Investors have $4.5bn green building opportunity to latch on—IFC

Investors and property developers in Nigeria have, at least, $4.5 billion investment opportunity to latch on within the next seven years to 2025, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has projected.

This is the largest opportunity the corporation sees in Sub-Saharan Africa apart from South Africa, and assures it is here in Nigeria to help investors with technical and even financing solutions.

Building green is the ‘new normal’ in the building industry at the moment because of its numerous advantages and benefits. Green buildings are smart buildings that guarantee about 35 percent lower carbon emissions and decrease in water use by 30 to 50 percent.

Green buildings become all the more desirable considering that global water consumption has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and, in developing countries, this will increase by another 50 percent by 2025.

“By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could live under water stress conditions”, according to IFC

Green buildings are also 50 to 90 percent cost saving in waste generation; they are more comfortable, healthier, return higher productivity rates and have a higher resale value.

“Building green leads to reduction of operating and energy costs (lower utility bills), higher valued real estate and profits (greater return on investment), improvement of employee productivity (reducing sick building syndrome), extended life of buildings, optimization of life-cycle economic performance and less vulnerability to fluctuating energy prices”, explains Chii Akporji, executive director at Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).

But IFC says there is bad news which is that there are few green buildings in this country. This means that investors have a large green field to play on. So far in Nigeria today, there are only two or three known and certified green buildings—The Heritage Place, The Wings Towers and Nestoil Towers.

The corporation insists building green is impossibility, but something that is doable. “Green and affordable are not tradeoffs; both are possible and we have a large body of experience to show that”, said Eme Essien Lore, IFC’s Country Manager, who spoke at workshop on green building in Lagos.

“We do not need to do anything drastic; buildings are being built as we speak and financing is being arranged for the next generation of buildings. What we need is a way to put buildings onto a greener path with solutions that are sensible to the Nigerian context”, Lore added.

IFC in collaboration with NMRC launched an EDGE programme in Lagos recently. EDGE which stands for Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies is part of IFC’s creating markets strategy.

According to Lore, EDGE is part of a holistic intervention to steer construction in rapidly urbanizing economies onto a more low-carbon path. It’s an example of IFC’s commitment to creating markets that are competitive, sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

The corporation has a long history of investing in green buildings and its global investment portfolio is over $3 billion, out of which $386 million was invested in Sub-Saharan Africa through its own account and syndicated loans.

“We have expanded that reach through the EDGE programme, which now celebrates more than two million square metres of certified space globally,”Lore disclosed, explaining that EDGE is an online platform, a green building standard and a certification system for nearly 140 countries, tailored for emerging markets, and taking into account local context such as Nigeria.



Why govts should review property taxes, levies

While it is true that house prices are so high because demand and supply forces, inflation caused by the hundreds of billions of funds that banks released into circulation in the years before the financial crisis remains a real problem. Property prices rise much faster than wages, making them become less and less affordable. Anyone who didn’t already own a house before the bubble started growing ends up giving up more and more of their salary simply to pay for a place to live. And it’s not just house buyers who are affected; pretty soon, rents will go up too, including spaces in social housing subsector.

This increase in prices often leads to massive increase in the amount of money that first time buyers spend on mortgage repayments. For example, in USA, while in 1996 the amount of take home salary that a first time buyer would spend on their mortgage was 17.5 per cent, by 2008 this had risen to 49.3 per cent. In London, the figures are even more shocking, rising from 22.2 per cent of take home pay spent on their mortgage in 1997 to 66.6 per cent in 2008.

One of the continuing challenges posed by unprecedented urbanisation in developing countries is the provision of adequate housing. Over the last three decades, Nigeria, like several developing countries, has emphasised public housing schemes, but with little success. This coincides with global paradigm shift from direct public provision of housing to the enablement of private shelter initiatives and housing production. Private housing development features and dynamics and the factors affecting the sector in the country ought to be governments’ focus if the mouthing policies of providing shelter for citizens is anything to go by. This makes it an urgent need for the creation of an enabling environment, including support of housing initiatives and investments by householders, small-scale providers, and entrepreneurial private firms.

The implications of enabling strategy for housing finance, access to land, residential infrastructure, institutional regulations and building materials and related industry, particularly in the light of the need for the private sector to play greater roles in housing, should not be neglected. It draws from aspects of empirical study by various authorities and professionals who review government housing policy-related issues.

