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FG announces new national building code

The Federal Government yesterday announced a new national building code that will regulate construction with the aim of improving on measures to safeguard lives and property in the country.

Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the announcement at the ministry’s headquaters in Abuja while inaugurating members of the Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON).He noted that the event was apt, as it came on June 12, a date he described as significant in the nation’s democracy.

Fashola said that given the number of deaths and the risk associated with wrong plans for buildings and other construction projects in the country, it had become imperative for government to adopt deliberate measures to check the avoidable loss of life and property, hence the new code.

“We have come up with the new code because government is aware of the fact that most deaths and injuries caused during building collapse are results of unacceptable ways of building. You can find out that in most cases safety measures are not considered in erecting most of the failed structures,” he said.The council, according to the minister, was set up to determine the standard of educational qualification of members and regulate the activities of architects in the building and construction industry.

He urged the new members to consider their appointment as a call to national service.He said the government remained committed to both infrastructural development and renewal.

Fashola reminded the new ARCON members that they were serving at a time the government initiated a national housing programme, which is second in the history of the country after the Shehu Shagari era, hence the need for extra commitment.According to the minister, houses will now be designed in such a way that public safety cannot be compromised.

Msugh Ityokura

Zim to host housing finance workshop

The African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), a member-based association of 61 mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent, will next week conduct a two and half day’s workshop at a local hotel in Harare.

The workshop, running under the theme: “Lending to borrowers with informal income” will be co-hosted by AUHF’s local members CABS and the Zimbabwe Association for Housing Finance (ZAHF).

Other organisations that are part of the two day workshop include Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF), HDFC India, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), as well as the Housing and Development Finance Consultants (HDFC) in Africa.

According to Ambrose Matika, executive secretary with the Zimbabwe Association for Housing Finance, the workshop will have a practical focus, targeted at improving operations and capacities within institutions.

The workshops are intended to enable, members that are involved in the funding of houses, to respond to the challenges and opportunities within the context of their businesses and supporting better engagement between the public and private sectors.
“The targeted audience is personnel in operations of housing finance institutions, commercial banks, and implementation/development departments in the construction sector.

“The programmes will also be made open to housing and housing finance practitioners who are government officials in land, housing, and finance departments.”

AUHF says the main objective of this two and half days’ workshop is to capacitate, equip and finance the participants with concepts, principles and tools for underwriting informal income households, so they can partake in the housing finance market.
The participants will be exposed to case studies and best practises of methodologies used to underwrite and lend to households earning informal incomes in some African countries and India.

The two day event will also go through an overview of Zimbabwe’s economic climate including identifying investment opportunities.

The conference will also sort to understand the makeup of informal income earners and their sources of income as well as explore suitable products for informal income earners.

Property Reporter

NIESV decry use of quacks in estate surveying and valuing

Mr. Rowland Abonta, the National President of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), at the weekend, decried  the penchant of most Nigerians to deal with quacks than dealing with professionals in the sector.

Mr. Rowland Abonta, the National President of NIESV, made the observation while inaugurating the Corporate Affairs Committee for the 2018/2019 year in line with the provision of the institution’s constitution.

He said  quacks are misrepresenting professionals in the industry by doing what they are not trained to do, adding that most building collapse are attributable to patronage of quacks.

“We are determined to occupy our public space and make sure that non-professionals will have no room to be around our professional areas of practice that is part of the assignment of this Committee today”

He charged the institution’s newly constituted Corporate Affairs Committee arm to devote efforts towards dissuading Nigerians from dealing with quacks in the real estate sector.

The issue of poor remuneration for professional services is another great challenge for us. People are reluctant to pay for services when rendered until when they get their hands burnt patronizing quacks before they return back to us. We want to call on Nigerians to always insist on dealing with professionals particularly in the real estate sector.

The 42 member Committee has Monday Ahiwe, the National Publicity Secretary of the institution as Chairman, and Kelechi Agu as Secretary.

According to Abonta, the committee will serve as the image maker of the institution with responsibility of dishing out proper information designed to put the institution in public domain, as well as leading in public enlightenment on what Estate Surveyors and valuers stand for in the country.

NIESV is the highest decision making body for all practicing Estate Surveyors and Valuers across the country.

Abonta, who gave the hint at the institution’s 2018 /2019 Council Year Meeting, held in Abuja, also noted that the best approach to solving the housing gap in the country is for government to regulate housing, adding ‘ government should have minimal participation in housing, and there should be consistency in policy and programme of housing in Nigeria’.

