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MSMEs to get N154 billion credit facility from LAPO

Life Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) microfinance bank is targeting N154 billion loan disbursement to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) this year (2019) as against the N137 billion disbursed to them last year.

Godwin Ehigiamusoe, the Managing Director of LAPO microfinance bank, made this disclosure at the bank’s 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.

“There is a huge funding gap for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, so as a microfinance bank, committed to help bridge that funding gap, our major operation is supporting credit. We prioritise giving loan to those businesses. This has been our commitment right from when we were a non-profit organisation,” Ehigiamusoe was quoted.

Why MSMEs funding: The role of SMEs in enhancing economic growth and development has overtime been widely acknowledged globally. Economic wealth all over the world is created through enterprises and the expansion of their output.

SMEs contribute to the economy by creating value through the production of goods and services, thus enhancing the gross domestic product. They also generate employment by creating much-needed jobs in the economy as well as expanding the export sector largely through linkages with large firms that produce for the foreign sector.

Lack of adequate funding has been the major challenge Nigerian SMEs have raised concerns about. The SMEs stakeholders have overtime lamented the absence of adequate credit facility startups and business expansions.

About LAPO: LAPO is a microfinance bank that focuses on assisting the poor, especially the women, in raising their socio-economic status. It does not only act as a microcredit institution but also assists clients in overcoming problems beyond the lack of funds, such as illiteracy and environmental degradation (which often aggravates poverty).

The institution was founded by Godwin Ehigiamusoe while working as a rural co-operative officer in Delta State, Nigeria. LAPO started its activities in 1987.

Source: nairametrics

Nigerian government intensifies effort for adequate housing

The Nigerian government has said it is intensifying efforts to ensure that its citizens own houses.

The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board said this will be done in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda on bridging the housing deficit in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr. Hannatu Fika, said this while briefing journalists during an inspection of housing projects across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr. Fika said the move became necessary giving the crucial roles of public servants in the economic development of the nation.

According to her, all public servants are entitled to the housing loan and should take advantage of the scheme.

“At least the houses speak for themselves. It is not imaginary. This estate belongs literary to Federal civil servants who identified a developer and introduce the developer to us and instructed us to pay their own loan to the developer so that he can build houses for them and this houses you are seeing are houses that came through partnership between the developers and civil servants.”

“This estate is christened Amal Pepple Housing Estate, after one of our former Head of Service and for now, there are over 220 houses and more are going to be constructed because the land is very big,” she disclosed.

When giving an overview of the inspection, she said the Engr Ebele Okeke Housing Estate, also named after a former Head of Service which was earlier inspected will be commissioned in September.

She therefore urged the developers to ensure everything is completed before the day of commissioning.

“Liberty 1, which is now Engr Ebele Okeke Housing Estate is fully developed and occupied. You have seen it yourself, and Liberty 2, which is close to Liberty 1, we planned to commission it in July, but unfortunately the developers weren’t ready. So, we urge them to hasten and finish up. Because quite a number of the owners of the houses in that Estate want it as carcass so that they can redesign it the way they want.

“And i think we are contributing our quota as a Board maximally to the reduction of the housing deficit in the country especially now that we have a Government that is willing to provide houses for most citizens. You know Civil Servants are a critical sector in the citizenry of this country,”She said.

Talking on support from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, which the Board is under, she said the support is maximal.

“Everybody is giving us support otherwise you wouldn’t have seen what is on ground. Because housing is one of the programmes of government which is one of the major ones. She is giving us 100% support both morally and spiritually,” she said.

When asked if there could be an option of allocating lands to civil Servants to develop by themselves instead of houses, she noted that it’s a good idea, but it all boils down to the same thing, same expenses, giving the funds that will be used to build the house.
“but connected to that we have approached the FCT and it has given us land in Wasa district, which will make the houses more subsidised,” she explained.

Dr Fika further advised Civil servants to key into the Scheme even if it’s the carcass.

One of the developers, Arc Rotimi Fason, said his company is ready for the September commissioning.

“As you can see we have all equipment on ground including the transformer. We are currently working on the drainage and we will soon complete it,” he said.

About five housing estate were inspected by the Executive Secretary Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board within the FCT.

Why we must innovate now with housing to shape a better future

The world is an increasingly complex, rapidly changing and volatile place and people talk about the uncertainty of the future a lot.

However, there is a lot we already know about the likely themes of the future. We can’t predict all of it, but we can play our part in inventing the future by what actions we take now.

The future is not tomorrow, but starts today. Are we doing enough to innovate now to influence the future?