In Nigeria, for instance, former Managing Director of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRF), Prof. Charles Inyangete, disclosed that to forestall a housing crisis in the country in the next couple of years, Nigeria would require N3.65 trillion to increase housing stock by 730,000 units annually.

Speaking at a facility management forum in Abuja to mark the World Facility Management Day, Inyangete said the country currently has a housing deficit of 21 million units, just to be on the safe side, adding that going by the current growth rate in Nigeria, there would be a significant housing deficit in the coming years, unless efforts are geared towards addressing the gap.

Asset price bubbles and the speculative behaviour associated with them tend to cause financial crises, which lead to slower growth, higher unemployment and higher government debt. High house prices also act as a mechanism for transferring wealth from the young to the old, from the poor to the rich, and from those that don’t own their own homes to those that do. Even those with housing don’t benefit massively from higher house prices, after all, we all need somewhere to live, and anyone selling their home will find that on average other house prices will have risen by the same amount, leaving them no better off. In reality, only the banks and those with many properties benefit from high house prices.

High prices mean that people will have to take out larger mortgages for longer periods of time, which means more money in interest payments for the banks. The highest point of that being the fact that government charges series of taxes that swell the already bloated house price. This does not help matters because those who cannot afford to own their homes have their problems even compounded with various charges imposed on various property.

For government to be serious in providing accommodation for the teeming population, taxes and charges relating to land, importation of building materials not produced in Nigeria and all other certificates documentation that cost money to obtain should be made tax free, at least, for now. Those who labour to extract and manufacture building materials locally should be encouraged and given some facilities to ease their production.

Nigeria is perhaps the fastest urbanising country in the African continent. One of the most important challenges facing the country is the provision of affordable housing. As more and more Nigerians make towns and cities their homes, the resulting social, economic, environmental and political challenges need to be urgently addressed. A recent study of housing situation in Nigeria put existing housing stock at 23 per 1000 inhabitants. Housing deficit as at 2007 (Mabogunje, 2007) is put at 15 million houses, while N12 trillion will be required to finance the deficits. This was about four times the annual national budget of Nigeria as at the period under review (FHA, 2007).

House prices and rents, on the other hand, have grown ahead of general inflation. Making matters worse, the composition of houses for sale and rent on the market has been inexorably shifting towards very expensive house (Nubi, 2008).

Between 1975 and 1980, there were plans to deliver 202,000 housing units to the public but only 28,500 units, representing 14.1 per cent was achieved.

Also, out of 200,000 housing units planned to be delivered between 1981 and 1985, only 47,200 that equals 23.6 per cent was constructed. Under the National Housing Fund (NHF) programme initiated in 1994 to produce 121,000 housing units, it was believed that less than 5 per cent was achieved. Despite series of government policies towards housing delivery, there exists a gap between housing supply and demand.

Research has shown that 75 per cent of urban housing is situated in slum conditions, and the quality of the housing is poor and clearly an affront to human dignity. As part of efforts to increase qualitative, affordable housing for the masses in the country, the Federal Government in 2004, pledged to adequately fund research pertaining to the manufacture and the use of local materials in the sector.

Housing delivery in Nigeria is provided by either the government or private sector, but despite Federal Government’s access to factors that accelerate housing production, the country could at best expect 4.2 per cent of the annual requirement. Substantial contribution is expected from other public and private sectors.
The production of housing in Nigeria is primarily the function of the private market; approximately 90 per cent of urban housing is produced by private developers.

Due to housing demand created by rural-urban migration, which account for 65 per cent of urban population growth, the fixed supply of urban land and inflation of rental and housing ownership cost (Taylor, 2000).

Maduka Nweke

Real estate: Mortgage operators seek improved access to credit

Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN) is currently seeking ways to improve access to credit for real estate recovery and provision of affordable houses for the citizens. For the purpose, the association is considering an agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Pension Commission to allow investment of over N7.5 trillion pension funds in the mortgage market.

The anticipated agreement, according to the President of MBAN, Mr. Adeniyi Akinlusi, was aimed at improving access to credit in order to solve the nation’s housing deficit of over 17 million units. According to the MBAN boss, the proposal would help free up money held by fund managers, which is estimated at around N7.5 trillion ($20.9 billion) as at the end of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Of these funds, he noted that 69.2 per cent is invested in either Federal Government bonds or Treasury bills, with the balance sitting with the stock market, banks or corporate bonds. If the application to regulators is successful, expectation is that it would free up liquidity for investment in individual projects or real estate investment trusts.

