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Power of Attorney does not confer ownership interest in Real Estate transactions (3)

The wordings of a Power of Attorney are strictly construed as they are. So it is important for a donor to know exactly what powers he wants to confer and what the limits of the powers will be. Usually, before a lawyer drafts a Power of Attorney for his client, he will ask a series of questions of the donor so that at the end of the day what is stated in the Power of Attorney is the true intention of the donor. A Power of Attorney can be revoked expressly, impliedly or by operation of law. An express revocation leaves one without doubt. The revocation is communicated, usually in writing, that the powers have been revoked. The form of an express revocation will depend on how the Power of Attorney was created. If it was created by a deed; then the revocation has to be done by a deed simplicita.

Where the donor gives a Power of Attorney to a donee and then still goes ahead to deal with the subject matter of the Power of Attorney in a way that makes it impossible for the Donee to effect his authority under the Power; an implied revocation would arise from the actions of the donor. The fact of the donor giving a Power of Attorney does not extinguish his right to do the same act or do with his property what he wishes.

For instance, where a land owner gives a Power of Attorney to an agent to sell his land and then goes ahead to sell the land himself, before the agent has done so, it can be implied that the Power of Attorney has been revoked. This is very aptly made In the case of Chime v. Chime:

“… The better view is that so long as the donee has not exercised the power comprised in the Power of Attorney it is clearly open to the donor to exercise the same power. Therefore, where the donee has in fact exercised the power under the Power of Attorney the donor’s power in this regard expires.” Wali, JSC, Chime v. Chime, (Supra. at page 34, paragrah. A.)

It is very important to note that Revocation by operation of law simply means that the law provides certain circumstances that automatically revoke a Power of Attorney. If the donor dies, becomes insane or bankrupt, or suffers any other legal incapacity while the Power of Attorney is still subsisting, then those aforementioned situations will revoke the Power of Attorney. There are however exceptions to this general rule such as where the Power of Attorney is coupled with an interest, it is irrevocable until the interest is exhausted. That means, for instance, if a donor grants the donee power to collect rents from his property to set off a debt owed to the donee, the Power of Attorney is not revoked until the debt sum has been realized by the donee in the circumstance.

Power of Attorney is not given as proof of transfer of land asset to a buyer. When using a Power of Attorney to deal with land matters, there are quite a few rules, and in some instances those rules vary from state to state. In this regard, it is important to know that a Power of Attorney does not confer interest in land. Therefore, on the purchase of land, where the seller grants the buyer a Power of Attorney, as is the practice in so many cases, the buyer must perfect his title to that land in the form prescribed by the law so that his interest in the land is protected. Anything different from this is a wild goose chase!

