with Abuja to have the properties either sold or ceded to Lagos on the grounds of being the original owner of the lands, particularly the Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi.

Backing Lagos’ position is Femi Okunnu, a former federal commissioner of works in the first republic, under whose tenure most of the lands were acquired by the Federal Government.

Also sharing this view is Babatunde Ruwase, president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who has described the abandonment of these properties as ‘economic waste’.

An official of the Lagos Lands Bureau who spoke with BusinessDay on Thursday, said “the state government is very interested in having these properties, especially the federal secretariat in Ikoyi. I can tell you that discussions are ongoing at the highest level between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Abuja,” said the official who craved anonymity.

But there is a challenge here. The old federal secretariat was part of the Federal Government’s properties in Lagos offloaded into the property market between 2003 and 2006 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in the country.

Wale Babalakin’s Resort International Limited which acquired the property had the intention of redeveloping it into residential properties but the redevelopment effort which would have provided homes for a good number of families was stalled by the Lagos State government.

The state government demanded that Resort International must obtain a fresh Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) irrespective of documents issued by the Federal Government on the property. The company was also required to apply for the consent of the Lagos governor on the property; apply for a change of use as well as a development permit from the state government.

The state government’s insistence on having these requirements met and the company’s decision for legal interpretation have left the facility in its present state, even after an Arbitration Tribunal awarded N88 billion against the federal government for the damages the company suffered as a result of the breach of a clause in the Development Lease Agreement (DLA) which they entered into with the Federal Government in 2006, granting them 99 years’ lease to redevelop the secretariat complex into luxury apartments.

But Okunnu insists that apart from the abandoned properties, other un-utilised lands acquired from Lagos by the Federal Government should revert back to the state.

Okunnu who chaired a special committee set up by the Ambode-led administration on Federal Government Assets in Lagos, said the whole of Ikoyi, Banana Island, Osborne Foreshore, Festac Town, Satellite Town, Trade Fair, among others belonged to Lagos State, and title of the lands were vested in the governor of the state, stressing that it was time the federal authorities handed over the titles to these properties to Lagos State.

“Federal Secretariat gives me sadness because I built it when I was the federal commissioner for works. The land upon which the secretariat is situated is part of the Crown land now State land. It is not only the quarters but the land on which many of these buildings in the areas are situated,” said Okunnu.

Similarly, Ruwase, president of LCCI said the abandoned assets could be put into use and made to add value to the nation’s economy.

“The Federal Government should either return the property to the Lagos State which is the original owner of the land or give them out on lease to the private sector.”

He noted that aside the economic waste, many of the buildings served as hideouts for hoodlums, criminals and posed security risk to residents.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government in 2017 handed over the Presidential Lodge, Marina, Lagos, and the Muritala Muhammed International Airport Road, to Lagos State Government, on the request of the state government.

CHUKA UROKO & JOSHUA BASSEY

Experts Laud Review Of National Building Code

Experts in the building and construction industry on Thursday in Lagos lauded the Federal Government’s efforts in reviewing the National Building Code of 2006.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the review was a good development, describing it as a right direction and synergy for effective housing delivery in the country.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had on Tuesday announced a new National Building Code that would regulate construction with the aim of improving on measures to safeguard lives and property.
Babatunde Fashola, the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, made the announcement at the ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, while inaugurating members of the Architect Registration Council of Nigeria.

Fashola said: “Given the number of deaths and the risk associated with wrong plans for buildings and other construction projects, it becomes imperative for government to adopt deliberate measures to check the avoidable loss of lives and property, hence the new code.”

The experts said the NBC, as instituted by professional bodies in the construction industry in 2006, was supposed to be reviewed at five years intervals.

According to them, this is the first time it is being reviewed.
Contributing, Chucks Omeife, said that the Federal Government should propose an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for an enabling law/legislation that would enforce the various provisions of the NBC.
Omeife, the President, Chartered Project Management Institute of Nigeria, said that passage of the bill would guarantee orderly and effective building environment.

He said: “In the real sense, it will expand the scope of the code in terms of professionals’ responsibilities, expanding industry issues relating to materials, science and technology.