Responding, the Monday Ahiwe, the Chairman assured that shall work hard to improve service delivery.

He urged private developers to always endeavour to identify relevant professionals whenever they want to embark on building construction to reduce incidences of building collapse.

According to him, only the professionals can deliver a proper job because there are regulated and monitored among themselves.

“The best way to get the best service is to engage professionals because they have their integrity to protect” he added.

Chidi Ugwu

 

Family Homes Fund to create 1.5 million jobs

The Family Homes Fund Limited, a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority as founding shareholders, will address the country’s housing deficit and also create about 1.5 million jobs in the process, stakeholders in the initiative have said.

They are of the opinion that combined efforts of government ministries and agencies, and the private sector will address the country’s housing deficit, adding that new partnerships and initiatives supported by the federal and state governments would help provide the over 17 million new homes needed over the next 15 years.

The Fund, according to a statement by its management, is structured as a Real Estate Investment Trust and will be professionally managed to catalyse funds from the private sector, pension funds, insurance funds, multilateral agencies and impact investors.

It added that it would be the largest affordable housing focused fund in sub-Sahara Africa leveraging its significant capital expected to hit N1tn by 2023 to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians on low and medium incomes.

The statement read in part, “Through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and some of the world’s main Development Finance Institutions, the FHF has an ambitious commitment to facilitate the supply of 500,000 homes by 2023.

“The key priority for the Fund is to take advantage of the opportunity a large-scale house building programme offers to create jobs. With a projected cumulative spend of up to N1tn by 2023 in various inputs into the house building process, including doors, windows, tiles, roofing materials, blocks, paving stones and paint, among others. There is opportunity to incubate large numbers of small-scale industries creating significant employment.”

It added that the FHF aimed to also catalyse the creation of new jobs through the investments it would make, alongside investments by other players in the housing sector, with a projected impact on families, especially women, who often carry the biggest burden in poor households, and young people.

The FHF said, “At a national level, this potential effectively harnessed could generate up to 1.5 per cent increase to the GDP by 2023. The FHF’s approach to creating jobs will be driven by policy, partnerships and people. Through the investments we make, the Fund will equip a new generation of young Nigerians with high-level skills in modern methods of construction and technologies.

“Through a combination of these activities, the FHF aims to create or support up to 1,500,000 jobs by 2023, making a real difference in the quality of life of their families and the economy.”

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

 

Quantity surveyors seek speedy passage of safety bill

Towards checking incessant building collapse across the country, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) has called on the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the safety and health bill.

The bill will take care and control all activities in the construction site as it concerns the quality materials use at site as well as personnel.

This according to its President, Obafemi Onashile, would also cover all aspects of safety and quality in building and construction work for the public, private and government.

The NIQS President spoke at the third Quantity Surveyors job fair held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He said, the institute sponsored the bill, stressing that, when it is passed into law, it would mitigate the reoccurring building collapse across the country.

“Building collapse can be checked and controlled if government will enact a law on safety and health in building and construction work,” he said.

“That is the only way building collapse can be checked and controlled. We have put up a proposal on safety and health to the National Assembly on the need to enact law that check incessant building collapse across the country.

“We have packaged the proposal and if the bill is pass into law it will cover all aspect of safety and quality in building and construction work for the public, private and government”

He noted that the job fair was organised to bring together prospective employers and employees together to create a platform for the purpose of employment opportunities.

The NIQS President, added that the job fair in PortHarcourt was the third in the series, noting that it is stress free and cost effective for employers to employ competent and qualified quantity surveyors through the platform

He said that about 200 job seekers and 30 employers attended the job fair.

Earlier, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, represented by his Special Adviser on projects, Alagbo George Kelly, said the State government saved N10billion from various projects through prudent and effective costing.

He said through effective cost analysis projects that would have cost huge sums of money are delivered at less cost.

Ann Godwin

Housing : Our destination in the next decade — Joseph Ogeh

Commissioner for Housing, Delta State, Architect Joseph Ogeh, has revealed the go-getting programmes of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in multiple joint ventures with African Development Bank, ADB, Sovereign Wealth Fund, National Housing Fund, NHF and cement manufacturer, Lafarge Cement Company to turn civil servants in the state into property-owners as well as provide reasonably priced houses for the populace.

