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FG finally hands over State House, Marina to Lagos govt

The Federal Government on Tuesday completed the process of handing over the State House, Marina, to the Lagos State Government.

The process which started about 20 years ago was completed with the signing and exchanging of documents between the state government and the Federal Government in Abuja.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, signed for the state government while the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, signed on behalf of the Federal Government.

Speaking before signing the documents, Ambode described the hand over as a sign of greater things and greater collaboration between the state and the Federal Government.
He disclosed that the state government’s intention is to turn the property to a tourist centre that will help improve the economy of the state.

The governor said, “We are delighted to be here on a historic day that finalizes the intention of President Buhari to bring positive change to Lagos.

“We thank the President that approved that the presidential lodge be released to Lagos State.We have been trying for 20 years.

“I am pleased that on a day like this, it is my predecessor and the current minister that is now doing the final hand over. He has also been part of efforts to get the property back to Lagos. It is by God’s doing that he is positioned today to do the final handover.

“We see this as a sign of greater things and greater collaboration between the Federal Government and the state. It will improve the economy of the state because our intention is to turn that property to a national monument that we will christen a National Heritage Centre for Leadership.

“We will also use it as a tourist centre to attract Nigerian and foreign tourists and use it as a means of improving the economy of the state.”

Fashola, on his part, described the hand over as being consistent with the President’s promise to respond to many things that have been left undone.

He said, “We are here to sign and exchange documents which formally vest the Presidential Lodge in Marina in the Lagos State Government in fulfillment of the commitment and promise yet by President Buhari.

“This is a long journey that has come to an end. It is a journey that has taken almost two decades when the state government continued to ask that this property be vested in it. For reasons difficult to understand, it did not happen.

“But a President of change, a promise keeper, has made it happen. So while the state government has already taken possession as handed over by the Presidency, we are here to formally sign and exchange documents that will give the state government right to the property.

“It is consistent with the President’s promise to respond to many things that have been left undone. Projects like Bodo-Bonny Bridge is now bringing hope and expectation to the people of Bonny.

“The project waited for almost 30years and some works have started now. Same thing is happening with the Mambila Project that saw people of Taraba State waiting for almost 40years.”

Fashola said with the hand over, Lagos State has joined the league of states with stories of promise fulfilled.

Ambode was accompanied to the brief ceremony by the Secretary to the State Government, Tunji Bello; and the Commissioner for Information, Steve Ayorinde, among other government officials.

Bad loans push Shelter Afrique to $2.16m loss

Troubled mortgage lender Shelter Afrique has reported a $2.16 million net loss for the six months ended June, compared to a net profit of $1.65 in the same period a year ago on the back of increased provisions for bad loans.

Shelter Afrique’s loan impairment charges — provisions for credit which may not be recovered in full — jumped 173.63 per cent in the half year period to $5.6 from $2 million in a similar period last year.

The housing financier’s loan book dropped by 6.96 per cent in the six month period to June to $263.4 million from $283.1 million.Net interest income rose 19.12 per cent to $8.12 million from $6.81 million the lender said. The company — owned by 44 African governments and the African Development Bank, said total assets reduced 3.48 per cent to $324.79 million.

Shelter Afrique turned to the 44 Shelter Afrique member states who are its shareholders late last year to steady its finances after a year of turbulence.
It said it had received $45 million from its shareholders.

“The company continues to enjoy strong support from its shareholders who have so far injected up to $45 million of new equity capital into the company,” said managing director Femi Adewole told Kenyan-based BusinessDaily.

Mr Adewole said the agency, which has listed a bond on the Nairobi bourse, asked the global rating agency Moody’s in July to withdraw its Caa1 credit rating as it is not “useful” for it at present.

“The rationale was that the service is more useful to Shelter Afrique when the ongoing turnaround actions to better position the company as the leading provider of affordable housing financing is completed,” he said.

Cameroon and African Reinsurance, an institutional shareholder have made payments totaling $5.8m, with Cameroon contributing $2.3million and Africa Re contributing $3.5million.