In practice, that means we will need to look more forensically at our existing and new homes, developments and places, and take action now to improve their sustainability and our long-term impact on the environment.

From enhancing energy efficiency and implementing new technologies, through to adopting innovative construction methods such as offsite manufacturing, there are many opportunities that we could and should pursue that could help to shape a greener future for all.

We have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for people looking for a home.

To be sustainable, communities need a choice of homes in a mix of tenures and at several price points.

So our focus should continue to be on housing numbers, but also types and tenures.

This includes investing in shared ownership and starter homes to give people the extra support they need to get onto the housing ladder, regardless of their age, financial circumstances or background.

We also know that our population is ageing fast, so we must find ways to ensure there is sufficient high-quality housing for the older generation.

Developing retirement properties that can meet the changing needs and expectations of older people will make a positive contribution to the wider housing market as well as local communities.

Increasingly, that will require us to alter the way we plan our cities, towns and villages, including paving the way for more retirement villages that improve the quality and experience of later life.

“If we don’t take the necessary steps now, experiment and be more proactive in our approach to housing delivery, we could face risks and missed opportunities”

This and housing for young people is also part of the answer to regenerating our emptying town centres.

Addressing these types of challenges isn’t easy, and there is still a lot to learn and implement. But if we don’t take the necessary steps now, experiment and be more proactive in our approach to housing delivery, we could face risks and missed opportunities.

Ultimately, the future is largely moulded by our actions now, so we should not be surprised by what it brings, whether that is positive or negative.

That is why our focus must be on learning what we need to do now to shape the best possible housing outcomes, including environmentally sustainable developments and high-quality thriving places that can meet the needs of all generations.

We can all do our part to invent the future by starting now.

David Cowans, group chief executive, Places for People

The Government’s Affordable Housing and National Mortgage Scheme

Affordable housing crisis spreads throughout world

Cities around the world, from New York to London to Stockholm to Sydney, are struggling to solve growing affordable housing crises.

California home prices are soaring. Here’s why

Acute shortages are persisting despite millions of dollars invested and hundreds of thousands of units built. Some countries have focused on solutions promoting unshackled free markets while others have turned more to rent control and subsidies

But no approach has solved the crises and most have other negative ripple effects.

Across 32 major cities around the world, real home prices on average grew 24% over the last five years, while average real income grew by only 8% over the same period, according to Knight Frank, a London-based real-estate consulting firm.

Economists say it is striking that affordability has worsened even during a period of global prosperity over the last six years. But income growth has been unable to keep pace with a rapid run-up in home prices.

Inflation-adjusted home-price gains have outpaced income growth over the last five years in 18 out of 25 world cities in the Knight Frank report. In two other places—Dubai and São Paulo—real incomes have fallen more than home prices, creating similar challenges.

Migration patterns have been partly to blame. Cities have thrived over the last decade, as jobs and people have migrated back downtown from far-flung suburbs.

“Global cities are suffering from affordability issues, partially as a result of their own success,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank.

Soaring prices are also being fueled by increasing demand from investors.

These have included domestic “mom-and-pop” investors buying second homes and foreign investors taking advantage of new technologies and an increasingly globalized financial system.

Governments haven’t had the money to subsidize new supply. Most budgets are strained by an aging population with growing pension and health-care needs.

The private sector has also fallen short.

In numerous hard hit cities, developers have built hundreds of thousands of units but most of them are priced at upscale buyers and renters, not the middle and working class people who are being priced out of the market.

Tokyo is one of the few cities in which supply has kept up with demand, keeping a crisis from developing. But that is due largely to deregulated housing policies that other countries would have a hard time reproducing.

“It goes against the notion of planning and developing cities in an orderly fashion,” said Laurence Troy, research fellow at the City Futures Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

To keep a lid on prices, governments in some countries, including Canada and Australia, have added taxes aimed at curbing purchases by investors or foreigners.

Buying by Chinese investors, who have been particularly active during most of the decade, has declined because of recent capital controls in that country.

These trends, coupled with a glut of luxury supply, have damped prices in some of the frothiest markets.

In Sydney, the median house price at the end of last year was about $1.1 million Australian dollars ($780,000 U.S.), down about 11.3% from the peak hit in 2017, according to CBRE Group Inc.

A few years ago, prices in Vancouver and Toronto were growing by up to 30% annually.

But today they’re virtually flat, thanks in part to a steep sales tax aimed at foreign buyers and tightened rules to make it more difficult for families to qualify for mortgages.

“Basically what we are doing now is we are undoing crazy years,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc.

Still, while these markets have cooled, prices are unaffordable to middle-class families. In Sydney, they’re still about 12 times the median income, compared with eight to 10 in markets where prices are considered more affordable.