Architect Joseph Ogeh Ogeh, who listed the star projects of the government, critically examined the measures and concluded that if the tempo was sustained, the state would have no problem meeting the United Nations standard on shelter in the next 10 years.

The Commissioner, speaking to Saturday Vanguard, asserted: “The civil servants are happy about it because before we started, we had meetings with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, Nigerian Civil Service Union, NCSU, and the Head of Service. It was a flamboyant idea.”

“For some of them, the housing component in their salaries was just N15, 000 or N20, 000, but they pay as much as N40, 000 monthly on rent. The advantage they have is that today this is your house but we are going to be taking N20, 000 from your salary every month. So you have a house and rather than paying N40, 000 for rents, they are taking N20, 000 from your salary,” he said.

Ogeh said the government was using the Delta State Mortgage Bank as a vehicle to achieve the objective, adding: “We now have to partner with the Delta State Mortgage Bank, which in recent times has been repositioned for better performance to really live up to its expectation as a mortgage institution.”

Workers’ inventory

“They have taken inventory of all civil servants and have registered as mortgage up takers. The issue is that if a civil servant is allocated a house through the mortgage, all you have to do is that the housing allowance in your salary will be deducted at source every month, but from day one, you are already a landlord. “It will be deducted gradually within the next 20 years or so. Deductions will continue until you finish paying it but on day one you have packed into your own house,” he said.

According to him, “The entire civil service workforce in the state is about 60,000. Our desire is provide a minimum of 10,000 housing scheme within this period. We are partnering with Shelter Afrique, which is the housing development unit of the African Development Bank with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. You know Nigeria is the highest shareholder of the bank and that is why Nigeria will always nominate who will become the Managing Director. We have had Okonjo Iweala,Obi Ezekwesili, Aruma Oteh and presently Femi Adesina former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria as the Managing Director.”

“The process is ongoing and any moment from now, the ground breaking will commence to build 1,000 housing units in Asaba, including all infrastructures (road network, schools, hospitals, drainages, electricity etc). You know anywhere you have a 1,000 housing scheme, you will be thinking of about 5,000 people. It is going to be a community of its own. It is a pilot scheme. By the time they finish the pilot scheme, they will go to other centres to replicate what they have done in Asaba.

“We also have the one that is being funded by the Sovereign Wealth Fund. It is a 600- housing unit by Issele- Asaba Road, along the Benin Expressway. We also have the one by cement giant, Larfarge through GreenField. They are funding it and they have already started the first 1,000 unit by Illah near Asaba. The total package is going to be 10,000 housing units. They are doing 1,000 in Asaba and will spread the rest in the three senatorial districts. One thing we are trying to do is how these civil servants can access these houses”, he said.

Not exclusive to govt workers

He clarified that the scheme was not meant for civil servants alone, adding: “There are members of the public who have verifiable businesses that are recognized and once they are registered, they are qualified and there are some businessmen who would want to pay in three installments and clear their mortgage within two years.” “When we are talking of civil servants, who will pay in 10 years, there are people who will say how much is the mortgage? Say N10 million, they will say I will deposit N2 million today. So it is an open thing, but housing delivery is not a profit- making thing to government. It is government duty to provide shelter to its citizens. So, in our planning and delivery of houses, we are not thinking of how to make money out of it. The important thing is delivering affordable houses to the people,” he informed.

New secretariat building to house all govt agencies

The Commissioner said government decided to tackle public buildings when it came in because the amount expended on rent of offices is ridiculous. He asserted: “In fact, three quarters of government agencies are on rented apartments .The amount we pay in a month if you calculate that in one year, I do not think any human being will do that even for his own business.”

“So, the first thing this government decided to do was to develop what we call Delta central secretariat building, which will house 28 agencies that are on rented apartment. It is a seven- floor building. Put in a layman’s language, it is the size of two football fields and the width is 60 meters, which is more than half a football field. Once completed in the next 20 months, every agency will relocate to the new secretariat building.

“The advantage is that the state will save the money it has been paying on rents. Delta state is 25 years plus but what the state has paid in just 15 years on rent is more than what it takes to build that secretariat two times. All that money will be saved and two, there is ease of doing government business. Let me give you a typical example, my office as Commissioner for Housing is located at Summit Road, while the Ministry of Lands, which is a related ministry, is at Ibusa Road. Another related ministry in terms of C of Os and all, which is the Ministry of Justice, is at Ibusa Road.