Speaking on the developments, Acting Managing Director, Femi Adewole, expressed his pleasure, “Our shareholders continue to show that Shelter Afrique is viable and indeed valuable. These capital subscriptions show that our member countries and shareholders understand how critical affordable housing is to the growth of the continent, and how Shelter Afrique can be instrumental to achieving that and the objectives of the new urban agenda that was passed in Quito last year.”

Shelter Afrique also revealed that other shareholders had made commitments to make their contributions before the end of the year. Namely, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Swaziland and Zambia are all committed to a collective $47.2 before the end of June 2017.It is understood, as well, that the company is actively courting Class C shareholders; a new category of shareholders which was passed by the General Assembly in January. The company is said to have begun promising negotiations with some interested parties.

Shelter Afrique noted that shoring up the financial base of the company is in line with the company’s turnaround plan and follows on from the recommendation of the independent forensic report which was commissioned by the board.

Shelter Afrique expects continual engagement with its shareholders and stakeholders, and as it continues to show the value, it plays in achieving affordable housing in Africa and the New Urban Agenda, the organisation is confident it will be able to report on more commitments by shareholders shortly.Shelter Afrique is expected to hold its 36th Annual General Meeting in Zimbabwe in June 2017.

FG Commences Intervention Program In Housing

The Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri  says that the Federal Government is intervening in the housing sector by establishing housing programs in the 36 states of the Federation.

Mustapha Baba Shehuri disclosed this on Tuesday at the commemoration of the 2017 ‘’ World Habitat Day and World Cities Day’’ by the Ministry with the theme ‘’Housing Policies: Affordable Homes’’ and Innovative Governance, Open Cities’’ respectively.

He noted that the Federal Government was doing its best to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

He highlighted that the commemoration was focused on affordable housing and transforming the nation into a smart city. He added that priority should be giving to making housing affordable as this will enable direction in the desired transformation of the nation to a smart city.

Reiterating the Ministers statement, Nigerian Politician and Former  National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Senator Barnabas Gemade commended the current administration efforts in the housing sector.

Gemade stated that the administration was the first to recommence National Housing Program at its current scale. Referring to the current policy, he admonished the Federal Government to give more attention to the issue of housing.

Analyzing  the interest rates, he advised the need to revisit dormant funds, citing Pension funds as an example. He explained that directing the Pension Funds into Real Estate investment will certainly bring down the real estate financial cost enabling affordable housing.

He added that there was a need for a deliberate attempt to actually develop funding for  low income housing to reduce interest rates drastically.

Gemade disclosed that cities in the country are currently being planned in a tidier manner. Comparing smart cities and slums, he mentioned the presence of effective security in planned cities. He added that slums and Rural areas suffered unimpeded operations by insurgents due to lack of planning and low security.

He further explained that smart cities today are providing opportunities for better surveillance with electronic surveillance.

He noted that E-development has provided effective security with the availability of close circuits and communication gadgets.

– Miraculous Nwaka

Housing: Anambra govt. to fast track project

Prof. Solomon Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the Anambra State Government said the state would deploy resources to fast track the ongoing National Housing Project (NHP).

Chukwulobelu made this known on Thursday in Awka when he received the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri in his office.

The minister was in Anambra on his inspection tour of the NHP sites in the South-East geopolitical zone.

The site consists of a three story block of 24 units, amounting to 72 units for type A being developed by DOCHOB Nigeria Ltd.

According to him, the government will look into the project and provide resources needed, including creation of access road for major impact.

“Anambra state is growing very fast with the influx of both civil servants and public sector’s investors as well as other people.

“A few years ago, rented apartment in Enugu was much more expensive than Awka and today the reverse is the case. The same applies to Onitsha and Enugu.

READ: Tax: FG goes after 500 owners of overseas property

“There has to be a sustained way of housing development, state government has tried to do that in the past but no money. Now that the federal government wants to intervene, we will support it,” he added.

He further said that the state government was into Public Private Partnership (PPP) to tackle housing challenges but it was expensive because of the profit orientation of the private sector.

