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World Bank boosts Nigerian housing sector with $300m loan

The World Bank has provided Nigeria a $300 million loan to boost the financing needs of the nation’s housing sector.

Director of Other Financial Institutions Supervision of the CBN, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, disclosed this at the workshop on Model Mortgage and Foreclosure Law organized for Attorneys General of the states, as well as federal and state legislators in Abuja.

She revealed that the loan (about N1.080 billion when converted at N360/$1) was given to Nigeria on a generous term with a re-payment period of 40 years. Martins said CBN was the Project Implementing Entity of the Nigerian Housing Finance Programme, NHFP, which had been working to deepen the primary and secondary markets for mortgages in the country.

According to her, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, NMRC, was created pursuant to the objectives of the NHFP.

She added that although the NMRC operates as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, “the CBN is underwriting some of the risks that come with the programme. For instance, CBN is underwriting the foreign exchange risks.”

The theme of the workshop was, “Creating an Enabling Environment for the Growth of Housing and Mortgage Sector: The need for Land and Law reform.”

Earlier, the CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Corporate Services, Edward Adamu, noted that the sector had been facing major constraints, especially the Land Use Act of 1978.

He said: “Apart from the unintended constraints created by some of current laws such as the Land Use Act, 1978 and the multiple laws applicable to the creation and enforcement of housing mortgages, difficult legal processes, antiquated land administration infrastructure and policies, the significant costs and multi-layered processes involved in land titling and perfection of land related transactions, have left the housing and mortgage industry in an undesirable and untenable state.

“The fact remains that access to adequate housing is directly connected to the health, wealth and happiness of our citizens and impacts everything from our national security, to our family social wellbeing. Therefore, any nation that ignores this critical sector does so at its own peril.

“It is an indisputable fact that apart from providing shelter for our citizens, investment in the housing sector will boost our national savings as well as economic growth by creating jobs across the entire economic spectrum as well as imbuing small, micro and medium businesses with a collateral asset often required for accessing finance.”

Speaking with journalists on the sideline of the event, the Executive Director (ED) Policy, Strategy and Partnerships of the NMRC, Dr. Chii Akporji, said the programme was to provide greater access to houses for Nigerians by helping to raise long-term funds for the development of the sector.

She added that the company would work with state governments to incentivize land acquisition, property registration and foreclosure laws at the sub-national level.

She said: “The state governments need to attract investments in the sector to their states. It will increase their Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, so they will have more money and, of course, more jobs are created.

“There are certain steps that these state governments need to take in order to create that environment, essentially looking at the issue of land, titling, property registration , instituting a foreclosure mechanism. Those are the key things that state governments are expected to look at, with a view to reforming them, expediting the process .

“For example, the issue of governor’s consent is very important. That is what you need to get access to land and to home ownership. “Initially, what we see is that this can take many years. You see the files pile up for governors’ consent. What this new initiative proposes is that either the governor makes it a priority or delegates that responsibility to a commissioner.’’

Emma Ujah

Experts Harp On Virile Housing Sector For Economic Recovery

Experts in the realty sub- sector have revealed that a conducive and energised housing sector could boost Nigeria’s economic recovery strategies.

They made the submissions through a housing development group platform in Abuja. A real estate expert, Mr. Victor Mayowa wondered why federal government is yet to understand that a virile housing sector is critical to economic recovery.

He lamented that federal government’s partial interest in agriculture and solid minerals is a fundamental error in visioning even as he wondered if the two sectors could spur economic growth.

According to him, “We have seen projects (NHP) like this one all over the place all the time. What is the philosophy behind it? How does it fit in within the overall housing delivery strategy in the short, medium and long terms? Is the housing delivery architecture sufficiently reconfigured and strengthened to guarantee the sustainability of the project?”

Mayowa regretted that the mortgage sub sector is virtually dead adding that it’s impossible to create virile housing sector without vibrant mortgage sub sector.

He was hopeful that there are Nigerians with vested interest in government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, which have refused to allow the sub-sector to utilise its full potentials.

The expert noted that the 2.5 percent contribution to the National Housing Fund (NHF) cannot create adequate number of mortgages given the low salaries paid to workers in the public and private sectors.