“The implementation and enforcement of the Code has been the problem and still remains the problem. It is a scenario of a motion without movement.“This government can make the difference by putting in place an enabling legislation to back up the Code.”

Also, Kenneth Nduka, the President, Nigerian Institute of Building, urged stakeholders in the industry to have positive attitude for the expectations of the building code to be realised.

Nduka said that stakeholders should continue to ensure full implementation of the code for a well-regulated and effective operation in the building and construction industry.

He said: “The review and announcement of the new building code is a good development, but stakeholders still expect more.

“The issue of quackery, non-involvement of professionals, poor workmanship, and use of untested/substandard materials and neglect of safety standards on construction sites that lead to building collapse will be checked.”

In his remarks, Fitzgerald Umah, the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos chapter, said that the code would promote professionalism in the building industry.

Umah noted that activities and operations of the industry were not properly regulated due to lack of laid down rules.

He said that the enforcement of the building code remained the sure way to penalise any erring professional.

The Eagle Online

SGF Wants Foreign Investors To Address Housing, Energy Challenge

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has called on foreign investors willing to do business in Nigeria to help address the 17 million housing deficit and energy distribution in the country.

Mustapha made the call while receiving a consortium of companies from America and South Korea in his office on Thursday in Abuja.

Andrew Uhwe, Director Press Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Uhwe quoted the SGF as saying that, investing in the housing and energy sector was crucial because of the rise in the generation among other things.

According to the SGF, Nigeria is fully committed to infrastructural development that would meet the needs of its citizenry.

He assured the investors and international partners of government’s preparedness in welcoming any individual that has genuine interest to do business in the country as there is an enabling environment that such investment would thrive.

He said: “The government will do everything possible to support you where there are constraints in getting approval and acquiring licence from relevant agencies.

“Agencies like Transmission Company of Nigeria, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing or Environment that would enable you to carry out your projects in energy.

“We want to invite the whole world to come and invest in Nigeria, as a country and government, we are interested in issuance of any licence and we will treat it with dispatch.

He advised them to do a formal letter that will contain details of the projects and earlier, the leader of the delegation Terey Molelawn, Chairman of Ebonyi Independent Power Project, said they were in the office to seek for government’s support in acquiring licence and in getting gas for the power project.

He said that they were bringing the funding and were determined to assist the Nigerian Nation Petroleum Corporation with pipeline that would connect to the grid.

Molelawn said the entire project would cost 10 billion dollars but the first stage would start with three billion dollars.

The Eagle Online

Osinbajo, Obaseki partner to give Edo life-changing projects

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Godwin Obaseki made history yesterday with the inauguration of projects capable of restoring hope in Edo State.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo runs an office with soft spot for small and medium enterprise. The office also cherishes the magic technology hubs are capable of igniting. It was thus not surprising that it has collaborated with the Edo State government in these areas.

Governor Godwin Obaseki, who has ample experience from the boardroom, horned through years of brokering deals as an investment banker, appears to be on a mission to rebrand governance. And in Osinbajo, he has an ally.

The Vice President yesterday launched the South-South Innovation Hub in Benin and met with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). He also was at the Edaiken Market and thereafter performed the groundbreaking of the 1800-unit Emotan Gardens and the Edo Azura Power Plant.

Osinbajo’s collaboration with Edo earlier saw him inaugurating the Edo Chemical and Fertiliser Company Limited, Auchi and doing the groundbreaking of the Benin Industrial Park (BIP).

Some of these projects are in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President. The housing project and the expanded Edo Innovation Cluster, which houses the South-South Innovation Hub, are efforts by the Obaseki administration to reset the local economy for growth and expansion. The Innovation Cluster will train young people on top-of-the-range skills to stimulate a local tech ecosystem. This will empower youths to provide digital solutions to everyday problems.

1,800-unit of housing project

This project is a plus for local manufacturers and low income earners. The Emotan Gardens in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State is remarkable in a lot of ways. It is the first government housing project in Edo State in the last 16 years. The project is being developed through a joint-venture partnership between Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) and MIXTA Africa, a private property development company.

EDPA Executive Chairman Isoken Omo said the Gardens would also be the first of kind, given the scale, offerings and class.