Abia Governor stresses need for good urban planning

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has harped on the need for good urban planning and responsible implementation of such plans, if city residents intend to enjoy the benefits of metropolitan dwelling.
Ikpeazu, who stated this during a three-day interactive workshop of the United Nations – Habitat tagged “Urban Thinkers Campus” organised by Vicar Hope Foundation in collaboration with some line MDAs, noted that the meeting was most timely because of the way people abuse their environment.
“I believe if you don’t take care of your environment, your environment will kill you. We need to care for our environment for the sake of the future generation,” the governor said.
He said the cities of Aba, Ohafia and Umuahia had no master plan and wondered how previous administrations carried out physical development, and charged the Urban Thinkers Campus to think about how to achieve better, affordable housing in the cities and cleaner, safer environment.
Nkechi Ikpeazu, wife of the governor earlier in her speech, urged participants to evolve ideas and realizable action plans that would help turn around the conditions of the cities and make the cities better, cleaner, safer, functional and more profitable to dwellers and visitors.
She described “The City We need” as beautiful, habitable, and runs the entire gamut from affordable and qualitative housing, to functional sanitation, infrastructure, security and emergency services.”
 The wife of the governor, who is the founder of Vicar Hope Foundation, thanked the UN Habitat, the World Urban Campaign, the International Women Communication Centre and the Huairou Commission for collaborating to host the Urban Thinkers Campus in Abia.
UN-HABITAT programme manager in Nigeria, Kabir Yari, said the essence of the event was to promote sustainable urbanization.
Yari was represented by Steve Onu, a member of the UN Steering Committee on making cities resilient, expressed the hope that the meeting would come out with a road-map on how to tackle the challenges posed by rapid population growth in the urban centres.
In her speech, the Executive Director, International Women Communication Centre, Limota Goroso Giwa, said that the meeting provided an opportunity for the cross-fertilization of ideas on how to achieve the UN objective for the new urban agenda.
Giwa commended the governor’s wife for her passion and commitment toward achieving sustainable urbanization in Abia. She said that her initiative had given Abia visibility on the global map.
Osita Igbe the chairman of the meeting, said Abia State was aspiring to have one of its cities as part of the 74 cities that would enjoy intervention and support from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme – UN Habitat, and buttressed the need for a report that would be in congruence with the desires of the habitants.
The event featured lectures from renowned urban planners Chibuzo Odimuko and Lekwa Ezuta who discussed City resilience, and the role sections of the society could play in realizing The City We Need project.
Among stakeholders that attended the meeting were community development associations, Civil Society Organizations, members of the state legislature, clergy, security administrators, grass-root groups, women, youth, labour Unions, workers in the mass transit sector, Farmers, pensioners, Media, Persons with Disabilities, professionals in the built environment such as town planners, civil engineers and architects, and others including lawyers, doctors.

Retail market records increased interest in Q3 2017

Despite the challenges arising from a hash operating environment, the retail market in Nigeria in the third quarter of this year witnessed increased interest from international retailers, which, in some cases, translated into active negotiations as well as concluded leasing transactions.

Though general activity in the market remained sluggish, enquiries and demand from retailers from the Far and Middle Eastern countries increased significantly. Miniso provides a case in point as one such retailer from the Far East looking to establish a firm presence in the retail market.

A new report by Broll Nigeria reveals that Miniso commenced trading in the third quarter in a number of shops across core locations, taking up close to 4,000m2 of retail space with plans to open additional stores in other secondary markets.

Over the past 12 to 18 months, the macroeconomic challenges that faced the country resulted in reduced demand from European retailers and US. As these retailers adopt a wait and see approach, retailers from China and Turkey have intensified their interest in the Nigerian retail sector.
“From a local perspective, existing retailers continued to remain cautious given their experience in the market. Many continue to reassess their strategies, halting expansion plans into newer schemes, simultaneously consolidating operations in the best performing locations and malls in which they have a presence,” noted Nnenna Alintah, Head, Occupier Services at Broll.

During the quarter, vacancy rates dropped from 58 percent to 30 percent and 41 percent to 38 percent in core and secondary locations respectively, but Alintah pointed that this reduction in vacancy levels came on the back of longer negotiation periods and the willingness of landlords to consider and extend concessionary leasing conditions.
“Already established schemes such as Palms Lekki and Ikeja City Mall continue to benefit from first mover and locational advantages, commanding the highest rents and recording near 100 percent occupation levels”, adding that average asking rentals for spaces between 100 square metres and 200 square metres are currently around US$44 per square metres per month and US$30 square metres per month in core and secondary locations respectively.

Landlords did not find it easy within this period and so, in order to remain competitive, maintain and drive up occupancy levels in malls, most of them across the market have continued to utilise concessions to stay attractive. This has especially been the case in recently opened malls that have increased the supply of retail space across the market.