Mayowa stated that the 30 year roadmap which the former minister of housing, land and urban development, Mrs. Amal Pepple unveiled during her tenure addressed all the burning issues in the sector.

He stated that Union Homes Savings and Loans Limited and several mortgage institutions are in a state of comatose, stressing the need for the administration to prioritise housing.

Also, the former president of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), TP Steve Onu revealed that the problems in the sector is majorly from the ministry of power, works and housing who failed to initiate programmes for implementation of the provisions of the policy.

He wondered how the ministry concluded in building 50 units of housing per state despite the increasing population of Nigerians.

However, the Convener of Abuja International Housing Show, Barr. Festus Adebayo noted that though the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola informed that the NHP is currently on going in all the states, which Nigerians are yet to know the actual beneficiaries of the project.

He noted that Nigerians are still wondering if such houses would be purchased through NHF or outright sale and the cost of each unit of the houses. “If the present government is interested in National Housing Policy document of the previous administration, they would have looked into it and adopt it other than starting the NHP that only focused on building of housing estates (50 units) in each of the states”, he said

Adebayo stated that it is only the minister and his team that would provide useful explanation on how they resolved to build 50 units of housing in each state, adding that the project would be abandoned soon.

On his part, the managing director of Justin Okpu & Co limited, a facility management company, Prince Justin Okpu regretted that government lacked the political will to implement the National Housing Programme (NHP).

He described the operations of the housing sector as a musical cord producing scattered notes saying that until the keys are tuned to produce a synchronized sound that Nigerians would continue to listen to discordant tunes from the sector.

Okpu called for a review of the NHP, stressing that he earlier had extensive discussions with two elderly retired civil servants who narrated their frustration in accessing homes through the National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions.

He wondered why any government would compel workers to contribute a certain fraction of their wage to a purse promising them accessible home, and at the same time reneging on the promise.

He added, “If government cannot fulfill her own part of the obligation on NHP, I think it is high time they expunge the laws empowering NHF and Nigerians should be ready to test its legal strength and moral legitimacy in the corridors of adjudicates.”

Leadership

How investors, developers are responding to improvement in macro-economy

Though the economic recovery in Nigeria remains slow and fragile, real estate investors and developers in the country, who had been relatively quiet in the last 24 months, have started showing confidence in the economy by kicking off new projects across major city centres.

The investors who play in the residential, commercial and hospitality segments of the property market look set to validate analyst’s prediction of a positive outlook for the sector this 2018. They are really optimistic and confident.

Based on the improvement in the macro-economy and the positive projections for 2018, Adetokunbo Ajayi, CEO, Propertygate Development & Investment Plc, sees hope for real estate, hinging his optimism also on the post-recession positive performance of the economy and growth forecasts.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a GDP growth of 2.1percent for the country in 2018; and the economy is already living up to that forecast, as it recorded a growth of 1.9 percent in Q1 2018. Other economic forecasts, global and regional, are positive”, Ajayi posited

Another source of optimism for the sector also derives from IMF’s projections which anticipate global economy to grow 3.9 percent in 2018; growth of 4.9 percent for emerging and developing economies, with expectation of a rise to 5.1 percent in 2019; and 3.4 percent growth for Sub-Sahara Africa.

But the real estate sector has, in the last 24 months, grappled with sharp supply demand imbalance, widening vacancy rates and falling rents, high cost of building materials, rent arrears and reduced take-up of new office and retail spaces. The sector has not performed well in the last nine quarters.

A quarter one 2018 report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics shows that the sector plunged deeper into recession in this quarter. A breakdown of the report shows that the sector contracted by -9.40 percent in Q1 2018 from -5.92 percent in Q4 2017 and -4.12 percent in Q3 2017. This contraction is -6.3 percentage points worse than the -3.10 percent reported in the comparable period of 2017.

This, estate intel says, means that the real estate service sector is the worst performing economic subsector in over two years, after a few sub-sectors that include manufacturing, post and courier services, motor vehicle and assembly.

However, a shift from this trend looks imminent. Developers and investors like Ajayi, have expressed confidence in the economy by commencing a handful of residential projects.

A recent report by the African Property Investment (API) Events predicts increased demand for investment opportunities, especially in the real estate sector in the continent, given the macroeconomic indicators released by IMF which points to a surge in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of five percent across 18 economies in subSaharan Africa.