“So when you carry a file looking for the Commissioner for Lands and Survey to confirm the details of land, you have to carry the file to different places and in the process, certain papers could be missing. So ease of doing business will be one of the great advantages of that project. You carry your file and access the next ministry which is on the other floor by taking a lift. Within a couple of minutes, you are done,” he stated.

Commissioner Ogeh hinted: “They have finished sub structure. A lot of companies bided for it but was finally awarded to North China Nigeria Limited-a Chinese company. We hope in the next 20 months, the project will be completed and we would have saved the state a lot of money.”

Next 10 years in Delta

Looking at the housing sector in the state in the next 10 years, he said: “If this tempo is maintained in the next 10 years, we will be able to accommodate a lot of Deltans to meet with the standard demanded by the United Nations in terms of shelter.” His words: “We are collaborating with the National Housing Fund, but the Delta Mortgage Bank is keying into the Sovereign Wealth Fund to deliver houses to Deltans .The National Housing Fund operates with the Sovereign Wealth Fund. As we speak now, if you go to Asaba, they are working. In fact, it is a pilot scheme in Delta, Ogun and Adamawa states.”

“The National Housing Fund actually relates more with state mortgage banks, which is why for you to key into the scheme; the state must have a vibrant mortgage institution. Realizing the importance of mortgage, the state governor immediately restructured the Delta State Mortgage Bank on assumption of office to a vibrant institution.

Star projects

Speaking on star projects by Governor Okowa besides the secretariat building, he said: “The secretariat is one of the major star projects of this government but there are other star projects. For the first time, we are building a Trauma Centre which is first of its kind in the whole of the south- south. There is only one in Ondo state; it is going to be sited along Agbor-Asaba Expressway.”

“It is an emergency medical centre that will be fully equipped. We are also developing the first Teachers Development Centre to train teachers in the state. Today there is lack of self development. I think the type of teachers that taught me in those days is not the same type of teachers we have today. We felt the only way to strengthen the educational sector is to develop the teachers.-a kind of train the trainer programme. That is another star project of this government. There are things that are completely new.

“Asaba is usually flooded during the rainy season but if you go to Asaba now, it is wearing a new look. Major sewage not just gutters are being erected in Asaba. We are starting the Okerenkoko new town project, which began under the former governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan regime. Part of it will serve as residential quarters for the Nigerian Maritme University. You remember the place was completely destroyed. So, there are a lot of star projects we are embarking on that we can show to justify his re-election in 2019,” he stated.

Okowa has done well

The Commissioner, who expressed satisfaction with the performance of his boss, told Saturday Vanguard: “If we are sincere with ourselves, there are states that owe salaries. As we speak, some are up to six or seven months or thereabout. With destruction of oil facilities by the Avengers in the early part of this government, Governor Okowa has proved himself to be a good manger of resources. Delta state has not owed civil servants salaries. He managed the state in a way that we are able to pay salaries and still able to do many things.”

“We came into partnership with a lot of partners. Most of them have been doing well. He has employed lots of strategies to manage the little resources in the state. In Isoko for example where I come from, there are a lot of things I can point to. My people are aware because development is physical. For example, if I want to talk of human capital development, the YAGEP and STEP programmes have helped a lot of people in my area. Not to talk of road infrastructure and many other things he has done. There are many reasons to tell people to allow him go back for a second term. If he can manage the little, he can manage the much, that is what the Bible says. It is also said if you cannot be faithful with little, you cannot be faithful with much.

Emma Amaize

Maintain integrity, fairness, CJN urges ESVARBON’s disciplinary body

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has called on the just inaugurated Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) disciplinary tribunal, to ensure integrity and fairness in the course of performing its duties.

Citing the trust reposed in the tribunal members, Onnoghen made the charge at the inauguration of the 12-man tribunal member, headed by Sir Nweke Umezueruike, with an assessor, who is an appointee of the CJN, Barrister Kenneth Ahia and Ifeanyi Uzonwanne. the Registrar, ESVARBON, as the Secretary.

Other members of the tribunal include President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuer (NIESV), Rowland Abonta, Messrs Peter Ozili, Victor Alonge, Olurotimi Onabanjo and Joachin Onyike, an Associate Professor.

Others include Messrs Elsie Richard, Stephen Mayaki, Sola Fatoki, Omotola Nwazomoh and Prof. G.O. Udo, all estate surveyors.