“Concessions which are typically geared towards reducing retailers’ initial capital outlay are adopted differently by landlords and continue to be extended on a case by case basis.
“They range from lower rents and longer rent-free periods to lower and fixed exchange rates. These tend to offer more certainty around rents, which are usually stated in US dollars but payable in naira. Some landlords have also been willing to consider different rent structures including payment in installments and stepped rentals,” she said.
The outlook for the retail sector is not so promising. The sector has continued to face some challenges despite the recovery recorded in wider macroeconomic indicators. The effects of a fairly stable naira, reduced inflationary pressure and the economy’s emergence from recession are yet to have significant ripple effects on the retail sector.
We expect that developers who are keen to commence new projects will adapt their plans given the realities of oversupply, a shallow tenant pool and slower leasing activity in the market. Mall sizes are likely to be smaller than previously seen, incorporating a wider range of uses in their concepts and designs.
Over the next 3 to 6 months, about 28,000square metres of retail space is anticipated to be supplied across the market. 80 percent of this supply is expected in core location with the delivery of Gateway Mall and the retail element of Central Office Park in Abuja. This will fuel the existing oversupply in the market hence putting further pressure on rentals.

Another look at mortgage sector slow growth

As time ticks towards the end of 2017, individuals and institutions are taking stocks and reflecting on issues, especially those that border on the various sectors of the economy including households, and how they have impacted on lives in the past 12 months.

The mortgage system is a critical component of the financial system which, arguably, forms the nucleus of any economy. This perhaps explains the concerns about its operations and the interventionist measures so far introduced by supervising authorities with the aim of making it grow and develop.

A major feature of the mortgage system in Nigeria is its slow growth. The frequently cited reason for this is low capital base. The primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) recapitalization and consolidation of the past nine years (2008) was aimed to address this problem.

From the statutory N100 million capital base, the PMIs were asked to recapitalize to the tune of N2.5 billion and N5 billion for regional and national operators respectively. This exercise which swept aside many of the operators following mergers, acquisitions and outright transmutation to other financial portfolios, was hailed by many as a sure path to growth.

But with the reduction in the number of operators from over 100 to below 40 at the moment, the narrative has hardly changed. Not even the revised operational guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which stripped them of other business concerns and compelled them to face their core business of providing mortgages and housing finance for home ownership and other forms of property acquisition, has helped matters.

There is, therefore, a missing link which necessitates the need to take another look at the slow growth which this sector has suffered over the years. “The problems of mortgage banks revolve around their small capital base and so there isn’t much they can do. For all the money I have, unless I raise additional capital, I don’t think I can do 1,000 mortgages”, says Ayodele Olowookere, the CEO, Omoluabi Mortgage Bank Plc.

But there is more to the slow growth. “I think mortgage banks need to do self-enlightenment and education to grow the industry”, Olowookere notes, explaining that, over time, there has been wrong perception of the mortgage industry which, he thinks, is understandable because a lot of mortgage banks have also done what is not right like collecting money from people and not giving back.

A lot of people say they will never go near mortgage banks because of some unethical conducts like this. Though Rose Okwechime, CEO, Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc, would attribute some people’s apathy to mortgage banks to the “newness” of the mortgage system, Olowookere insists it is as a result of lack of self-education by the operators.

Undoubtedly, the mortgage banks have their challenges. Part of these challenges comes from allied operators in the financial system. For instance, the deposit banks are seen to be usurping their functions. These deposit banks own everything in the property industry from funding development to providing mortgages.

A mortgage bank like Union Homes was a very strong player in the market and was also focused, but there was a bit of a gap. The 2008 restructuring programme in the sector and the need for all the banks to strip themselves of their non-core businesses, led to specialized mortgage banks standing up, but they lack all it takes to do so.

Elsewhere, the mortgage sector is a huge contributor to economic growth. Here it remains a sad story that the sector’s contribution to GDP is less than 1 percent. At a time like this when the government needs all it can get to grow the economy, the mortgage sector is a strong possibility.

If there is a particular way, therefore, government can call all the mortgage banks together, it will be quite beneficial for the economy. “This is one sector that can grow the economy more than any other sector because if people take mortgages to build houses, the multiplier effect is unimaginable. A lot of jobs will be created for professionals, skilled and unskilled labour, artisans, manufacturers, etc”, Olowookere says.

According to him, government needs to sit down with the mortgage banks and discuss because they are the ones that meet property off-takers and so they understand the market more than the government.