Damola Akindolire, Executive Director, Real Estate at Alpha Mead Group, agrees to this, explaining that in Nigeria, the demand for land in developing areas such as Lekki in Lagos is gradually scaling up. He noted that this has led to an upward swing of about 10 percent-15 percent in land prices in some choice locations.

Akindolire added that activity in the hospitality sector is also gaining momentum with investors showing positive signs towards investing in hotel apartments, especially with the opening of Golden Tulip in Oniru and Radisson Blu, both in Ikeja.

“We will continue to see a strong run in this space with delivery of additional 1,000 rooms in 2018”, he assured.

BusinessDay, in a recent report, revealed that the Ogun State Investment Corporation (OPIC) was making vigorous effort to create a housing hub along the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway.

The new housing hub is aimed at assisting the state government to create a mega city footprint by providing housing units in the massive New Makun City housing project at the Shagamu interchange and the MTR Garden Estates at Isheri end of the expressway.

In a similar scenario, the Rivers State government has sealed a partnership deal with private real estate developers to deliver about 3,000 housing units in the next few years under the Port Harcourt mega city initiative.

In Lagos, the state government has commenced negotiation with relevant stakeholders for the redevelopment of Adeniji Adele Phase I – V in the city’s central business district. The project is expected to see the transformation of the current estate into high rise buildings of different house types.

An Abuja based property developer, reputed for developing 3,500 housing units in Life Camp, Abuja, and has shown interest in veering into the Lagos real estate market. Sources say the firm is partnering with the Lagos State government to develop 618 housing units at the Jubilee Estate in Iganmu area.

Real estate analysts say the increasing number of projects echoes investors’ confidence in the economy which, expectedly, could serve as the ‘kick’ as activities gradually peak in West Africa’s most vibrant property market.

CHUKA UROKO

 

 

 

NMRC’s 13.80% Series 2 Bond issuance means lower mortgage rate for Nigerians — Experts

It seems the end is in sight for Nigeria’s housing challenges as experts in the Nigerian mortgage industry, going forward, expect a low mortgage rate for those who will be funding their home acquisition through mortgage loans.

This is on the basis of NMRC’s Series 2 Bond issuance which was at a lower cost compared to the initial issue in 2015. “Going forward, NMRC should be able to lend at a cheaper cost because, if they borrow at a cheaper cost, it means they will be able to refinance mortgage lenders at a cheaper cost, which the ultimate beneficiaries are the individuals that are taking the mortgages,” an industry expert, who did not want to be named, said.

The opinion of another expert was not different as he reasoned that, in generally, the impact of the issuance would mean that the cost of mortgage lending will come down.

“This means that people that are trying to get mortgage will be able to access the loan at a lower interest rate,” the expert who also asked not to be named said on phone.

Meanwhile, the mortgage interest rates in Nigeria range between 6-10 percent for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) supervised National Housing Fund (NHF) and between 15- 25 percent for commercial mortgage institutions which, analysts say, is one of the highest in the world.

However, NMRC says it has completed its N11billion 13.80 per cent Series 2 Bond Issuance under its N440 billion Medium Term Note Programme, adding that this is part of its primary mandate of providing liquidity mortgage system.

The net proceeds of the exercise will be used to refinance eligible mortgage loans originated by the participating primary mortgage banks (PMBs) and other mortgage lending institutions.

This is coming after its inaugural N8 billion 14.9 per cent Series 1 Bond issue in July 2015 which was fully deployed towards refinancing legacy mortgage loan portfolios of the participating and eligible mortgage lending banks.

The Series 2 Bonds are unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and thus ascribed an ‘AAA’ rating by both Global Credit Rating Co. and Agusto & Co.

The order book was subscribed by over 200 percent. The bonds were subscribed to by domestic investors with the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) representing over 70 per cent of the investors.

The federal government has, however, disclosed plans to inject N500 billion ($1.4 billion) into FMBN over the next five years in an effort to spur home ownership that has failed to take off in the country.

When experts in the mortgage industry were asked the overall impacts the NMRC Series 2 bond issuance and the federal government plans to inject N100billion will have on the entire industry, they said it was in two different angles but overall it means more fund for the sector.