“When you’ve gone up 90% and you come down 10%, you’re still up 80%,” said Bradley Speers, head of research for CBRE’s Australia business.

The public and private sectors are searching for new solutions. Cities such as London and New York have rezoned swaths of land to allow for more high-rise construction or relaxed rules to allow for smaller unit sizes.

Architecture and construction firms are trying out new construction techniques made possible by advances in technology.

For example, U.K. architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is looking at ways to expand to the suburbs the modular construction techniques it pioneered with its pilot Y:Cube development.

“A lot of the neighbors looked at these and asked where they could get one in their backyard for their parents,” said Ivan Harbour, senior partner with the firm.

Meanwhile, housing is becoming an increasingly charged political issue, with proposals to expand rent control cropping up in places such as California, Germany and London.

Affordable housing has also become a big issue in the coming Australian election, with the Labor Party advocating measures intended to boost new supply and reduce speculation.

Opponents of these measures warn that they could send the softening market further into a tailspin.

In Sweden, Stefan Löfven was able to eke out reelection as prime minister earlier this year but only after agreeing to numerous policies of other parties including one involving deregulating rents for tenants in newly constructed buildings, to encourage new supply. But many don’t expect any action soon because the government coalition is tenuous.

“Given the government we have in place, it unfortunately looks like it could be another four years without anything really happening,” said Albin Sandberg, an analyst with Kepler Cheuvreux, a financial-services firm.

List of Savings and Loans Companies in good standing after clean-up

The Bank of Ghana last Friday decided to revoke the licenses of some 15 savings and loans companies which it said were insolvent and could no longer meet the obligations of customers.

The central bank’s action left 25 savings and loans companies in good standing.

Below are the Savings and Loans companies that are currently in good standing, according to the BoG:

ABii National Savings and Loans Ltd

Adehyeman Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans Ltd.

Asa Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Assurance Savings and Loans Ltd.

Bond Savings and Loans Ltd.

Best Point Savings and Loans Ltd.

Bayport Savings and Loans Plc.

Direct Savings and Loans Ltd.

Equity Savings and Loans Ltd.

Golden Link Savings & Loans Ltd.

Golden Pride Savings and Loans Ltd.

Izwe Savings and Loans Ltd.

Jins Savings and Loans Ltd.

Letshego Ghana Savings and Loans Plc

Multi Credit Savings & Loans Co. Ltd.

Opportunity International Savings and Loans Co. Ltd.

Pacific Savings & Loans Co. Ltd.

Pan-African Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Progress Savings and Loans Ltd.

Services Integrity Savings and Loans Ltd.

SIC Life Savings and Loans Ltd.

Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

The Seed Funds Savings and Loans Ltd.

Utrak Savings and Loans Ltd.

Presidency queries FIRS boss over N12.6tr tax collection

The Presidency appears displeased with the taxes the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has collected in the last three years.

This is despite the fact that the FIRS generated the largest revenue in the nation’s tax history when it collected N5.3 trillion in taxes in 2018 and is targeting N8 trillion in 2019.

The Presidency conveyed its displeasure at the FIRS’ collection efforts in a query issued to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Tunde Fowler by the Chief of Staff to the President Alhaji Abba Kyari.

The query circulating in the social media titled: “RE: Budgeted FIRS Collections and actual collections” reads: “Your attached letter (FIRS/EC/ECW/0249/19/027 dated 26 July 2019) on the above subject matter refers.

“We observed significant variances between the budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.

“Accordingly, you are kindly invited to submit a comprehensive variance analysis explaining the reasons for the variances between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for each of the years 2015 to 2018.

The query marked “Restricted” added that “we observed that the actual collections for the period 2015 to 2017 were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014. Accordingly, you are kindly invited to explain the reason for the poor collections.”

Kyari directed Fowler “to respond by 19 August 2019.”

The development has raised questions over the propriety of the query given that there is no Minister of Finance and did the query come from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

In January 2019, Executive Chairman of the FIRS Mr. Tunde Fowler announced in Lagos that the Service broke its collection records by generating N5.3 trillion from taxes collected and is targeting N8 trillion for 2019.

According to Fowler, the N5.320 trillion collection is considered to be the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history.

The highest in FIRS was N5.07 trillion generated in 2012 under Ms. Ifueko Omoigue.

Fowler said “FIRS’ generation of N5.3 trillion is significant as it was at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2010 and 2013.”