Mortgage operators also understand the market more than the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and that is why the FMBN says anybody who wants to take a mortgage should go through a primary mortgage bank.

Government needs to know that if the mortgage industry is well run and there is a good policy thrust to support its operations, it will diversify the economy with job creation. The focus on other non0oil sectors, especially agriculture is good because Nigerians need to feed themselves, but everybody also needs shelter and this can only be possible if the mortgage sector is made functional.

The operators have been pointing out, since 2005, that there’s need to change the Land Use Act of 1978 to no avail. This is the time for government to give that accelerated action.

There is also need to quicken processes leading to title transfer and building approval. Cost and time of perfecting titles need to change. The FMBN needs to be restructured to meet the demands of today. The national housing fund (NHF) also needs to be restructured for same purpose. There should be special focus on the sector and how they are funded.

UK housebuilders to prefabricate hundreds of homes in factories

One company says it can build house in 20 days in factory, then erect it on site in hours

One of Britain’s major housebuilders is to prefabricate up to a quarter of its homes in a factory, in the latest attempt by the construction industry to tackle the housing shortage.

Berkeley Homes, which builds 4,000 homes a year, is planning to create a facility in Kent next year where builders will work to produce up to 1,000 houses and apartments annually which will then be craned on to sites.

Another company, nHouse, is setting up a factory in Peterborough with the capacity to build 400 homes a year, complete with light fittings, bathrooms, bookshelves and kitchens. Production is expected to start in January.

Fears of a shortage of skilled construction workers caused by an ageing workforce and an exodus due to Brexit are part of the reason for the revival of prefabrication, which last provided a significant number of homes after the second world war.

The government has set a target of building 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade. Despite recent increases in activity, the last annual figure was 190,000.

A Berkeley spokesman said: “We have acquired a 10-acre brownfield site from the Homes and Communities Agency to build a factory for modular homes in Ebbsfleet, Kent. This will have the potential to deliver up to 1,000 homes a year.

“Construction of the factory could begin next year. While the speed of production and the impact on skills and labour are important factors, our real driver is the quality we can achieve with modular housing.”

The nHouse has been designed by the architect Richard Hywel Evans and is made in four modules from engineered pine panels which are transported on the backs of lorries and are then clipped together on site and connected to pre-existing services. Its built-in features include solar panels, a robot vacuum cleaner and even a drone landing pad – looking forward to a time of aerial deliveries.

A three-bed house is on sale to developers or individual householders from £170,000 to £185,000, which is about the same price as a standard house built using wet trades.

Nick Fulford, the director of nHouse, argues that with 100 workers operating on an indoor production line rather than on muddy building sites in the elements, the homes will suffer from fewer snagging problems.

Project loans check rural-urban migration in Lagos –Ambode

All the capital projects executed with borrowings by the Lagos government have so far helped to check rural-urban migration in the state, its Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said.

According to the governor, who disclosed this during the just-concluded  9th annual Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos,  the current massive infrastructural renewal in every part of the state is a strategy  to create employment at the bottom of the pyramid  and keep the youth from migrating to the urban centres.

He added that by so doing, he has been able to accelerate growth and helped the economy reflate itself.

His words: “Everything that I am doing, even when I take a loan from a bank, even when I do bond, I only try to defend the economy. Each construction site that you see in Lagos, I am trying to create employment at the lower level so that the artisans, the bricklayers, can go home with N5000.I don’t need to do something in Badagry , but I need to employ people there so that they stay in Badagry and they do not need to come to central Lagos.”

The governor was disappointed by the brickwall met while processing bank facilities to execute the projects, saying that such obstacles were capable of stifling  growth and commerce.

Hear him: “I, as a state government, I want to take a commercial loan from a bank.They tell me, I should go and get a letter from DMO; I should go and get approval from the Federal Ministry of Finance; I should go the CBN.Who does that?  And you want to accelerate growth? When you take the extra money outside the IGR, you are only trying to help the economy to reflate itself. And that is why you are able to excite yourself with the growth that you have seen in the third quarter that you say was 1.5 per cent.

