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Estate agent allegedly defrauds accommodation seekers of N490,000 

For allegedly duping two accommodation seekers of N490,000, a 36-year-old estate agent, Appollos Obichi, was on Thursday brought before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court in Lagos. court Obichi, a resident of Surulere area of Lagos, is being tried for obtaining money under false pretences and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Victor Eruada, told the court that the accused committed the offences on Feb. 21 at Mushin, Lagos. He said the accused obtained N490,000 from two accommodation seekers on the pretext of letting out apartments to them.

“He collected N370,000 from Fatimat Ali on the pretext of letting out a mini-flat in Surulere. “Obichi also obtained N120,000 from Aisha Rasheedat for a room self-contained apartment in Western Avenue, Surulere,” the prosecutor alleged.

Eruada said the complainants paid the money into the bank account of the accused after they had inspected the apartments. “The accused took the complainants to the houses, he asked them to pay the money into his bank account which they did. “The complainants went to the houses after payment, but the landlords denied them the houses, saying they do not know the accused. “The complainants’ efforts to retrieve their money or have their accommodation proved unsuccessful. “Obichi was arrested and handed over to the police,” he said.

The offences contravened Sections 287 and 314 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015. Section 314 prescribes 15 years jail term for obtaining money under false pretences. The accused pleaded not guilty.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs M. I. Dan-Oni, granted the accused N100,000 bail with two sureties in like sum. Oni said the sureties should be gainfully employed with an evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government. The case was adjourned until June 28 for mention.

(NAN

 

FMBN And Accessible Housing Fund

When Ahmed Dangiwa, an architect, took over as Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN) a year ago, his main focus was to ensure some of the objectives of the National Housing Fund(NHF) achieved within the shortest possible time. Some of these objectives are: to mobilize funds for the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria; supply loans for building, purchasing and improving residential housing; incentivize capital market investments in property development and provide long-term loans to mortgage institutions for on-lending to contributors to the Fund.

And on the anniversary of his one year in office, the House of Representatives gave him a huge present. The house asked the Federal Government to recapitalize the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to the tune of N500bn. It said this was necessary to make the bank more vibrant and responsive to its functions for effective housing delivery in the country. The bank currently has a capital base of N5billion.

This recommendation followed the work of the house committee on housing investigated the non-compliance with the National Housing Fund Act and the inability of the government to deliver housing to the citizenry.

The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Katsina State, Mr. Ahmed Baba-Kaita, had observed that a major shortcoming was the failure of contributors to the Fund, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks and insurance firms, to perform their duties.

The committee recommended that such contributors should be compelled to provide funds for the NHF as provided in the Act. The committee also recommended that the FMBN be given necessary government support in areas like guarantee, recapitalization and allocations to empower the bank for maximum productivity.

There are several bills before the National Assembly seeking to reposition the FMBN and the mortgage industry in the country, which have been starved of necessary funding over the years. The house committee on housing organized a public hearing last year to get stakeholders’ input into the bills. The public hearing was well attended largely due to the sensitization and mobilization done by the management of FMBN.

During the hearing on a bill for an act to establish the Institute of Mortgage Brokers and lenders of Nigeria (IMBLN) and a bill for an act to repeal the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Cap F16, 2004, stakeholders in the mortgage industry called for the repeal of the existing Act establishing FMBN to give room for its comprehensive re-establishment and strengthening of its board.

They made strident calls for the recapitalisation of the FMBN from the current N5 billion to at least N1 and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund as members of the board.

They also sought for the establishment of the regulation of the sector’s activities to instill professionalism. The stakeholders maintained that the establishment of regulatory institute in the mortgage industry will help to instill professionalism, eliminate fraudsters, remove speculators, provide regulatory framework, entrench sanity and decency, provide training programmes for practitioners in the sector, among others.

On the repeal of existing FMBN Act and the re-enactment of an Act re-establishing and strengthening the management and board of the bank, they stressed that it will embolden the bank to carry out its functions unimpeded.

They specifically called for the recapitalisation of the FMBN from the current N5 billion to at least N1 and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund as members of the board.