In realizing this milestone, the FIRS boss noted that the non-oil component of the N5.320 trillion is N2.467 trillion that was (53.62 per cent), while the oil element of the collection was N2.852 trillion (46.38 per cent). From audit alone, the FIRS collected N212,792 billion from  2,278 cases with a huge reduction in audit circle.

Inspite of this achievement, Tunde Fowler lamented that: “while we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016 we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.” The FIRS is entitled to 4% cost of collection.

He added: “The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. Non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%.

“This represents the government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.”

Johannesburg to launch new high density housing scheme

City of Johannesburg in South Africa is set to launch a new high-density housing scheme. The city’s Mayor, Herman Mashaba announced the reports and said that the housing development are aimed at integrating mixed-income groups to achieve social, economic, and spatial integration.

High density housing scheme

Mashaba said that the development being built by Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), is part of the four sites zoned for high density residential projects across the country. It forms part of a mixed integrated housing development, with 24 buildings consisting of two and three storey walk-up apartment and blocks with a total 407 rental units.

The new high density of social housing scheme will be built in Lufhereng Ext. 1 in Soweto. The building will accommodate mixed income households with gross income ranging from US $98.17 to US $981.6 per month. These units also comprise of bonded-housing, Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) and Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses.

Mashaba added that the project will feature and incorporate optimal water and energy efficient practices such as solar geysers, energy efficient lighting, insulation, waste management initiatives, as well as water harvesting directly from the roofs.

“The development of new and improvement existing affordable rental housing opportunities for the residents of Johannesburg is critical for driving our economy, and stimulating the creation of much-needed jobs. The City is therefore committed to designing and building quality, resource efficient, economically sustainable and affordable housing, located in neighborhoods that have easy access to transport nodes, which links to job opportunities, and ultimately, better quality of life,” said the mayor.

Nigerian government reaffirms commitment to housing delivery


The Nigerian Government has reiterated its commitment to provide affordable housing especially among public servants in the country.The Executive Secretary, Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board, Dr Hannatu Fika stated this when she led a delegation of the board members on a courtesy visit to the Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, Mr Ahmed Kangiwa, in Abuja.

Dr Fika said that the visit was to allow the Loans Board and FMBN to talk and find ways of ensuring that more public servants owned decent houses.

“Each time you listen to Mr President talk about social welfare issues, housing is always mentioned. So, how do the two of us, FMBN and FGSHLB come together to support the programmes of the present government especially at this next level?,” she asked.

She noted that the partnership between the two bodies had been a success story especially the 2.6 billion naira approved and released to 3,034 public servants in loan, for renovation of houses.

“In 2015, you know, we started off and since then happily for the civil servants, you know they are the recipients, around 3,034 public servants as of today, have had 1million naira and slightly below, approved for them which the aggregate comes up to about 2.6 billion naira. It’s a very heart warming thing and we thought having been successful in this partnership, we thought it was ideal for us to come back to the Federal Mortgage Bank where we started. Thank you very much for making this available to the public servants,” Dr Fika added.

The Executive Secretary however said despite the achievements recorded, there is more to be done in the provision of housing for public Servants.

“I am aware that you have this project of Rent-to-own product which you have started practicalising, however, you know more civil servants will own homes if we are able to partner, because we have been brainstorming in it and we found out that when you give a house to a civil servant and then you are expecting them to pay in something, in form of rent so that they can be reducing the balance that is outstanding against them, there will be some challenges, so we thought why don’t we continue with our partnership because we are already successful partners we can also come up with this” she said.

The Managing Director, FMBN, Mr Kangiwa said that the visit was timely owing to the increasing demand by public servants to own houses adding that it was part of the strategic focus of the bank to strengthen the partnership with stakeholders in order to promote the mutual understanding for the achievements and purpose for which the bank was established.

“The FGSHLB is a critical stakeholder in the National Housing Fund because it partners with the bank through intermediation between the bank and Federal civil servants, especially for the home renovation loans that was well conceived,” he explained.

He encouraged more civil servants to key into the National Housing Fund to own a house through mortgage.

“The FGSHLB being the housing outfit for the civil servants is of interest to the FMBN and we will continue to support you to get loans for the civil servants”.

“Any federal civil servant that belongs to a cooperative can approach the bank through a selected developer to get their construction loan,” the Managing Director assured.

Mr Kangiwa also said the bank has introduced the Rent-to-own product with houses in over 20 States of the Federation and is available and accessible to all State and Federal civil servants.

“Its one of the housing projects we have off loaded under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Programme, FISH.” he added.

by HousingNews

We Need A Whole New Generation Of People Who Can Think Differently About Home Design

The architect wants the government to build 100,000 council homes a year

George Clarke is back on our television screens, this time with the programme, George Clarke’s Council House Scandal, which makes the case for building more social rented housing. The campaign goes beyond the television screen, having its own website, a petition and a brownfield site in Manchester where Clarke will be practising what he preaches with a demonstration project.