Meanwhile, low returns on investment, illiquidity of real estate as an asset class, poor and unreliable real estate assets valuation have been listed as some of the factors limiting investment of pension fund in real estate sector.According to one of the administrators of fund raised from contributory pension scheme (CPS) and the Managing Director, AIICO Pension Managers Limited, Longe Eguarekhide, an estimated eight per cent annual return and about five percent annual rental yield did not make real estate an attractive investment asset class. Besides, he said that real estate assets could not be converted easily to cash when the need arises.

However, he confirmed that discussions were ongoing between pension fund administrators and primary mortgage operators on how contributors to the pension scheme could access part of their retirement savings for use as equity contribution for mortgage loans. According to CEO, IBTC Pension Managers, lack of political commitment and differing approaches between sovereign and sub-national entities were also part of the policy challenges.

He cited the National Housing Fund (NHF) managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), which had a total collection of well over N2 trillion, but was yet to fully realise its goal. Another regulatory challenge, as cited by the CEO was the Land Use Act of 1978, which rests the power to allocate and revoke land on the state governors. This, he said, was slowing down process of obtaining titles to ownership of land and also making property registration not only costly, but also difficult.

Contributory pension scheme came into being in 2004. Contribution has been quite significant and has progressively grown from N5.4 trillion a couple of years ago to N7.5 trillion at the moment, coming from contributors who represent a little above four per cent of the country’s 170 million population.

Dayo Ayeyemi

11 Powerful Real Estate Marketing Ideas For Pros

Effective real estate marketing strategies that work

Have you been looking for ways to sell your property? The competition in the market for home buyers can be fierce, which is why you need to differentiate yourself to sell your house faster with creative ideas. These tips will also help you stay ahead of your competition.

Create catchy content to capture leads

When you have a property to sell, consider coming up with content that will deliver value to your intended audience as well as engage them. For instance, a free ebook can work wonders for you. You could create an e-book with the title, ’30 valuable things Nigerians should consider before buying a home.’ Another example is an e-book with the title ’40 crucial things to look out for in a new home.’ The catch in creating this free ebook is to give it out for free in exchange for email addresses and zip codes. it is a brilliant way to get leads. You can then nurture these leads with timely and valuable content on a regular basis so that you are top of mind when they make the decision to buy or rent property.

Work with a professional photographer

Let’s be honest, no matter how great your property is, poorly captured photographs will hurt the interest of potential buyers in your house. You should not compromise when it comes to photos of the property because a successful real estate business relies heavily on the amazing pictures. What you should do is hire a professional photographer. If you can find one with vast experience in architecture and taking pictures of homes, the better your chances of selling your property quickly. Alternatively, if you have a camera and all the tools you need to take a really good picture, you can capture them yourself but be sure that you are capable of getting good pictures.

Consider creating a niche

If you find yourself in a situation where the competition to lock down property buyers is becoming difficult, we suggest that you strongly consider creating a very specific niche for yourself. For instance, instead of being a property agent for houses to rent in Lekki, you could become a property agent for single and working people in Lekki Phase 1 or an estate agent for families with children. The idea is to come up with something very targeted. Establishing yourself as an expert in a particular niche would go a long way in improving your marketing in the niche you have created for yourself. This works wonders in a market where the competition is really fierce.

Emotional storytelling works

Storytelling has everything to do with your business of real estate marketing. The secret with storytelling is that the moment you learn and understand how to tell a good story, your audience is always going to want more and this is where you want to be when you are into property marketing. You can use a good emotional story around your real estate business to captivate prospective homebuyers and land great deals. Wondering how it works? When you are able to tap connect emotionally with people, they will become your audience. From being your audience, they connect with your story and your brand and eventually become leads. From being leads, they become customers and eventually become loyal customers. Humans respond positively to good stories. Tell them a really good story and customers will come to you.

Send a package after closing a deal

Your marketing does not end when you close a property deal with a client. No way! What you should do is to ensure that they remember your name so that there is a possibility that they will share information about you with their family, loved ones and friends who might need to relocate or buy a property in the near future. After closing a deal with a client, you should send a package to him/her/. The package could be anything you might have figured they like from your dealing with them. For instance, it could be movie tickets for two, tickets to a red carpet event, dinner reservation for two at a nice restaurant. Think of something they would really appreciate.