These have also been the position of Dangiwa when it comes to taking the mortgage sector to the next level. He was in the vanguard of those calling for the establishment of Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria to provide standards and professionalize the estate business.

Apart from supporting the repeal of the FMBN Act , he also proposed that the share capital of the bank should be increased to N500 billion to improve its liquidity. Lack of liquidity had prevented the bank from performing its role as the apex mortgage bank in the country. Contributors to the NHF have complained of inability to access housing loans, and this is because deductions from the fund are not remitted as and when due by the relevant institutions.

But since coming on board, the Dangiwa led management had made several initiatives to grow the customer base of the bank to improve its liquidity.The objective is to expand its coverage to capture the potential 50 million-market sizes and contribute significantly to the target of creating one million new mortgages on an annual basis, while maintaining the single-digit interest rate.

It is also targeting the market below the lower medium income bracket; increase mortgage sector contribution to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), meet the changing mortgage landscape and remain relevant in the face of other mortgage financing developments in the Nigerian Housing Sector.

It is the hope of the current management of the bank that FMBN would become wholly owned by the Federal Government instead of the current arrangement which makes the CBN and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund shareholders of the bank. It is inexplicable how regulators in an industry could also be owners of an institution they’re supposed to regulate.

When the National Assembly eventually passes the Bill re-establishing FMBN, it will not only enhance its liquidity, but will remove unnecessary interventions from the Ministry of Finance and eliminate incident of having another agency carrying out the function of the FMBN or managing the National Housing Fund. This will no doubt eliminate the administrative bottlenecks that have hindered the efficiency of the fund.

It is a credit to the professionalism and commitment of the management of FMBN that it is able to rally stakeholders towards finding common solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the housing sector. It is almost unbelievable that stakeholders such the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Council of Registered Builders, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Federal Government Staff Housing Board, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, among others, would spearhead a common cause to salvage the housing sector.

.Johnson-Idemeto wrote in from Abuja

Eko Atlantic City targets 2023 finish as Nigeria economy rebounds

A high-end seaside development in Nigeria’s megacity of Lagos could be fully operational in the next five years, as the West African nation’s economy rebounds from its worst contraction in more than two decades, according to the project’s promoter.

Eko Atlantic City is being built on a planned 10-square-kilometer (3.8-square-mile) stretch of land that’s being reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, Ronald Chagoury, chairman of South Energyx Nigeria Ltd., said in an interview in the commercial hub.

When the final project is complete, as many as 250,000 people are expected to live in the development, where a three-bedroom apartment could cost almost $1 million, according to online property listings.

“We still need two years for the sea wall, one year after that for the sand-filling and another year to 18 months for the infrastructure, so say another five years to be fully operational with infrastructure,” with the first half already complete, said 69-year-old Chagoury, whose company is in charge of the basic infrastructure such as roads.

Developers will erect most buildings, and the wider project could take up to 35 years, he said. The sea wall will be 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) long once completed.

Construction slowed after a fall in oil prices in mid-2014 caused the economy of Nigeria, Africa’s top crude producer, to contract.

Today, Eko Atlantic, where so far 6.5 square kilometers have been reclaimed, is traversed by roads and has three completed and occupied buildings — two residential and one for businesses — and work has started on another 13.

“Over the last six months, we’ve seen an improvement in the economy,” the Lebanese-Nigerian businessman said. “We’re seeing the end of the tunnel.”

While economic growth slowed to 1.95 percent in the first three months of the year, Nigeria’s gross domestic product has expanded for four straight quarters.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth will accelerate to 2.1 percent this year from 0.8 percent in 2017, as oil output remains stable and prices rebound, providing more foreign currency for manufacturers to import inputs.

Once completed, Eko Atlantic City, will have high-speed fiber internet, 24-hour power in a country with frequent outages, restaurants and shops along its Eko Boulevard, which is modeled after Paris’ Champs Elysees. It also hopes to attract the corporate headquarters of top companies in Nigeria and West Africa.