That is not the number that we want. So sometimes, government seems to shoot itself in the leg. Why should Lagos State go and be meeting DMO: I want to take a commercial loan when 80 per cent of my IGR can pay the loan itself back. So you see that there is some sense of homogenuity in  the policies that we make, but sometimes they are not really flexible. And you end up,  you come back and say you want to create jobs. But the things that create jobs are the things that we are actually working against. And you create unnecessay competition in the system.”

Recall that the state recently paid N141.59 billion to bond holders in its various fixed rate bond programmes  it  undertook to support its developmental agenda. The bonds included the Lagos State N80 billion fixed rate programme two, series one  floated in 2012 with a maturity date of 2013; N87.5 billion fixed rate programme two, series two floated in 2013 with a maturity date of 2020 and N47 billion fixed rate programme three, series two floated in 2016 with a maturity date of 2023.

Addressing participants at the AGM, the Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade, noted that the various bonds had been used to upscale infrastructural development in the state in the areas of roads and bridges construction, water, transportation, health and waterfront infrastructural development.

According to him, $50 billion was needed to address infrastructural deficits in the state, which he said, was part of the reasons the government floated bonds to bridge the gap, adding that over time, two bridges had been constructed with the proceeds from the bonds while major infrastructure were upgraded across the metropolis.

Real Estate: Bright Future 

The real estate and construction sector of the economy has all it takes to contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in this fiscal year. But this is only if certain conditions are met. Experts are convinced that with the right indices in place to spur the contributions from the private sector, despite the Federal Government’s paltry N555.88 billion 2018 budget for Power, Works and Housing ministry, good times may be here for the industry, MUYIWA LUCAS reports. 

By virtue of her sheer population of 170 million, Nigeria presents very viable market opportunities for goods and services, making it an investor’s haven. Such opportunities also present themselves in the real estate and construction sector of the economy.

The sector, believed to hold huge potential in job creation and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was undermined in the last two fiscal years (2016 and 2017) by some economic factors, such as the uncertainty suffered by the currency; falling production and double digit inflation that saw the country fall into negative growth. These doused heavily investors’confidence in the real estate sector, nay, the economy.

But with the country out of recession, the negative economic indices may be giving way to a brighter prospects. Experts are convinced that as the economy improves in 2018, the picture for real estate, both for occupational and capital markets, will start to improve as well.

One of such experts who holds this opinion is Mr. Thomas Mundy, Head of Advisory for Sub-Saharan Africa, Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), an American professional services and investment management company expert in real estate.

Mundy, at the West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) summit held in Lagos, last November, disclosed that though there would be the usual lag between economic and market recovery, but for real estate, which has suffered from a sharp supply demand imbalance, widening vacancy rates and falling rents, 2018 will be a year of consolidation and recovery for the sector.

His views are underpinned by more quantifiable progress in some areas across the economy. “First, importantly for real estate investors, the market is starting to gain more confidence in the economy backed by an improving external environment.The government policy-making is gaining some credibility through plans to support diversification and fiscal consolidation with the backing of external bodies. Also, we are starting to see evidence that the decline in rental rates in Lagos is reaching the bottom of the cycle,” he explained.

Mundy revealed that these factors have been further complemented by the legislative framework being put in place for real estate pricing to mitigate the impact of a volatile economy, including an improvement in the structural undersupply of investment in real estate stock, which he noted will provide increasing opportunities, for both local and international investors in the economy this year.

Government initiatives

Although the Federal Government set up several agencies to tackle the housing needs of Nigerians, especially the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), it is disappointing that over the last two years, the FHA has not added a block to the housing stock. Highlighting the docility of these agencies, Costec Consultants Managing Partner, Mr. John Agele Alufohai, revealed that Nigeria’s mortgage system, cannot support a housing policy that will deliver affordable houses to Nigerians because of high mortgage rates, which are usually given at short tenures; a difficult business environment, high inflation, and unstable policies.