Mrs Omo said the project was well planned to provide affordable homes, adding: “We are building affordable houses from bungalows to high-rise buildings with flexible payment plans. We have looked at the housing needs of the people of the state and know exactly what to do.”

Obaseki promised that the state would provide the land for the project and link local makers of building materials in the state to the project to ensure that costs were minimal.

“We want to use the project to develop the supply chain of inputs that are locally produced in the state. This would grow local businesses. We have insisted that raw materials to be used for constructing the 1,800-unit housing, should be sourced locally from industries in the state. This will assist the industries contribute to the growth of the local economy,” Obaseki said.

MIXTA Africa Managing Director Kola Ashiru-Balogun said the first phase of the project which, which commenced with yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony by the Vice President, would be completed in 12 months.

The different payment plans being considered for the affordable housing project, he said, include a 24-month interest free payment plan, as “MIXTA Africa is discussing with financial institutions to see how arrangements can be made to provide longer tenured financing payment plans.”

The Innovation Cluster of hope

With yesterday inauguration of the hub, Edo has finally caught the tech bug. This collaboration between the Federal and state government will provide youths avenue to develop skills for survival in the digital economy and channel their strength for social good.

The Cluster, which is situated at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), in Benin City has been remodeled to meet the requirements of co-working spaces.

Obaseki said the facility “will host over 25 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies. These companies will use the facility as innovation hub for different forms of training and certification. Those that will benefit from the facility are both the young and old residents in the state as they will get skills and certification.”

Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment Emmanuel Usoh said the facility was a testament of how public facilities could be transformed for effective use.

Usoh said over 25 technology companies would be accommodated in the hub. They include Google Cisco, Miscrosoft and Oracle. He explained that the Hub would up the skill youths, stimulate tech-focused small businesses and curb human trafficking and illegal migration.

Usoh said, “The hub will offer youths who are interested in travelling abroad for jobs, opportunities to acquire up-to-date skills in technology. The training programme will be as intense as obtainable in similar hubs across the world, as we are partnering with global companies in setting up the facility.

“International certifications will be obtainable at the hub. This will offer youths unique opportunities to discover their talents in the use of technology and improve these skills and promote innovation as the world has become a global village, where technology is key in transforming the society for the better.”

A partnership on MSMEs and Start-ups

Edo has witnessed an increasing focus as a hub for economic opportunities given the state government’s posture, which has promoted growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). With the coming of the Innovation clusters, more start-ups will find expression in the state, with the use of the facilities provided at the innovation hub.

At Hub, the state government, has provided the space and other structures for the hub, while the Federal Government is bringing in some experts to operate at the Southsouth hub. However, there is also a strong partnership between the state government and technology companies, which is likely going to make the facility one of the most equipped to accommodate start-ups in the region.

The commissioner said the Edo Innovation Hub would also accommodate a training facility where small business owners would be trained on how to leverage digital solutions to transform their businesses in line with Obaseki’s vision to create more jobs and wealth for the people.

”Individuals and groups who own small businesses in the state and intend to transform their businesses in line with global standards can acquire innovative skills at the hub,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Industry, Trade and investment Dr. Jumoke Oduwole explained that Edo State is part of the vast business corridor in the Southsouth, which explains its choice for the project.

The happenings in Edo have ended the era where Nigerians were exposed to tokenistic solutions to problems. Edo is taking governance beyond a borehole here, a road there, ill-planned agricultural initiatives and many such schemes. It has focused governance on intervention capable of improving livelihoods and do so much.

WALE AJETUNMOBI

Ways to Reduce Construction Cost When Building Your Home

Coming up with an estimate of your total building cost can be a very complex process. It is even worse when you are doing it for the very first time because the slightest between your estimated cost and actual construction cost can cripple the building project.

If a building project fails, it won’t matter if it is a residential property or commercial construction. The role of effective and efficient construction cost management cannot be overemphasized. Below are smart ways to reduce your construction cost when building your house.

Keep Your Design Simple
You don’t need a seer to tell you that customised designs are expensive. If your goal is to reduce your construction cost, it is in your best interest to avoid custom designs.