Kehinde Ogundimu, the Managing Director of NMRC, said in a statement that the bond issuance reinforces NMRC’s commitment to encouraging and promoting homeownership in Nigeria by linking the capital markets with the housing sector and establishing an operating and viable secondary mortgage market to support the primary mortgage market.

ENDURANCE OKAFOR

 

TACKLING POVERTY, HOUSING INVESTMENT IN FOCUS AS STAKEHOLDERS GATHER FOR AIHS 2018

How to tackle poverty through investment in housing will be the focus of discussion as housing sector stakeholders gather for the Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) next week. Expectation is that the stakeholders, coming from diverse backgrounds in the housing sector, will offer insights for profitable investment in housing which is grossly under supplied in Nigeria.

AIHS is currently the largest single real estate expo and exhibition in Nigeria, drawing participants and exhibitors from the West African sub-region and the continent at large. In the last 11 years, the Show has brought together over 50,000 housing sector stakeholders from both public and private sectors to point the way forward for the sector.

This year’s edition, which is the 12th in the series, anticipates about 15,000 participants and 250 exhibitors in various types of building materials. Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, will declare the Show open on Monday, July 16.

“How government could create a conducive environment and look into outstanding housing laws at the National Assembly which include Land Use Act, foreclosure laws and mortgage banking law, and how these would attract more investment in real estate will also be discussed”,

Festus Adebayo, the convener, said in an interview. “Our expectation is that once government plays that role, we can use housing to fight poverty, bearing in mind that at every construction site, jobs are created and many people are engaged including professionals, artisans and labourers.

Through this, wealth is created and the economy is better for it”, he added. Hope of home ownership, especially for civil servants, is increasingly becoming a remote possibility.

This is why this edition of the Show is not planned as a talk-show but a forum for exchanging ideas from leaders, and enabling people to acquaint themselves with the latest developments in the housing sector.

“This forum is also aimed to strategise for practical solution to housing problems in Nigeria. It will assist people to get building materials at discounted rates from manufacturers who will be exhibiting their products here,’’ he said.

About 26 speakers from different African countries and international organisations including the World Bank, African Union of Housing Finance, UN Habitat and India Federation for Housing are expected.

Also expected are the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola as the Chief Host, and FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State, The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita.

Some ministers expected from the African countries include the Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Ghana, Freda Prempeh and the country’s members of parliament who will also be in attendance.

Businessday

WHY REAL ESTATE IS INVESTMENT HAVEN, PROFESSIONAL DESTINATION

Despite the slowdown and challenging times which the real estate sector in Nigeria is passing through at the moment, investment analysts, players in the sector including portfolio and equity investors are agreed that of all the various investment asset class, real estate remains top in consideration.

For investors, especially the patient ones who have long term view of the market, real estate is a haven while, professionally, that is, in terms of a profession to pursue, it is a destination. This is the only investment asset whose value, especially land, never goes down even in a recessing economy.

Today, this sector represents 8 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP; its market value is estimated at N59 trillion and that, in turn, represents the value of investment opportunity open to investors in the sector. Again, at the moment, 81 per cent of global wealth is held as real estate.

Many students of Estate Management, for instance, have frequently, at one point or another, stopped to ask themselves what really is in real estate for them. But professionals and sundry practitioners assure those with mindset that there is a lot for them in that sector.

“Real estate encompasses the thing you are passionate  about; the thing you are good at, and the thing you can earn a living from”, explained Tayo Odunsi, CEO, Northcourt Real Estate , who spoke at a gathering of budding real estate professionals on ‘Why I love Real Estate’ in Lagos, recently.

“ real estate”, he added, “allows me to harness all my many interests into one career”. This means that even as a real estate professional, one can still do other things where one’s interest is strong such as technology, fine art, marketing, interior design and others.

This is because, back in the days, real estate was just a blend of construction, economics, law and accounting , but today, it goes beyond that. Real estate is now a blend of construction economics, law, finance, technology, design, marketing, and branding.

It is therefore, a professional destination, especially for students who have strong bias for technology. There is new technology in real estate which encompasses the Big Data; Internet of Things (IoT); Drone Technology; Articial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Visual Positioning System (VPS); Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Smart Cities.

Besides technology, real estate also incorporates art & design through which a professional can do interior design, graphics design or fine art. Marketing is also a professional aspect of real estate and so, a professional marketer can find a place in real estate market.