However, the initiatives of the other agencies like the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) may pay off this year. The NMRC has entered into several partnerships with housing focused bodies and organisations. For instance, last November, the Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lagos state government and a consortium of developers to buildand deliver 20,000 housing units in Lagos. The MoU, signed by the parties, is in line with the Lagos Affordable Public Housing (L.A.P.H.) initiative of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration, geared towards building 20,000 housing units through a joint venture initiative (JVI). It is hoped that the dividends from this partnership will trigger the real estate market into higher gear this year.

On the part of the Federal Government, its efforts might also begin to have effect in the housing market. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, last year, disclosed that the government was working on avoiding mistakes of previous housing projects that saw the houses abandoned. He explained that some houses constructed by some past administrations were not occupied because they did not take into cognisance the issues of culture of the people, climate and location of projects.

“At this moment we are constructing houses in 33 states, when we finish then we would subject that design to affordability test. When we find its works then we will subject it to acceptability test,” he said. This, on completion, these stock will also ginger the sector.

Hot properties

According to the Head, Property Management, SFS Capital Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, Mr. Bolarinwa Odeyingbo, this year would be better for the sector, especially as the recession is easing out gradually. He explained that some properties would set the tone for the market this year. This will be mainly in retail sector that is, malls, including the mass medium income category on the Mainland part of Lagos State, which drove the market. He observed that areas, such as Yaba and its environs, Surulere, Maryland, Magodo Phase 2 (Shangisha/Ketu Ikosi axis), Gbagada, and some other central areas on the Lagos mainland, will experience a boost. In Abuja, Phase 3, comprising Galadimawa, Kabusa, Lokogoma down to Apo resettlement will experienced a boost. For instance, he explained that the success of the $68 million Novare Gateway Mall in Abuja last year presents an indication of what is to expect this year.

Private sector initiatives

Private sector investment will also influence the industry this year. Some of these projects are expected to get to an advanced stage, bringing in more money into the business, and they include:

Imperial International Business City

The Imperial International Business City (IIBC), is a $300 million, 200-hectare housing project, promoted by the Elegushi Royal Family (ERF) of Lagos and ChannelDrill Resources Limited, a real estate development firm. The development, which started last August, will further stimulate the property market this year with its huge investment opportunities. The IIBC, is being built on the Lagos lagoon, and will run from Freedom road to Kunsenla Road, to Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Road, through Lekki Phase 1. The IIBC is being designed as a smart business city.

RMB Waterport

Developed by RMB Westport, The Wings development of close to 27,000m² GLA is situated in one of the most exclusive addresses right in the heart of the CBD on Victoria Island and is anchored by Oando Plc.

The development comprises two towers allowing for about 27,000m² of lettable area. The building is a game changer in the way developers are fusing sophistication, design, and functionality in office development with high quality finishes, 360-degree views and energy efficient features.

Royal Gardens Mall

Developed by RMB Westport, the Royal Gardens Mall will offer just a little below 30,000m² of quality retail space. The mall is strategically located next to the entrance for the Royal Gardens Estate where approximately 126, 000 vehicles ply daily. The mall will also be competing with Novare Lekki Mall owned by Novare Equity Partners.

Eko Atlantic

Eko Atlantic is a brand-new city that is being developed on reclaimed land adjacent to Victoria Island. The city has created 10 million m² of prime real-estate on which office andresidential developments are breaking ground. The Business District alone will have 650,000m² of GLA to offer the market.

On completion, Eko Atlantic will be home to 500,000 residents with an expected commuter volume of 300,000 people. Eko Pearl Towers is the first completed residential building of a five-tower proposed development in the cities Marina district. The development comes in addition to the completion of the major road infrastructure.

Lekki City, Lagos

Rendeavour’s Lekki project development site is located on 1,000 ha within the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the largest free trade zone in West Africa. The site is adjacent to the approved location for the proposed Lekki International Airport and in close proximity to the deep sea port and a number of planned industrial developments. The project is at planning stage, and is a joint venture with the Lagos State Government.