Nigerian oil magnate Folorunso Alakija said in a 2015 interview with Bloomberg that she was investing there, and the U.S. consulate told CNN in August 2016 it was considering a property.

The consulate didn’t answer an email or return a call seeking comment, and Chagoury declined to speak about his clients.

He also declined to say how much money had been invested in the project and how many plots had been sold.

Lagos’s high-end property market, which has typically been dominated by politicians, has also suffered from a crackdown on corruption since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected three years ago, said Afrinvest Securities Ltd. Managing Director Ayodeji Ebo.

“People can’t just bring out their money anyhow,” he said by phone from Lagos. “Occupancy rates have been very low.”

While the project won praise by former U.S. President Bill Clinton who visited the site in 2013, the need for more luxury or even upper-middle-class housing has been questioned in a city of 20 million inhabitants who mostly earn a modest income.

In the high-value areas of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Banana Island, vacancy rates run between 20 to 30 percent, according to Jonathan Millard, director at Troloppe Property Services.

“And then there are all these buildings that are currently empty,” he said by phone.

Eko Atlantic’s plan includes one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments starting at a sale price of $200,000, Chagoury said.

“People think it’s for the rich only,” he said. “It’s not for the rich; it’s for the middle class and up.”

With an income per capita of $7,000, according to Lagos-based advisory group Financial Derivatives, the average city resident won’t be able to live there now.

But an estimated 6.5 percent annual growth rate in the urban area’s economy between 2015 and 2030 means the number of households earning $70,000 annually could double to about 120,000 by 2030, according to PwC.

With land and property priced in dollars, Eko Atlantic has missed out on buyers affected by a more-than-halving of the value of the naira against the greenback since mid-2014. So South Energyx is seeking to attract some of the estimated 15 to 18 million Nigerians who live abroad and have access to cheaper loans and foreign-currency earnings.

Less than one in 20 of houses in Nigeria are financed by property loans, according to the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria.

Chagoury and his older brother Gilbert founded the Chagoury Group conglomerate in the 1970’s with a range of interests including flour Mills, water bottling, insurance, furniture manufacturing, telecommunications and hospitality, according to the group’s website.

Now Ronald Chagoury’s primary focus is finishing Eko Atlantic. He remains confident the demand will pick up again, 12 years after the signing of a 78-year concession-agreement with Lagos state to get the project started.

“Lagos’s population is growing to 25 million,” he said. “If 2 percent can afford it, or 5 percent, that will be enough.”

Business Day

Nigeria: Stimulate Economy Through Housing, Capital Projects, Experts Tell Govt

Some operators in the building construction sector have called on the Federal Government to stimulate the economy by embarking on more capital projects.

They said in Lagos on Tuesday that the dividends of democracy had not been felt in the industry because of the slow pace of construction activities across the country.

The experts advised the government at all levels to focus more on development of capital projects as a way of stimulating the economy.

According to them, it is through capital project developments that money can start coming into the country, which will revive the economy from the effects of recession.

Mr Chucks Omeife, a former President, Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), stressed the need for the Federal Government to re-examine the way multinational construction companies are currently being managed.

Omeife said that government should come up with policy that would influence the ownership structure of multinational construction firms in Nigeria.

According to him, the few construction activities in the country are being handled by multinational construction companies.

“Nigeria should benefit from the experience of other countries.

“For instance, the South Korean Government enacted a law known as Engineering Services Law (ESPL), which compels registered engineering firms in South Korea to have at least one South Korean Professional engineer.

“Such law can be enacted in Nigeria. And until the government starts empowering the local contractors and professionals by awarding contracts to them, the Nigeria construction sector may not record significant growth,” Omeife said.

Prof. Timothy Nubi of University of Lagos said that construction sector had the potential to revive and grow the Nigerian economy.

Nubi, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, UNILAG, said that construction activities would provide more job opportunities to large number of people at a time, stressing that efforts should be made toward embarking on more housing and infrastructure projects.

“Though, housing and infrastructure projects are capital-intensive, the government must not wait until the economy becomes very financially buoyant to embark on them.

“Let the government take the bull by the horns by investing in infrastructure/housing projects because when construction works are going on, a lot of people will be gainfully engaged,” he said.