Have a website that offers value

Most clients do not sit back and expect things to happen especially when they have to do something like buying a property. Today, your clients eventually put a call through to you, they would have searched Google for the apartment or property that suits their needs and taste. For instance, a young lady who works in Marina and currently lives in Ikorodu could search for apartments in Surulere using the keywords ‘mini flat in Surulere under N300,000’ or ‘affordable house for sale in Yaba.’ This is where you want to be; to have your property or listings come up. However, this cannot happen when you don’t even have a website.

Before buying a property, some prospective buyers go as far as using Google Map to look at the street’s view. They search online for articles that are relevant to their location they intend to rent the property. For instance, a Nigerian who wants to relocate to Lagos could search for Lekki Neighbourhood guide. What he/she is searching for is to see what the neighbourhood has to offer. Does the place have a good road network? Are the social amenities available? Are there gyms, restaurants, beaches and recreation spots within the neighbourhood? They also search the web for good photos of the neighbourhood. If you have a website with the information they need, your chances of transforming leads into customers shoot up. All you have to do is to make it easy for users to access the information.

Ensure sure all your property pages have great pictures and have easy access to Google Maps and Google Earth.

Consider branding

Now is the best time to make branding work for you. By branding, we don’t mean spending N3 million on a billboard. Rather, what you should do when you want to sell a property is to brand items like torches, pens, T-shirts, hoodies, water flasks, flash drives and mugs. When you are done branding them, give them out as freebies at events or popular malls to spread the word about your brand by giving them something they are bound to use daily while at work or at home. The better the freebie, the better for your brand. Branding also involves brand credibility, integrity and the market perception of your service. Brand integrity includes clear values, goals, messaging, marketing and brand properties that make it easier for you to sell your property.

Write a column for a publication or website

If you plan to be effective in selling a property, then it is important that you focus on the local community where you are based. One way to do this is by becoming a columnist for a local newspaper, magazine or website. If you are based in Lagos for instance, you should consider writing for ‘Castle,’ which is a real estate magazine. However, it does not have to be a real estate publication. You should also consider writing for Punch, Guardian, The Nation, Sun or ThisDay newspaper, which also have an online presence.

Writing for a local newspaper is an effective way to reach your audience as most local publications have pages that are dedicated to property. For instance, you can write about how the rise in the cost of property in Lagos is a sign that the city is doing really well. There are quite a number of insights you can share with them and the moment, they consider you an authority, they will reach out to you when they have property-related concerns including if they want to buy a house.

Organise a seminar for property buyers

You can tap into the home crowgd by organising a seminar for your host community. For instance, you could educate them on the basics of what they need to know about buying their first house or how to secure a property loan.

Remember that a seminar about how to buy your first house is the local equivalent of a proper webinar. it takes time and energy to put a seminar together but you are bound to reap where you have sown when those in attendance turn to you when they want to buy a property.

Launch an email newsletter

The email newsletter is a powerful instrument to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with your audience. To achieve this, you have to collect emails from your website, your local outreach as well as WhatsApp and BBM channels. Ensure that what you are sending your email subscribers emails about are things that they need. Also, take into consideration what stage of the buyer journey they are in order to communicate effectively. Send them information on a new property on the market and tips that help them make better decisions. If you realise that you are in a different geographical space from your audience, you should consider segmenting your subscribers based on their needs and their location.

Get a super business card

The idea here is a ensure you get a business card that looks really amazing. However, it doesn’t end there. When you have the cards, don’t forget to hand them out at every opportunity you interact with potential clients. Good thing is housing is a basic need, everyone needs a roof over their heads. So, it might surprise you how many leads you could get from a single card.

Samod Biobaku

Going Green at Home: Easy Ways to Start

Going Green has earned its place as the buzz phrase that captures the principle for a sustainable, energy-efficient and safe lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as rocket science. Instead of looking at the idea of going green as a project that would cost you millions of Naira, you can go the easy way.

Consider breaking things down into simple bits that take you closer to going green one step at a time. Your end goal should be to gradually cut down your carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community) until you have made a significant change in this direction.

To make a really big difference, start today by making a lot of minor changes, which we will share in the lines that follow.

Electric Lawn Mowers Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The idea of going green is rested on the fundamental principle of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and this is precisely what you achieve when you settle for an electric lawn mower as opposed to one that is powered by gas.

If you carve out some time to reflect on all the things that you have that leave a carbon footprint, two of the biggest items on your list will probably be your car and your generator. If you own a lawn and you use a gas powered lawn mower, you should add it to your list. The reason is simple. Lawnmowers consume well over 800 million gallons of gas annually.