The SSG urged the contractors to utilise the dry season and the grace of extra months to fast track the construction.

READ: Plateau Youths to submit open grazing prohibition bill to Assembly

He noted that the state government was projecting 10,000 housing units to meet the housing needs of the people.

Ealier, the minister noted that the ministry has come up with some policies to enhance housing development in the country.

He said that the ministry would not hesitate to fund the project.

Commending the Anambra state government for providing land for the housing project, Shehuri congratulated Gov. Willie Obiano on his re-election at the just concluded state election.

“His Victory shows the acceptance of Anambra people.”

READ: The Imperative of having Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

Mr Emeka Ofor, Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development of the state, describe the project as an intervention at the right time which aimed at curbing the housing challenge faced by the citizens.

“This is the first of its type in our state and at the end our people will benefit immensely and be integrated.

The minister also visited the project site located in Isiagu, Awka where all raft foundation beams have been completed despite the challenging terrain.

Source: PM News Nigeria

How construction, real estate can drive growth, by experts

Worried by the decline recorded in their sectors in the last one and half years, stakeholders in the construction and real estate industry have suggested ways out of the woods. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
While the dust raised by the 2017 third quarter data on Nigerian’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is yet to settle, continuous decline in the real estate and construction sectors of the economy has become a source of worry for practitioners in the built environment.

Some of them, especially developers, builders, engineers, city planners and investors alike, who have expressed their concerns, have proffered solutions.
Speaking with New Telegraph, they canvassed for injection of capital; payment of huge debt owned contractors by government; institutions and structures that would ginger emergence of private businesses, attraction of institutional and foreign businesses into the country as guidelines.

The latest NBS report had shown that growth in the construction and real estate service sector had sustained decline in the last one and half years.

According to the report, the real growth rate of the construction sector in the third quarter of 2017 was recorded at -0.46 per cent (year-on-year), higher by 5.67 per cent points from the rate recorded a year previously, but -0.59 per cent points lower than the preceding quarter.

The report also showed that in the real estate service sector, which tracks the sum of fees for services rendered through data retrieved from tax authorities, real GDP growth recorded during third quarter of 2017 was -4.12 per cent, also lower by -0.59 per cent points relative to second quarter of 2017.

Reasons for decline

Analysts have attributed the decline to worsening economic environment due to falling oil output and restricted access to forex.

They noted that real estate and construction sectors did not buck the trend either, having been in free fall since last year, when the Central Bank on Nigeria published a list of 41 items that were invalid for FX.
According to analysts, most of these banned items were real estate/construction sector related, making the ban to exacerbate an already slowing sector, as most of the materials required for construction in Nigeria are typically imported.

“Making things worse, restricted access to forex and increased all around costs have pushed inflation to 11 year highs at 18.33 per cent. Coupled with negative GDP growth and increasing unemployment, a recipe for stagflation has been created,” they said.

Ongoing developments

However, In the institutional/commercial real estate space, the experts noted that multiple developments were preparing to or have broken ground over the past three quarters, especially in Victoria Island and Ikoyi.

“A few of these include the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) headquarters, Centex Residential Development, Greystone Tower, VMP III, DSPDC development and the new Diamond Bank headquarters among others,” they said.

They attributed ongoing construction activities of the buildings to developers and investors’ insistence on ensuring that the rising cost of construction does not stop them from building already conceptualized projects that have secured funding.

They added: “This is because if they do not begin building now, the rising costs could mean that the (not drawn down) funding secured to build, may be unable to complete it.”

Experts’ view

Speaking on the development, First Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, said that one of the solutions to stimulate growth in the sector was to find out what makes construction and real estate thrive globally.

He said: “It has been discovered that growth in middle class population and retail activity are often responsible for demand for quality housing units, as well as infrastructure-enabled industrial parks and development zones like free trade zones (free zones).”
He pointed out that the real estate and construction sectors were being driven by emergence of private businesses and attraction of institutional and foreign businesses into the country, while local established businesses continue to flourish.