As a course of study, Real Estate is broad and therefore exposes a learner to vast and varied disciplines. As an investment asset, it has many value chain from which people can earn a living. “Nigerians like investing in real estate; the sector is good because it can work across many value chain. But we have to continue to innovate; Nigerians should learn to develop its own brand of real estate for themselves and for buyers”, Olayinka Ogunsulire, CEO, Orange Island, advised at the gathering in Lagos.

In real estate business, there is need to imbibe culture of excellence which, Ogunsulire explained, gives a developer more money than he could get by doing it otherwise.

“to be excellent, you have to go extra mile and in delivering your product as a developer, you must consider buyers’ lifestyle”, she advised.

Gbenga Olaniyan, CEO, Estate Links Limited, who said he found himself in real estate by default and has remained in it because it is the best profession and gives a lot of money, agreed that there was also need for professionalism.

Integrity is yet another value that professionals must not compromise on and Modupe Anjous, CEO, Rydal Mews, insisted that this must be accompanied by attention by attention to detail, especially on documentation.

Though it is not easy out there, there is every need to remain focused and this was the advice of Rogba Orimalade, Chairman , Lagos state branch of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), who also advised on commitment and patience in any chosen career, including real estate business.

Businessday

Engineers call for integrity test on Otedola Bridge

Structural and civil engineers in the country have called for a test to be carried out on the Otedola Bridge in Lagos to ascertain the effect the recent fire incident has on it.

According to the engineers, a physical examination of the bridge will show if it requires attention and also help to forestall any danger it may pose to the commuting public.

A former Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Lagos Branch, Mr Olatunde Jaiyesinmi, said if the fire affected the bridge, the authorities concerned should not ignore the effect it could have on it.

He said, “Fire is very powerful and the effect it may have on the bridge needs to be checked. When you subject anything to heat, especially something like that, if the concrete does not expand, it will transfer the heat to the reinforcement. When you heat reinforcement or iron, it becomes weak after a while and can be bent or broken.

“It depends again on the intensity of the heat and if it really happened on the bridge. The heat and even the explosion can create problems for the bridge. Sometime ago, there was fire on one of the bridges in Ijora and one of the pillars was affected. It will be good for an integrity test to be done on the Otedola Bridge; if there is asphalt on it, part of it may even melt away over time if it was affected.”

On June 28, a tanker laden with petrol exploded at the foot of the Otedola Bridge, a short link between Alausa, Ikeja and Berger area of Lagos.

The subsequent inferno consumed 54 private and commercial vehicles driving behind the tanker and claimed about 10 lives.

According to reports, a similar incident occurred on the same spot in 2010.

The immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, Mr Oreoluwa Fadayomi, said the first thing for the concerned stakeholders to do was to confirm if the explosion occurred on the bridge or after it.

Fadayomi stated, “It is the inspection that will lead to recommendations on what should be done if there is damage. There are two issues, one can bother on design and the other can be on mechanical or any other kind of damage resulting from the incident.

“If a building gets burnt, some of the elements may be affected, warranting a test to be carried out on it to check the strength; on the basis and intensity of the fire, there will be a need for a test to confirm whether the bridge is alright or needs any form of attention. But if there are no signs of damage, one may not have to worry; but with the gravity of the incident, a test may be necessary.”

He said a team of structural and highway engineers should inspect the bridge and see if there would be a need for more tests.

“And if there is a need for further tests, fine, if not, then the bridge should be left alone. If nothing happened to the bridge, then it should be left alone; but if the incident took place on the bridge, then we need to know the magnitude. The other aspect that bothers on design can also be determined by the examination,” he added.

According to a civil engineer, Robbie Owivry, a through test on the bridge should be done owing to the intensity of the fire.

“Having been subjected to such an enormous impact of heat waves emanating from the fire, the natural thing to do is to subject the bridge to an integrity test to ascertain its fitness,” Owivry, who is the immediate Past Chairman, Lagos branch of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, stated.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr Ademola Kuti, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, however, stated that a preliminary test had been carried out on the bridge.

“We have done a preliminary test on the bridge, people should await the outcome of that exercise, but there will be a further test on it. That will be a more comprehensive test. However, a contractor, Julius Berger, is also on the road,” he added.

The Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Lagos Chapter, Mr Segun Fadeyi, stated that last week, he led his executive team to the bridge and met a team from the Federal Ministry of Works, who gave an assurance that a comprehensive test as well as rehabilitation would be carried out.

“Julius Berger is working on the road because the place is sloppy and the trailer carrying that load was overloaded. The capacity of the engine was lower than the load it was carrying, which led to the accident; but as we were told, Julius Berger wants to reconstruct the place and may resurface the bridge,” he added.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

 

Built environment experts lament deplorable condition of Nigerian cities

—Say over 1000 Nigerian cities are environmentally distressed

Built environment experts have lamented the deplorable conditions of some Nigerian cities, saying over 1,000 of them are environmentally distressed owing to issues such as provision of inadequate infrastructure, lack of planning and disregard for environmental laws.

This is due to many factors ranging from absence of planning to lack of appropriate infrastructural facilities among others.

Lamenting the deplorable situation, the immediate past President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, NITP, Mr. Steve Onu, said health conditions of some of the urban centres in Nigeria were nothing to write home about.

According to Onu, the distressed nature of these cities is due to absence of planning, lack of sanitation, potable water, proper drainage, power supply and other facilities across the cities, insisting that most of the settlements were supposed to be planned with facilities.

He disclosed that people just built houses without approved layouts, necessary design, building approvals, and others, adding that some locations in the urban centres have no water supply and good drainage system. “Instead of addressing the electricity problem, the government allowed individuals to be importing generators thereby polluting the environment with noise and fumes. In some locations, boreholes are being drilled indiscriminately without any regard for the environment.”

While emphasising the need to improve the quality of living in both rural and urban centres where 100 per cent of Nigerians live, he warned that the nation cannot continue to create slums in the name of development. “Those who travel by road across this country should tell us whether the environmental state of Okene in Kogi State is what it should be if we are serious,” he queried.

He warned that before granting approvals to build residential estates by developers, government must ensure that they will guarantee the provision of these services. “Government should take the bull by the horn and ensure that settlements are planned with facilities. Instead of spending N1.3 trillion per annum to subsidize Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), this amount should be ploughed into housing to improve the quality of lives of residents of the existing urban settlements.

“By this, a lot of jobs would have been created, poverty would have been reduced and welfare of the people would have been enhanced,” he stated. Former President, National Association of Town Planning Consultants, ATOPCON, Mr. Moses Ogunleye, corroborated Onu, saying that the nation’s cities were environmentally sick, pointing out that there was no problem in creating new cities, but that the existing urban centres must be regenerated.

He explained that while it is costly to build new settlements, he said regeneration and renewal of old cities would cost less. “New settlements will cost more because you have to look for new land, build new infrastructure, provide workplaces and other amenities”, Ogunleye said.

In his response, former Managing Director, Lagos State Development and Property Company, LSDPC, Anthonio John-Bede, said there was need to create a minimum of 15 new cities that could accommodate one million people in 10 years, pointing out that the cities should have residential estates, industrial parks, technical parks, Agric parks, primary and secondary schools, post- secondary and university, general hospital green parks, sports centres among others.

“It should be created by the federal and state governments but driven by private sector and international investments,” he said. Vice-Chairman, Council of Registered Builders, CORBON, Samson Opaluwah, stated that a holistic approach should encompass a strategy to slow down the massive rural to urban migration, which has been the root cause of slums.

He pointed out that Nigerians would love to stay in their rural communities if opportunities and quality of infrastructure in the urban centres are extended to them. He said: “While I appreciate the need for urban renewal and reclamation of our city slums, a futuristic solution will be to reorder our priorities and make the rural communities liveable by our teeming population.

He noted that concentration of opportunities in the urban centres was the nectar that keeps attracting huge population to the nation’s cities and daily expansion of slums, adding that the elites were the beneficiaries and proponents of the concept.

Opaluwah corroborated John-Bede, stating that development of cluster-grid of 80-100-kilometre radius was recommended for the rapid development of Nigeria, adding that it should be an independent cluster with housing, local relevant small scale industries, a school and a health centre around farming communities could be crystallised in every 80km radius nationwide.