Landmark Village

Landmark Village is a mixed-use development by Landmark Africa, a real estate and property development company in Nigeria. The 38,000m² development in Victoria Island will embody the “live, work, play” concept that is central to Landmark Africa’s developments. It is aimed to mirror nodes like Melrose Arch, Rosebank and Illovo in Johannesburg and developments like Canary Wharf in London. The development will have two office towers offering grade A accommodation, residential apartments, retail outlets, a 250 room four star hotel and a convention centre. The development will offer other amenities like leisure and recreational facilities.

By and large, this year looks very promising for the real estate industry.

Repeal FMBN Act now, stakeholders urge govt

 For not performing the roles for which it was established, stakeholders in the built environment have called on the Federal Government to repeal the Act of Parliament that gave impetus to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).

The FMBN Act was established to aid in bridging the housing deficits in the country through mortgage financing, which the stakeholders believe is far from being the roles. They, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to repeal the Act to give room for its comprehensive re-establishment and board strengthening.

The stakeholders also sought for the establishment of Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders of Nigeria (IMBLN) for the regulation of the sector’s activities to instill efficiency and professionalism. The call was made at House of Representatives Committee on Housing public hearing on a bill for an act to establish the IMBLN and a bill for an act to repeal the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act, Cap F16, 2004 to make comprehensive provisions for the re-establishment of the FMBN and its board of directors.

The establishment of regulatory institute in the mortgage industry, the stakeholders stressed, will help to instill professionalism, eliminate fraud, remove speculators, provide regulatory framework, entrench sanity and decency, and provide training programmes for practitioners in the sector, among others.

The stakeholders emphasised that the repeal of existing FMBN Act and the re-enactment of an Act re-establishing and strengthening the management and board of the bank 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 billion and the inclusion of the critical stakeholders who are contributing to the National Housing Fund (NHF)as members of the board.

Speaking on the role of mortgage, the Managing Director of FMBN, Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, said the establishment of IMBLN will provide standards and make estate business a career. He, however, said that aside FMBN’s support to the repeal of the present Act establishing it, the share capital of the bank should be increased to N500 billion to improve its liquidity.

According to him, the bank should be wholly owned by the Federal Government, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) should not be shareholders of the bank as they cannot be playing the role of regulator and owner at the same time. 

“To be able to play its role of providing affordable housing finance at single digit interest to Nigerians, particularly the low and the middle income earners in Nigeria, FMBN should remain as a government corporation and should continue to manage the NHF,” he said.

Also, the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mohammed Al-Amin, while supporting the establishment of a regulatory institute for the mortgage sector, said the bill re-establishing FMBN should enhance its liquidity, remove unnecessary interventions from the Ministry of Finance, eliminate incident of having another agency carrying out the function of FMBN or assigned to manage the NHF because it will create administrative bottlenecks.

Other stakeholders who also made presentations in support of establishing a regulatory institute in the mortgage sector and strengthening FMBN include the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Council of Registered Builders, Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Federal Government Staff Housing Board, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria, among others.

Government must support private efforts in property industry –Fraser Suites Director

The Executive Director, Royal Pacific Group, promoters of Fraser Suites, Abuja, Mr. MG Nasreddin, has stressed the need for government to increase investment in property industry or better still support private investment with enabling environment. 

He believes that such opportunity will also encourage local and international private investments, thus creating wealth down the value chain, boosting the economy and complementing the effort of government in the provision of quality and affordable housing for Nigerians. 

The marketing and communications advisor of the company, Haroun Harry Audu, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, said the company has been on the forefront of global hospitality and property business with an appreciable presence in Europe, Middle-East, Africa, North Asia, Southeast-Asia and Australia.

He reaffirmed that the company was committed and determined to create a platform for easy exchange of knowledge and skills between its foreign and local partners, which will be relevant for better and profitable operating system. 

He further announced that its newly built five-star Fraser Suites in Abuja will be officially commissioned in the first quarter of 2018, even as it recently won two awards in Switzerland for Nigeria’s hospitality industry.