While inaugurating the tribunal, a notary public, barrister Okafor, who performed the duty on behalf of the CJN, urged members to be above board in discharge of their duties.

According to him, the tribunal is the most important extra-judicial tribunal in the country given the fact that its decisions are appeal-able only to the highest court in the land.

He said with this responsibility placed on them, it shows the trust of the CJN on the member, thereby urging them not to let Onnoghen and the entire public down.

Comparing the ESVARBON’s tribunal to other professional bodies’ tribunal, Okafor said while others’ decision were appeal-able at the Court of Appeal, the one for the estate surveyors could only be appealed at the apex court in the land.

In his reaction, the Tribunal chairman said the tribunal, which is empowered by section 13 of the ESVARBON Act, would no longer wait for all matters to be reported to it.”Therefore, going forward, the tribunal is empowered to take up any matter over which it has cognizance.

“According to the Act that establishes the tribunal, it charges it with the duty of considering and determining any case referred to it by the investigating panel and any other case of which the tribunal has cognizance”,said Umezueruike, who vowed to rid the estate surveying’ fold of bad eggs, promising to discharge its duties without fear of favour.

According to him, while every registered person believes that the Board has the big stick, not many of them have seen the big stick wielded, which may have made people feel the board is toothless or that it has teeth but does not bite.

Sir Umezueruike stressed that the tribunal will start work with an impending case, which the investigative panel has already established a prima facie case.

The tribunal, he said will prove to the Nigerian public that it is serious and will work without fear or favour.

He therefore urged members of the public to come out with any grievances against any registered members.

The chairman added: “While every registered person believes that the board has the big stick, not many have seen the big stick wielded. That may have made people feel that the board is toothless or that it has teeth but cannot bite.

“In the area of enforcement of discipline, it is no longer going to be business as usual. The board may have waited for cases of professional misconduct to be reported to it, without using the powers conferred on it by Section 13 of the Act setting it up. That section charges the tribunal with the duty of considering and determining any case referred to it by the investigating panel and any other case of which the tribunal has cognizance.”

According to him, no group can call itself a profession unless there are rules guiding the practitioners. “Over the years, we have heard complaints of professionals who have not behaved properly. The board has not been able to show to members of the public that proper behaviour is expected of all members. The board will not just enforce discipline, but is also willing to wield the big stick.

“Having noticed that, and willing to guide the Board and the tribunal to start taking on such cases of which it has cognizance, I wish to take this opportunity to encourage members of the public not to continue shying away from making complaints to the Board. People should not just complain if they suffer loss by the action of the registered persons. There is now hope for redress,” he added.

Tunde Alao

 

Lagos Land Bureau introduces new reform to enhance real estate business

The recent reforms put in place by the Lagos State government in the Land Bureau, the department in charge of land administration in the state, have not only improve the needed services, but also continue to enhance ease of doing business, in all ramifications.

Speaking on the efforts by government to simplify ease of doing business, as exemplified in land administration, Mrs.Yetunde Onabule, who is the Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state on Urban Development noted that with the objective of making the processes of doing business easier, the Bureau has commenced the review of its systems and policies to create a”One-Stop-Shop capable of facilitating unhindered an secured access to all factors of production, namely; Land, Capital Labour and Entrepreneurship, chiefly the land”, said Onabule.

According to her, the Bureau had also redesigned the layout of the Land Registry to ensure flow of the processes and transactions which, ultimately reduced turn-around-time (TAT).

“This culminated in the reduction of the number of units within the Land Registry from 11 to three. In line with the law, the requirement for a sworn Affidavit to conduct Title seech at the Registry is no longer required. This is to further make the process faster and less cumbersome.

“Furthermore”, she argued: “as part of our efforts to improve the Easeof doing Business in Lagos State,the Land Bureau, through the Directorate of Land Services, have also harmonished it’s Demand Notice/Assessment Letter to encompass all fees payable for Governor’s Consent”, she said, adding that the demand notice now outlines the harmonised fees to include Consent Fee, Capital Gain Tax, Stamp Duty,Charting Fee,as well as Endorsement as well as Form1c Charge.

The Special Adviser also hinted that in addition to the newly introduced payment regime, automated searches at the Land Registry are conducted within one hour of submission of any such request, which means that applicants are no longer required to conduct search prior to registration of title documents.

“With this newly introduced process, there is significant reduction in the time frame for obtaining the Certified True Copies (CTC), of land title documents to a maximum period of two hours.