This explains the rise in the preference for electric lawn mowers over those powered by gas. Electric lawn mowers are more energy efficient and despite also leaving a carbon footprint, they are a mere fraction of the carbon dioxide you release when you use gas-powered lawn mowers.

Gas-powered lawn mowers also use oil and changing the oil means the used oil has to be taken out, which ends up contaminating the environment when spilt. The only way to avoid spilling the used oil is to destroy the oil; a process that requires a lot of heat, which still leaves you with a high carbon footprint.

Cancel Your Newspaper and Magazine Subscription
Do you have a running newspaper or magazine subscription especially for hard copies of these publications? If your answer is yes, consider cancelling these subscriptions.

Newspaper subscriptions mean you probably have a collection of both read and unread newspapers and magazine on your shelves at home. Your goal here should be to reduce your paper waste.

The manufacturing of paper requires fuel inputs and paper waste disposal can contribute to emissions of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) and methane (CH4).

Going green – shut down PC

Drop the Habit of Putting Your Laptop on Sleep Mode
When you put your laptop or computer to sleep, it means it’s not shut down and still consumes power but at a slower pace. This means you’ll probably still have to charge it after some time; thus consuming more electricity than it would have needed if you had shut it down.

Going green can only be achieved when you make the little changes count. Don’t leave your laptop sucking energy when you can actually shut it down and reboot it when you’re ready to use the device. Cultivate the habit of shutting down your laptop at the end of each day.

Going Green – Cover the swimming pool

Cover Your Swimming Pool
Do you have a swimming pool at home? If you do, consider covering it when it is not in use. When you cover your pool, you achieve two things – First, you keep your pool cleaner. Secondly, you protect the water from evaporating at a faster rate, which in turn means you won’t have to refill as frequently as you do when it is left open.

Always remember that the idea of going green is to conserve resources and energy.

Plan Your Errands
Planning your errands means that you would you will cut out all trips to the mall or store for a quick fix. let us put this into perspective – If you drive to the mall 6 times a month to buy bits and pieces of things you need at home, you would leave a larger carbon footprint when compared to planning ahead and buying everything you need in one or two trips to the mall.

By planning your errands, you save time and fuel and leave a lower carbon footprint on your trail. Consider buying in bulk when you go shopping.

Going green – Take a break from the TV

Take a Break From the Screen
Are you a TV or movie addict? Consider spending some time outside to help you burn calories and save the energy you would have spent with your TV on.

The idea here is to get you away from electronics and gadgets that are powered by electric energy. In Nigeria, such an indulgence comes at a cost; you will leave your generator on, which means you will burn more fuel and leave a larger carbon footprint.

Going green – Use solar panels

Consider Using Solar Panels as a Way of Going Green
Electricity in Nigeria remains as epileptic as it has been in previous years. The result of this is that you probably have a generator or even two with one serving as a backup. Running a generator means you will use up quite a large amount of fuel or diesel.

Did you know that using a Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes? In 2014, generator fumes killed a family of 7 while they slept. In 2017, a businessman and his son died from inhaling fumes from their generator.

Experts have advised keeping generators far at a reasonable distance from your home to avoid inhaling lethal fumes. Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas you cannot see or smell.

The moment you can perceive the smell from a generator’s exhaust, you are inhaling CO. One way out of this is to get solar panels, which will help you burn less fuel and reduce your carbon footprint.

Plant Tree Around Your Home
When you plant trees around your home, you create shade for your home. They also help you clean the air. Did you know that trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating?

Trees planted around your home provide a natural home to birds, insects and other animals, which brings you closer to going green. Trees also increase the value of your property positively especially in a neighbourhood that is largely residential.

Going Green at Home (4)

Use Bulbs That Save Energy
Some bulbs use up less energy than others. For instance, compact fluorescent light bulbs help you save money as well as energy. Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs use around 75% less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs?

Compact fluorescent light bulbs are not the perfect solution but on the measure of energy consumed, they beat incandescent bulbs.

Final Thoughts
Going green requires elements of discipline and an understanding of how your little actions add up to make your home more energy efficient. It helps you reduce waste and save money.

It also helps you ease into the culture of recycling. For instance, you can reuse old paint tins at home when decorating your house.

You should also be looking at the concept of green building if you prefer a more expansive foray into going green.

Samod Biobaku

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.



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.



‘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.



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