“The answer would range between a shaky “yes” and an affirmative “no.” So, you would imagine that a decline is inevitable,” he said.

To engender growth of the sector, Ayinde warned that unless the nation makes the enabling environment possible through a review of policies in these areas, investors would keep shying away “even when the real estate sector is acknowledged to be a good hedge against inflation and that it is a major employment generator.”

Principal Partner, Akin Olawore and Company, Mr. Akin Olawore, stated that injection of capital remained the main issue in construction and real estate sectors to deliver economic activities and growth.

According to him, the market needs financial support in terms of long-term low interest mortgage to stimulate supply and open up the entire construction and real estate sectors value chain.

“Obviously, the real estate market segment that can help drive growth requires heavy capital,” he said.

Olawore stated that enduring structures and institutions were required to drive private sector capital to the market, adding that the multiplier effect of these would grow the economy exponentially.

Commenting on the NBS’s report for third quarter of 2017, Past President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Chucks Omeife, said that though it was very disheartening but it is also very factual in all respect, being the reflection of the sectors’ status since 2016.

He noted that the prevailing economic situation had made investment and new development in the built environment very difficult.

He said: “There is a lot of fear and trepidation as to unpredictable direction of the economy, which has remained comatose and has negatively impacted on Nigerians’ purchasing power.
“It’s only when an economy is buoyant and immediate survival needs have been met that the issue of shelter becomes important to a lot of people.”

However, he pointed out that the situation as presently seen had been very unpredictable as investors wanted a level of certainty in the nation’ s economic direction before investing.

To act as a catalyst for growth in the sector, Omeife stated that the government would need to pay off substantial debt owed to local contractors and also embark on the development of infrastructure projects that are yet to commence.
According to him, payments to local contractors and new projects could pump funds into the sector and assist in high reduction in the level of employment, which is very high at the moment.

“If this is done, some level of activities can be activated and the sector will gradually grow and start to contribute positively to the nation’s economic growth,” he said.

Last line

Construction and real estate sectors are engines of growth in any economy. The Federal Government must deliberately create policies to attract private businesses and institutional investors to the sectors to create jobs and generate economic activities.

Four states adopt NMRC’s draft mortgage foreclosure law

Hopes of realizing the mortgage-backed housing dream brightened recently, following the adoption of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) pioneered draft model mortgage foreclosure law by four states in the country.
The states that have executed the law, memorandum of understanding and technical assistance with the mortgage company are Kogi, Cross River, Kaduna and Delta states.

Details of the agreement is still sketchy, but the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) are calling on all other state governments to adopt this model for provision of affordable and sustainable housing for their citizens.
The law is expected to fast-track the process for creating legal mortgages (including reducing the cost and the processes for obtaining the relevant consents and registration), timely resolution of disputes arising out of mortgage transactions, consumer protection and creating an efficient foreclosure process.

They also advised the Federal Government to recognise the potentials of state housing corporations in mitigating the huge shortfall in Nigerian housing sector. AHCN lamented that its potentials had over the years been cut short as a result of political interference and called on government to take appropriate steps to strengthen and embrace emerging partnership options for effective delivery of decent and affordable mass housing as well as promote effectiveness and profitability of housing agencies.

The association posited that there are inherent opportunities in business synergies and strategic alliances to reduce cost and expand into new markets in housing provision through effective partnership models with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, (FMBN) to enhance wholesale mortgage lending and origination in addressing housing shortfall in Nigeria.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its two-day National Workshop on, “Emerging Partnership Options For Decent And Affordable Mass Housing” held in Imo State, the forum applauded the roles of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company in sustainable housing mortgage system and challenged governments to speed up the development of a legal framework for judicial enforcement of mortgages and foreclosure legislations to boost investors’ confidence and streamline bureaucracies in the Nigeria’s mortgage market.

According to AHCN, the current level of underdevelopment of Nigerian Mortgage sector in driving homeownership is worrisome as more than 90per cent of new homes utilise funds from personal savings for incremental construction of which overall mortgages account for less than one per cent of National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and real estate accounts for just about 8per cent, as opposed to 35per cent and 65per cent respectively in other developing and developed economies of the world.