Mr Olayemi Shonubi, Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), suggested that the money recovered from corruption should be ploughed to the economy to stimulate economic activities.

Shonubi said that the government needed to continually invest in the economy, particularly in capital projects.

He said the government must stabilise the exchange market to ensure a sustainable exchange rate, saying “sustainable exchange rates will stimulate investment and economic activities.

“It will also aid the diversification of the economy in terms of boosting the competitiveness of our local products,” Shonubi said.

NAN

 

‘We are complementing FG’s efforts at providing affordable housing’

The federal government’s efforts at providing affordable housing for low income Nigerians will remain a mirage for so long as it does not involve the private sector meaningfully, says Festus Adebayo, a housing expert, who disclosed that all they are doing as a complement government’s efforts.

Affordability of houses, interest rates, access to land, green building and local building materials have become topical issues and constitute major topics for discussion at the annual housing show already slated for July in Abuja with the aim of giving Nigerians access to own houses.

Adebayo, the managing director of International Housing and Construction Show Limited, the organizers of the annual Abuja international Housing Show (AIHS), urged the government to take a cue from India, Singapore and Malaysia on how they were able to address their housing challenges, hoping that government would help to improve ways to get it right providing affordable housing for Nigerians.

The AIHS, already in its 12th edition, has become a platform that has carved for itself international reputation in the course of finding lasting solutions to housing shortage in Nigeria.

“The show has also become a credible platform where people network, promote their businesses and make housing available at affordable rates; It has been doing all these with the support of its partners drawn from World Bank, Africa Union of Housing Finance , UN Habitat and other major housing -professional bodies,“ Adebayo said.

This year’s edition of the show with the theme, ‘Everyone Deserves a Home’, promises to be the largest international real estate festival in Africa. Earlier editions had hosted many Nigerian leaders, including the senate president, speaker, House of Representatives, governors, ministers, etc.

CHUKA UROKO

 

DEMOCRACY DAY: Nigerians report better power supply, less use of generators –Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators.

He says his administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure that the operators of the power distribution business live up to expectations.

The President stated this when he addressed the nation in a broadcast to mark the 19th year of Nigeria’s nascent democracy and the third anniversary of his administration in Abuja on Tuesday.

The president, who noted an impressive improvement in power generation and distribution in the past three years, however, charged the operators in the sector to enhance their services, especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, and metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.

“In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators.

“This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.

“The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017.

“With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government and private investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW,’’ he said.

On the transportation Sector, the President observed that the sector had continued to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security.

According to him, the nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals.

He said these new terminals were due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu.

President Buhari expressed the hope that Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries would significantly open up new flight routes.

He said: “As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit.

“Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos.

“This would save the country an estimated 90million dollars annually.’’

The president added that giant strides had been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.

He stated that the railway sector had also received tremendous attention as government was committed to the goal of linking all state capitals in the federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.

(NAN)

 

Infinity Trust Bank records N222.7 million profit

The Chairman of Infinity Trust Mortgage Trust Bank (ITMB) Plc, Dr. Adeyinka Bibilari, has declared a profit after tax of N222.72million for the financial year ended December 2017.This however, is against the N242.86 million it announced in its 2016 financial year, representing an 8.3 percent decrease.

The financial statement also shows a 16 percent decrease in profit before tax (PBT) from N312.70 in 2016 to N260.92million in 2017.Addressing stakeholders at the company’s 15th annual general meeting in Abuja.

Bibilari in a statement said the tough operating environment, orchestrated by the nation being in recession for most part of the year, impacted greatly on the income of most households which affected purchasing power, savings and investment culminated into a reduction in the PBT and PAT as against the previous year.

The bank also announced that it has approved the cash dividend of 2 kobo per ordinary share against 3 kobo in previous year of 2016 and 7k per preference share to shareholders whose names appear in the books of the registrars by 9th May 2018, translating to an aggregate of N125.4million.