The campaign calls on the government to build 100,000 council homes a year, but Clarke knows that’s a big ask, and that behind it lie a string of deep-rooted challenges. Ultimately the way in which homes are delivered and built needs to change, Clarke says, and he is on a mission to help make that happen with this campaign and initiatives such as his charity, the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (Mobie). Why do it? “It’s not for me, or for the television,” he says, “but because the system is broken.”

We need a whole new generation of people who can think differently about how homes are designed

Tell us about the series and the campaign?

“I’ve wanted to make this programme for years and asked Channel 4 if I could do it six years ago. I grew up in a council house in the new town of Washington (in Sunderland) and it gave me security, stability and a home for life.

“The government believes homeownership is the only way to social mobility, but that isn’t true. There is now such a low number of truly affordable homes being built that it is increasing the social stigma around the homes. The government needs to step in and back the building of new homes, and there needs to be suspension of right-to-buy in England and Northern Ireland to allow us to replenish stock.

“A strong, stable home benefits wellbeing, but without it everything in life is a fight and a struggle.”

What’s your demonstration project in Manchester?

George Clarke6

“I’m working with Manchester city council on a site that will have around 70 homes. This is not about ticking boxes. I want good space standards, great ceiling heights, and some of the homes will be built using offsite manufacture. I’ve created some offsite homes for Smith’s Dock in North Shields, the development by Urban Splash and Places for People. The homes have ceiling heights of up to 2.9 metres and lots of natural light.

“Washington didn’t just have decent houses, it had green spaces and amenities. I am going to struggle to get amenities into the Manchester scheme because the scale is small and there are maintenance concerns around features like green space. It is heartbreaking, because as a lad I was lucky enough to have all that.

“The project is being designed and will go in for planning soon. I’m hoping it will be built next year.”

Is broader change needed in the industry?

“The government owns a shedload of land, it has Homes England, it has a country with the best designers in the world and massive housing need. But the government isn’t backing the building of truly affordable homes and the biggest and most powerful housebuilders are building for profit, not people.

“Housebuilders will argue that they can’t improve building or design standards because it will push up house prices. So, if you raise design standards and increase the price of every new home, it is the land price that should fall when organisations are bidding for land. To make it work, land would come down in price.

“As a culture we need to value great design, and I’m not just saying that as an architect. Great design is about buildings, spaces – it is life-changing stuff.

“And then there’s procurement, which is in the dark ages. We have young designers who cannot get onto frameworks and the OJEU process, which is painful.”

What part does offsite manufacture have to play in this?

“I’m heavily involved in manufacturing, have worked on modular homes and am passionate about it, but really it is a means to a better end. My mum doesn’t care if her home is modular or not. Modular and factory building allow us to create precision engineered homes – design for manufacture, rather than design for construction – for improved quality.

“But there are some offsite manufacturers that are not doing R&D and are not leading by design. They are making standard house types available and that’s a race to the bottom. There should be a long-term sustainable approach. I feel sorry for councils like Redbridge, which featured in the programme, which are turning to solutions like that out of a sense of emergency – they are trying to fix an urgent problem.

George Clarke3

What progress is your educational charity Mobie making?

“We need a whole new generation of people who can think differently about how homes are designed, about materials and the supply chain. We need a new education system to train architects for manufacture. A lot of Mobie students are taught by manufacturers.

“Mobie has been running for two years and is creating an educational pathway from BTEC to post-graduate level. It is about taking a 30, 40 or 50 year approach and creating generational change. We need to change the system.

“We have our first intake of around 20 students on our first MSc in Advanced Home Futures graduating this August and I’m working hard to get them jobs. We have a BTEC course in Construction and the Built Environment – these students are usually aged around 16-18, but we have students in their 20s too.

“We are developing Saturday workshops, outside the national curriculum, for schools, which will have design challenges for 14-16 year olds. And we’re advertising for our first cohort of students for our PhD in Advanced Home Futures.

What’s your biggest concern?

“My biggest worry is that the rush to build homes has become a numbers game for politicians. Whatever the government, politicians have not been solving the problems and have not had a long-term plan.

“Minister after minister says they are committed to delivering 300,000 homes. How many times have they said it? James Brokenshire texted me on the day the series began to say he was disappointed that he couldn’t carry on the work in this area. I’ve contacted Esther McVey. I’m prepared to keep at this. I will do it for the rest of my life if I have

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