“The Bureau remains committed to propel the country’s place of Ease of Doing Business table by up to 50 places. I’m in no doubt that by the time these initiatives are fully implemented, they will revolutionise land administration, not only in Lagos State, but in Nigeria at large,” Onabule said.

Tunde Alao

Housing will be subsidized for low income earners- Gov. Dickson

JUST as Bayelsans have continued to pass through the harrowing experience of the high cost of rent, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has said part of his new year policy programmes would be directed to address the housing deficit and its attendant pain of high cost of rent in the state.

Dickson gave the assurance at the maiden monthly transparency briefing for the New Year held at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Yenagoa.

He reiterated that the Restoration Government would prioritise investment in the housing sector to salvage the burden of high cost of rent and to provide affordable accommodation for low and middle-class income earners in the state.

He said, ‘’100 hectares of land has been acquired and mapped out at Agbura and Ayama communities in Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw local government areas targeted at low and middle-income earners.

According to him, 800 hectares of land has also been earmarked for the new Yenagoa City, across the Epie Creek at the Government Reserved Area, GRA.

The Governor urged Bayelsans to take advantage of the opportunity, assuring that, they would receive their certificate of occupancy within 60 days, as the state government has liberalised the process since inception in 2012.

Presenting the income and expenditure profile of the state for the months of November and December 2017, the Governor said the government recorded a deficit balance of about N1.4 billion in November.

According to him, the state government received a gross inflow of N12.4 billion while total deductions from the federation account stood at N1.6 billion, leaving a balance of N10.8 billion.

Dickson said a total of N8.5 billion was expended on outflows, which include, N3.6 billion for civil servant salaries while that of political appointees gulped N293 million.

He explained that capital and recurrent payments stood at about N5.8 billion.

Also rendering the financial profile for the month of December, the Governor explained that the state received N12.2 billion as gross inflow, while total deductions at source amounted to N1.6billion leaving the state with a balance of about N10.6 billion.

On outflows, he said bank deductions gulped N3.6 billion, salaries of civil servants N3.6 billion, while capital and recurrent expenditure stood at N7.5 billion.

Austin Ebipade

 

 

VP Osinbajo to perform groundbreaking of EDPA, MIXTA Africa’s 1, 800-unit project

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said arrangements are in top gear for the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of the 1, 800-unit housing project being constructed through a joint-venture partnership between the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) and MIXTA Africa, a private real estate developer.

Obaseki said this during a tour of facilities at Time Ceramics Nigeria Limited, located in Utesi, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.

He said, “The Vice President will be visiting the state on June 14, to perform the ground-breaking ceremony, to kick-start construction work for the 1,800-unit project to be developed by the state government in joint partnership with MIXTA Africa.”

He noted that the state government will ensure that MIXTA Africa sources supply of tiles for the housing project from Time Ceramics, noting that the Chinese firm deploys top-of-the-range technology in manufacturing quality tiles.

Obaseki assured the company’s management that the state government will support its growth, adding, “We will assist the company to secure contracts for the supply of tiles for the Federal Government’s housing development projects across the country.” Explaining that foreign investors will only be attracted to the state when local investors are doing well, he said, “Our focus is to be acquainted with what the local investors are doing to see how we can improve their businesses. This will be done by ensuring that the business environment is conducive to guarantee profits on investment.”

Meanwhile, Executive Chairman, EDPA, Isoken Omo, noted that the agency was working with MIXTA Africa to ensure that the project site is ready for the ground-breaking ceremony, adding that the event would mark the first housing project in the state after 16 years.

She said, “We are committed to this project and want to assure the people that we will deliver on our promises. The project is going to be a major pull for residents and those in the Diaspora to invest in bespoke real estate in Benin. We assure that some level of structure would be on ground for the ceremony by the Vice President. This is to show how serious the state government and MIXTA Africa are to deliver on the project.”

Omo added that during the ground-breaking ceremony, balloting would be organised to select the first 30 property owners to benefit from the project, assuring that in a year’s time, about 200 units will be ready.

Head, Sales and Marketing, MIXTA Africa, Korede Lawrence-Salu, said MIXTA Africa, would work round the clock to deliver on the project, assuring on delivery of high quality, valuable housing stock.

Lawrence-Salu noted, “after we sealed the deal to construct the 1,800-unit project, we have been inundated with enquiries from those willing to have a stake. So we are confident about this project. We have recorded high interest, especially among Edo people in the diaspora too.”

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