The company’s gross earnings however, grew by 2.5% from N861million in 2016 to N883million in 2017.The firm’s total assets stood at N.8.13billion as at 2017 in contrast to N8.08 billion in the corresponding period of 2016 as a result of continuous growth in the bank’s investments, risk assets, deposits, on lending funds and shareholders’ funds.

Its shareholders’ funds also rose from N5.69 billion in 2016 to N5.75 billion in 2017, representing an increase of 0.9 percent.On his part, the bank Managing Director/Chief executive Officer, Olabanjo Obaleye, said the bank in its 12years of operation, has been able to make 4000 people home owners despite bottlenecks and challenges that arose from some of government policies.

Obalaye said the bank would continue to build on this feat not minding the present economic situation and hostile business environment it is operating under.The Managing Director said the firm is working tirelessly to ensure that its shareholders are treated well and called on the government to map out policies that would ensure easier ownership of land by private individual and investors.

He said: “We have lot of bottlenecks that tie us down but we have been able to hold our head high above water. The Bank has declared dividend for the fourth year running as a listed company and for the 12th consecutive time since 2006.“We want to ensure that we increase our shareholders wealth and again delight our smaller shareholders that are always interested in dividend, no matter how small it is. We are working with government to ensure that these bottlenecks are removed”

Sodiq Omolaoye

Full text of President Buhari’s Democracy Day speech

ADDRESS BY MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 2018 DEMOCRACY DAY CELEBRATION, TUESDAY, 29TH MAY, 2018

My Dear Nigerians!

Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy.

The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.

Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East.

Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.

In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international Organizations.

Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and development.

The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.

This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.

The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore, farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.

The second primary object of this Administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I, therefore, appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.

Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include:

The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.

The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion.

The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll;

The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.

We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.

This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.

The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.

Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017.

Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These have yielded significant prospects for investments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.

Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.

The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:

Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.

The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.

Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.

N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.

In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.

The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government and private investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.

This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, and metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.

The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries will significantly open up new flight routes.

As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated $90m annually.

Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.

The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.

The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three years, Government has approved the establishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.

Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with the disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT.

The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal sustainability at the sub-national governments through the implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal Sustainability Plan. Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.

In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the control of gully erosion in different communities across all geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.

It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The government and people appreciate you all as mothers of our great country.

My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

Finally, the upcoming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch-free elections but also a credible and violence-free process.

In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill

I thank you for your attention.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Guardian

Amended Land Use Charge Law coming, says Lagos Speaker

Expect a Land Use Charge Act (LUAC) with human face, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Mudashiru Obasa has assured Lagosians.

The Speaker, however, foreclosed rolling back the property law as he explained that the law, now undergoing review, was enacted in the overall interest of Lagos residents.

Obasa spoke yesterday on the occasion of the third edition of the House of Assembly’s yearly parley with the media and civil society organisations in the Lateef Jakande Auditorium.

He was fielding questions from stakeholders after presenting the lawmakers’ scorecard in the past three years.

The Speaker said: “The Land Use Charge Act is in the interest of all. We all acknowledge that there is development across the state. Resources are required to sustain infrastructural development in Lagos State. So, we need the law

“But a committee is working on it and very soon, the House will come up with law. I can assure you that whatever the outcome will be in the overall interest of the people.”

On the request of the state to be granted a ‘Special Status’, the speaker said the House will sustain the agitation until it is achieved.

He urged Nigerians to support the state, being the nation’s industrial hub.

Obasa said the House under his watch passed nine bills and 45 resolutions in the past 12 months, explaining that proper representation of the constituents is as important to the lawmakers as law making.

“In the year under review, however, we continued to blaze the trail in formulating laws for the benefit of the good people of Lagos State and in the promotion of a truly inclusive, participatory, open and people-oriented democracy.

Since last year, when we met like this, we have successfully passed a total of nine bills into laws while we have also made 45 resolutions. Some of these laws address issues related to our environment, power and energy sector, transport, as well as education.

“As stated above, resolution, as a powerful legislative instrument, has been used in tackling various issues that directly affect us as Lagosians.