According to him, these small self-sustaining communities could then be networked and supported by the states and the Federal Government, adding that housing in these communities should be tailored to the locally available building materials and that labour be sourced locally.

He advised that housing as important as it is, must be situated in the context of national development to be given a priority of place, adding that it should be used as an economic enabler which when continuously pursued, would lift Nigeria out of underdevelopment.

Former Managing Director, Federal Housing Authority, FHA, Prof. Mustapha Zubai, said there was necessity to, in practical terms, see housing and urban development as two sides of the same coin.

He said: “We are acting as though it is not our concern and are hardly paying any attention to the unplanned and uncontrolled urbanisation taking place in virtually all our towns and cities, with attendant consequences on the virtual collapse in the provision of urban infrastructure especially water and electricity supply, waste management and urban mobility.”

He noted that Nigerians were sadly building brand new housing estates that are simply adding to the already endemic slums in virtually all our cities. Another equally plausible scenario, he said, was that the cheapest houses the nation could produce might be too expensive for the army of poor people inhabiting the cities, estimating that at least 60 per cent of the estimated Nigerian population of 198 million are poor.

The professor said: “Our governments have, over the years, by omission or commission, managed to turn our cities and towns into breeding ground of the poor. I strongly believe that time has come for our esteemed housing experts to engage our urban development experts in a constructive dialogue with the support and constructive participation of the Federal Government, represented by our Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.”

The basis for the dialogue, he said, would be the cardinal National Housing and Urban Development Policies, 2012; the New Urban Agenda which Nigeria was a signatory to; and Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Kingsley Adegboye

SOLIGNUM AND THE ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW REAFFIRMS BOND

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Solignum Wood Preservative Company, Sir Obinna Etele has reaffirmed his Company’s bond with the Abuja International Housing Show by donating a car gift for the show.

The event which took place at Fesadeb communication media group today was well attended by members of Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Staff of Solignum and Fesadeb Media Group and other personalities to witness the handover ceremony of the car donation toward the promotion of the show.

The CEO of  Solignum Wood Preservative Company said that “the event today will go down in history like a marriage between a giant in the building industry and an advocacy group , Fesadeb Communications”

He added that Solignum is a product that has been in Nigeria for over 52 years  and it is used by all individuals and thanked Fesadeb Communication for flying the flag of Solignum.

The Managing Director of Fesadeb Communications and Organiser of the Abuja International Housing Show, Barr. Festus Adebayo expressed his gratitude and stated that “ We remain committed to promoting housing in Nigeria and to promoting the activities of the Professionals in the housing sector”

He also added that they have over the years acted as bridge between professional bodies, the builder and the Engineers.

The President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Builder Nduka Kenneth represented by the FCT Chairman of NIOB, congratulated both parties for promoting and projecting the building and construction sector and urged them to keep the good work.

Edet Richmoore

Making affordable housing a reality

How Kenya can achieve the low-cost housing dream

IN SUMMARY
Plans are underway for the approval of idle land tax as a way of discouraging speculative land purchase.
These measures undertaken by the government will provide strategically located land for the housing project.
The targeted market for the affordable housing project are working Kenyans in the middle to low-income categories.

The government’s Big Four economic blue-print intends to deliver 1 million affordable homes in the next five years.Out of this, 800,000 units are bedsitters, one-, two- and three- bedroom, costing between Sh800,000 and Sh3 million.

The remaining 200,000 units are social housing, which involves the development of slums (1-2 room units costing Sh600,000 to Sh1 million). The project is expected to be implemented on 7,000 acres of land in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, and Eldoret.

To deliver affordable homes to Kenyans, the government is eyeing partnerships with private developers by making public land for development available and undertaking land swaps, which involves the transfer of public land to private developers in exchange for more suitable land for development, but of equal value.

The government is also exploring the establishment of a land bank; a taskforce has been formed to set aside land from excess land holdings by corporations and parastatals, including East African Portland Cement, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya Prisons and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Plans are underway for the approval of idle land tax as a way of discouraging speculative land purchase. The team also aims to unlock land that is suitable for affordable housing projects.

These measures undertaken by the government will provide strategically located land for the housing project.

But experts aver that it is infrastructure that will be a game-changer in the attainment of affordable housing. Real estate is mainly about location, says Mr Daniel Kamau, the CEO of Fusion Capital, a private equity firm focused on real estate investment and fund management. It operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the United Kingdom.