AHCN therefore resolves to take advantage of the $300 billion World Bank funds for the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme (NHFP) of which only $120 million was drawn by the NMRC to date and calls on all state governments to support their housing agencies to access these funds for provision of housing for their citizens.

To address the issue of non-availability of data base for off-takers on real estate and mortgage information management which constituted major challenge to the development of mortgage system in Nigeria, the Association resolves to kick-start a pilot scheme of Home Ownership Off-takers Affordability Survey Data base from first quarter of 2018 with a creation of a verifiable working database of about 1,000 workers per selected state.

“The initiative is in a partnership with Value Chain Project Consultants, it would pre-qualify AHCN for their actual housing needs and mortgages to acquire same in all the states of the federation. The meeting therefore reiterates its call on the Federal Government through the CBN on the need to provide revolving housing fund and inject a minimum of N500 billion loans as intervention funds into the real estate sector at a single digit to develop the housing sector.

“The workshop commends the recent FMBN review of the off-takers guarantee which makes it acceptable and bankable in favour of housing corporations to enable them access construction loans from commercial banks and calls on all state governments to support their housing corporations to take advantage of this opportunities for mass housing projects”, it stated.

The communiqué signed by AHCN’s President, Muhammed Baba Adamu and the Secretary; Olusola Martins, observed the lackadaisical attitude of governments to the National Housing Fund as opposed to what obtained when the policy was newly introduced and admonished that all outstanding contributions to the NHF should be remitted while the statutory provisions of the National Housing Policy should be strictly enforced and applied as well as the sanctions embedded in the policy.

National Housing Project: FG pledges fund disbursement to hasten completion

Federal Government has pledged quick disbursement of funds to hasten ongoing construction of houses under the National Housing Programme (NHP). The Minister of State 1 for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, made the pledge while briefing Newsmen in Enugu on at the end of his inspection tour of NHP sites in Southeast zone of the country.

Shehuri promised to facilitate payment of contractors once they raised certificate to enable quick completion of the housing projects nationwide.

He said that “regarding the issue of funding, I will personally take the issue up and make sure that funds are made available when due to round up the project.

“I am sure that funds are available and payment will be made when due to complete the projects.

“The programme is in line with the President’s campaign promise to provide infrastructure to Nigerians. Federal Government is doggedly determined to bridging the national housing gap.”

He appealed to state governments to settle NHP land owners to enable them to access the site for successful project.

The minister noted that in all the states he visited in the zone, none of the housing construction reached near completion like that of Enugu.

Earlier, Mrs Tina Ene, the Deputy Director, Department of Public Building and Housing of the ministry, had briefed the minister of the reports at the NHP site of Enugu, located at Ugwuogonike in Enugu East Local Government Area.

Ene said 12 contractors were mobilised at the project site, some of the houses had gone beyond lintel level, while some had been roofed.

She added that “we were given a couple of sites and this is one of the best; we have a lot of schools and estates coming up around here.

“We also have the cooperation of indigenes of this place, as no one ever harassed us, instead, they protect us and our property.”

The deputy director noted that from the inception of the programme, they relied on local materials as directed by the ministry to promote made in Nigeria products.

She said “the doors, water cistern, tiles, windows, marble, kitchen sinks, including the roofing sheets are all locally made.

“There are no locks that are manufactured in Nigeria, they are the only imported products we use, that is the challenge we have and an opportunity to investors because they are not produced in Nigeria.”

Mr Keneth Onyekaba, a representative of the contractors of NHP in Enugu, said the housing construction of 72 units of one, two and three bedroom bungalows started in April 2017.

Onyekaba said that at the beginning of the project, the terrain was difficult, adding that the foundation stage was difficult and took a lot of time and money.

He urged Federal Government to release funds for the project, adding that if funds would be provided, the houses would be completed early 2018.

The NHP is one of the programmes of Federal Government to provide affordable and functional housing units to Nigerians

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