“For instance, the need to preserve our cultural heritage from going into extinction necessitated the resolution of the Lagos State House Assembly to call for a compilation of buildings of architectural value and longstanding history that are relevant for preservation.”

The Nation

 

FG halts power tariff hike execution

  •   NERC hangs MYTO’s major review report

The Federal Government has yielded to pressure from the organised private sector (OPS)’s as it halted the implementation of power tariff hike for one year, New Telegraph has learnt. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), this newspaper understands, has, through Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) review, already concluded works on the tariff hike.

This tariff increase would, however, not be implemented until after the next one year when the general elections must have been concluded, a source at the Ministry of Power, Work and Housing told this newspaper.

Rising under the aegis of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Network of Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria (NECAN), the OPS had earlier registered their displeasure when the Federal Government commenced the major review of MYTO process.

A correspondence exchanged between NERC and DISCOs sighted by this newspaper, showed that the Commission had, however, dump the biannual template used in tariff review for a monthly review as earlier demanded by those who, through $2.525 billion investments, bought over the defunct PHCN on Friday, November 1, 2013. “There will not be announcement and implementation of hike in power tariff until after the next 12 months,” the source said.

“Though works have been concluded by NERC on the review, the commission will have to hang the report because its implementation at the time is considered to be a big issue, which could swing directions of votes during the next polls.” This newspaper had earlier reported plans by Presidency to slam an embargo covertly on the implementation. “Now, that has come home to roost.

There will not be tariff hike until the next one year when elections must have been concluded,” he added. “NERC has, through the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, briefed the president on the completion of the MYTO review.

However, implementation of the order is not likely until after the general elections,” another industry source said. “The Presidency considers this tariff issue to be one of the major elements that could shift peoples’ decisions before and during the polls, hence, the embargo of the implementation is on the card as we speak.”

The NERC was, however, silent on the issues. Its website contains nothing relating to updates on tariff review while two MYTO contacts – Sharfuddeen Mahmoud and Aisha Mahmud, whose e-mail addresses were given on the website did not respond to mail sent to them as at the time of this report.

The Federal Government had, through the agency, on June 7, given a one-month notice for major stakeholders to feed it with their positions on the plan to change the period of tariff review from every five years to monthly or quarterly “in order to reflect current economic realities.”

President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said on the side-lines of a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, that any move to review the tariff would worsen the woes of Nigeria’s economy, which is already suffering from 95 per cent tariff increase in 13 months.

Speaking through Chairman, Economic policy, MAN, Reginald Odiah, Jacobs told this newspaper that his group, which forms the larger chunk of the Maximum Demand Customers, was contacted by NERC and they completely objected to any review of MYTO.

He said: “What we know, which we want them to know, is that our budget is done yearly and any attempt to change the tariff of electricity to monthly or quarterly period, will affect our budget and worsen the harsh economic situation being faced by our members and the generality of Nigerians.”

MAN, which has membership strength of 3,500, he explained, is yet to recover from the last tariff hike and the planned review would chase out more manufacturers and drastically reduce their number in the country.

Stating that cost of power for manufacturing is exorbitant in Nigeria, the MAN boss said that China spends less than 10 per cent of its production cost on electricity, while its members spend 40 per cent of their production on electricity.

The DISCOs, however, disagreed with MAN and NECAN, insisting that the country deserves “cost reflective tariff,” which is not yet in place, to get the power sector working.

He said: “What we know, which we want them to know, is that our budget is done yearly and any attempt to change the tariff of electricity to monthly or quarterly period, will affect our budget and worsen the harsh economic situation being faced by our members and the generality of Nigerians.”

MAN, which has membership strength of 3,500, he explained, is yet to recover from the last tariff hike and the planned review would chase out more manufacturers and drastically reduce their number in the country.

Stating that cost of power for manufacturing is exorbitant in Nigeria, the MAN boss said that China spends less than 10 per cent of its production cost on electricity, while its members spend 40 per cent of their production on electricity. The DISCOs, however, disagreed with MAN and NECAN, insisting that the country deserves “cost reflective tariff,” which is not yet in place, to get the power sector working.

Adeola Yusuf

 

 

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