“By providing infrastructure such as good roads, power connections, water and sewer lines, the government will make it cost-efficient for the private sector to cut on development costs,” he said.

He noted that the move would make underdeveloped locations more desirable.

Mr Kamau explained that traditionally, and particularly in real estate, infrastructure is always followed by developments and not the other way round, which has been the case in Kenya, especially in satellite cities/gated communities.

The targeted market for the affordable housing project are working Kenyans in the middle to low-income categories.

“These are populations that are concerned with the availability of good, affordable schools, adequate security – such as a place being served by a police post – and accessibility to public transport. It is, therefore, imperative that the government provide this,” added Mr Kamau.

FINAL COSTS

He noted that provision of infrastructure by the government will go a long way in ensuring that developers deliver units at affordable rates since they will most likely not run into additional costs and transfer them to the end buyer.

Another governance aspect that will drive the attainment of affordable housing is reducing the time taken to gain approvals.

Returns on real estate investment are time-sensitive and the turnaround time is critical from planning to the sale of the property. Real estate investment involves several statutory approvals and the process of getting projects fully approved has been slow and frustrating to most developers, said Mr Kamau.

There is no systematic way of getting approvals such as the change of user on titles, the National Environment Management Authority approvals, county government approvals, building plan approvals and title transfer process.

How Kenya can achieve the low-cost housing dream

It normally takes three months for construction-related approvals in the counties. However, since 2016, Kiambu County reduced the time taken for building approvals to 3 days after digitising the system.

Known as the Electronic Development Application Management System, the application has increased efficiency and transparency since all construction-related applications are now done electronically through a customised online portal.

The Web-based system, which was developed in partnership with the World Bank, has speeded up approval time and it enhances the planning and inspection of workflow.

“Before the introduction of the system, it took months for an approval to go through, with documents sometimes disappearing. But since the system came into being, it normally takes two to three days,” said Mr Kamau.

The applications supported by the Web-based management information system include physical planning proposals, architectural building proposals, and associated civil and structural engineering designs.

Others include applications for change of use, sub-division, regularisation for change of use and sub-division, extension of lease and use applications.

Architects and planners submit building proposals for evaluation and approval online while payments are made through an automated revenue-collection system, further cutting on time and increasing efficiency.

If duplicated in other counties, the system would support the affordable housing pillar as it will reduce the time taken to deliver housing projects, which has a cost to it, he noted.

“Delays in the approvals end up increasing the cost of the project. These costs are pushed to the final buyer,” Mr Kamau noted.

The CEO noted that the government can set times for statutory approvals. He further said the government must support the private sector by committing to timelines while managing approvals.
He said Kenya can learn from Kigali, Rwanda, on how to efficiently manage construction approvals.

SUPPORTIVE GOVERNMENTS

“They have a one-stop centre where you get all your approvals done within a very short period. Supportive governments, both at the county and national level, ensure investors remain committed,” said Mr Kamau.

In Rwanda, Fusion Capital has invested in Kigali Heights, a mixed-use commercial development that features office space and retail. Still on governance, corruption in the government is seen as a possible impediment to the achievement of the “Big Four” agenda, and more so, affordable housing.

“In an economic class, they teach us that there are only four factors of production; land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship. But it appears that in some of our African countries, corruption is a factor of production,” Mr Kamau observed.

When corruption is allowed to penetrate the real estate sector, the cost is passed on to the buyer, he noted. “For developers like ourselves who adhere to non-bribery and or high ethical standards, we suffer delay or miss out on opportunities, which becomes a put-off to investors. The government has the capacity and machinery to decisively deal with cartels in real estate approval bodies or institutions,” Mr Kamau noted.

He said this would reduce the cost of development and speed up processes, and the final beneficiary is the Kenyan who wants a reasonably priced home.

In the last five years, Kenya’s GDP has been growing between 5 and 6 per cent every year. Mr Kamau says the affordable housing project can accelerate growth in key development sectors.

For instance, it is likely to provide employment, and push growth in the local manufacturing sector. “This will spur local manufacturing for economic growth, especially steel and cement,” he said.

MILLICENT MWOLOLO

 

 

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