The first award, according to him, was the “2017 Luxury Hotel Award for Nigeria”, which was in recognition of its sustained commitment to excellence in hotel business and outstanding achievement in the international luxury hospitality industry.

The second award was “Global Winner for Luxury Business Serviced Apartments.” The award plaque and certificate of excellence were received by the Executive Director, Royal Pacific Group, promoters of Fraser Suites, Abuja, Mr. MG Nasreddin.

The man behind Dubai’s affordable Housing boom

onstruction and real estate billionaire,  Rizwan Sajan details his journey to the top and where he plans to take Danube Group next (Culled from Gulf Business)

QUESTION: Your story is often described as being ‘from rags to riches’, having started over in Dubai with nothing. Did you ever imagine you would be where you are today?

ANSWER: I moved to Dubai post the Gulf War, in an attempt to reinvent myself and regain all that I had lost in Kuwait. At that moment, investing the money I had wisely, setting up a business and making it profitable was the priority. I was quite sure I would succeed because of my business acumen, the products I was selling and the market conditions, but I definitely did not expect to reach such heights. God has been very kind to me, bringing the right opportunities at the right time that have resulted in all that I have achieved to date.

QUESTION: You have been one of the leading players in the trend of affordable housing in Dubai, are the days of luxury properties numbered?

ANSWER: At present, more developers are leaning towards affordable housing because it offers good returns and there are a large number of buyers in the market that are looking to buy affordable homes. Being the pioneers in affordable housing, we have seen overwhelming demand, which has led us to believe that the demand for affordable homes will continue to increase in the future. The luxury segment definitely does have its own market since Dubai is being inhabited by so many nationalities, but I am sure affordable housing is the future.

QUESTION: Much of Danube’s recent property marketing has focussed on Bollywood stars, has this produced the results you expected and are there plans to change the strategy?

ANSWER: In the gamut of advertising it is quite difficult to measure results, but having a familiar face such as a celebrity does help to build a connect with the audience and in turn draw eyeballs to our campaigns.

QUESTION: In May last year Danube announced plans to launch three to four housing projects annually, do you plan to stick to this goal and could you exceed it?

ANSWER: We try not to be over ambitious when we launch our projects and ensure that we sell one project before we launch another. Moreover, we don’t have a land bank, and have to constantly source new pieces of land to build on. At present, looking at the interest we have garnered through our nine projects, we will continue to stick to our current goal of launching three to four projects a year.

QUESTION: Given the recent downturn in the market, do you believe Dubai continues to be an attractive location for real estate investors?

ANSWER: Dubai has established itself as the centre of the world and connects the west with the east. The recent downturn might have affected the market sentiment but I believe this a temporary phase and every market needs to undergo a correction. In my opinion, Dubai still offers the greatest growth opportunity for many investors and will definitely offer good value in investing in real estate at the lowest price amongst other developed nations.

QUESTION: How have current market conditions affected your development plans and have you been forced to hold back any projects?

ANSWER: Since the inception of Danube Properties in 2014, we have received very good responses and have sold out eight projects and have currently sold 50 per cent of our latest project, Bayz. All our projects are under construction and are progressing ahead of schedule. By the end of this year, we plan on handing over four projects, which are Dreamz, Glitz 1, Glitz 2 and Glitz 3. Dreamz is on the verge of completion and we will commence handovers by next month [July].

QUESTION: Do you have any intention to develop properties outside of Dubai in the wider UAE and Gulf region?

ANSWER: At present, we do not have plans to develop properties outside of Dubai but we are definitely evaluating options to expand our presence.

QUESTION: What are your expectations for this year in terms of your company’s and the wider real estate market’s performance?

ANSWER: The outlook for the rest of the year is looking good and we are expecting to perform reasonably well. Since the last quarter of 2016 business has picked up, especially in the real estate sector. As part of the company’s operations in 2017, we launched two properties valued at Dhs750m ($204m), opened a new Danube Home Store in Oman and a 10,000 square foot business to business facility in Ajman. We intend on launching two more projects this year and the handover of our first four projects.

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