Let’s break this down – To avoid shooting up your construction cost, you can go for a small floor plan with a rectangular or square layout. This sort of plan will cost you less time and less money to accomplish. You also use fewer materials per unit built-up area and this forces your construction cost down.

If you’re aiming for a minimal cost, consider cutting down on the number of rooms and bathrooms in the house. What this does is that it leaves you with a reduced area, brings your budget for building materials down, thus, reducing your overall construction cost.

Pick Your Location Carefully
Your location is particularly crucial if you want to drive down your construction cost. It is fine to opt for locations that offer affordable land but don’t do this blindly. You will be better off, for instance, if such a location is not just cheap but also has a strong potential to experience development in the future.

No matter how cheap the land is, don’t buy if the level of the plot is lower than the level of the road. The reason for this is that when the level of the plot is lower than the level of the road, you’ll end up spending more money buying materials to fill the land. This drives up your construction cost. Plots of land that are the same level as the road are the best

Use the Same Flooring and Painting Materials
When you buy in bulk, you spend less on construction and this is precisely why you should use the same painting and flooring materials across the entire house. This will also allow you optimise on labour input.

For example, instead of buying 5 different colours of paint, which have varying cost, you can pick two colours and buy them in bulk. Consider going for weather-coat paints for outer parts of the house. This is because it decreases your maintenance cost. The same should apply to your flooring materials.

Consider Precast Technology
If you are handling a huge project, which for instance, entails erecting over 100 bungalows, then you can opt for precast slabs. These slabs are manufactured and transported to the site of the house where they are then assembled.

The precast slabs are used as walls during construction. If you are not handling a big construction project, don’t opt for this.

Building Materials
The closer your site is to the point where you would be getting most of your materials from, the lower you will end up spending. You can’t have a plot of land in Badagry and decide to buy your building materials from Ibadan. The financial implication of such a choice can throw a clog in your wheel of progress.

Studies have shown that sites that are not far from the point of gathering materials can cut your construction cost by 15%. Remember that your building materials don’t have to be expensive and branded. Rely on the advice of trusted experts.

Visit Construction Site
You should not stay away from your construction site during construction. In a situation where you cannot be physically present due to one commitment or the other, delegate this responsibility to someone you really trust.

Paying unexpected and regular visits to your construction site help keep the construction team on its toes. Monitoring the progress level of the construction work is an important aspect of the project.

Stay away from inferior building materials because they don’t last for long. You’ll also end up replacing the materials so frequently, you’re bound to regret using them.

Storage of Building Materials

The way you store your building materials is just as important as where you buy them from. You can carelessly allow your construction cost rise if you don’t pay enough attention to where and how your materials are stored.

Cases of theft and negligence have put potential homeowners in a situation where they spend more than necessary during construction. You want to steer clear of wastage by making provisions for this as well.

Run a Background Check
Before you make a decision on any professional when building your home, be sure to carry out a background check on their track-record and by seeking to speak to clients they have serviced in the past.

In addition to saving you valuable time and money, a background check also ensures you have a good experience during construction. Details like their fees, availability and performance are vital yardsticks you should use in determining who you eventually settle for.

Consider the Option of Modern Architecture
Modern architecture isn’t about lacing your home with sophisticated gadgets and toys. Instead, it is more about owning a home that is functional. To cut cost, you can go the route of building a container home.

Container homes, also known as mobile homes are prefabricated structures. They are built in factories on permanently attached frames. Upon completion, they are transported to your site.

Mobile homes are an emerging trend in modern architecture and are being used as permanent houses, for holiday purposes and for temporary accommodation. In some cases, they are left permanently or semi-permanently in a particular location but can be transported from one place to another.

Mobile homes have both pros and cons that you should know about. Your ability to know what works and what doesn’t. puts you in a better position to make more informed decisions.

Final Thoughts on Construction Cost
The smart way to reduce your construction cost is not necessarily by going for cheaper options wherever and whenever they are available. You need to remember that such choices can always come back to haunt you especially when they are inferior building materials.

Cement blocks are currently cheaper than bricks so, you should bear that in mind as you lay down your construction plans. You should also buy your building materials locally and create a proper system for account and document management.

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