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How technology is connecting people and property, disrupting market

Nigerians are getting smarter; thanks to technology, which is shaping the way people live, communicate, work, play, interact and transact business in Nigeria.
Although there are still some sectors that are yet to catch up with technological advancements, many have however evolved with technology resulting in ease of operations and better customer service.

The real estate industry is one of such sectors that have grown at an exceptional rate. The birth of online property platforms in Africa’s most populous nation is making transactions among developers, property owners, prospective buyers, and potential tenants easier, compared to the cumbersome processes witnessed a few years ago.

At one of the West Africa Property Investment Summits (WAPI), industry players were of the opinion that the deployment of technology would make Nigeria’s real estate sector more investable, increase liquidity and drive greater home ownership.

“Think back to the 80s and 90s, if you were going to purchase a property, you would spend many days trying to find a decent agent who will charge you high fees to take you from property to property in only a few locations -meaning he was limited,” Yemi Johnson, the Chief Operating Office of, said.

Statistics have shown that 7 out of 10 Nigerians feel that house hunting is painful, as it usually starts with calling friends or walking long distances with a road side agent who, more often than not, does have direct access to landlord, thereby making one pay multiple ‘agent’ fees.

“With my mobile phone, I was able to connect with a landlord online and in few days I got an apartment without having to meet up with any agent and paying for any extra charges,” Arua Nnamdi told BusinessDay.

According to Nnamdi Chineme, CEO of Nigeria Property Centre, an online platform that advertises real estate properties, his experience in renting a flat in Nigeria in 2008 and the UK in 2009 was the reason he decided to set up his company. He said it took about six months to find a flat in Lagos while in the UK he found one in just a week. The difference, he added, was down to the use of technology.

“Historically, in Nigeria, the speed of finding a property to rent or buy was mostly dependent on the estate agents the person knew and the network of those estate agents. Today, with the use of technology in the form of Property Portals, people can find a property as much as ten times faster,” Chineme explained.

Technology based (online) property platforms like (formerly,,, Nigeria Property Centre, Lamudi which has now rebranded to Jumia Houses, Real Estate Market, estate intel, etc have brought technology to bear on real estate transactions, making listing, leases and sales a lot easier

“The adoption of Proptech is increasingly becoming a boon for the real estate sector in Nigeria,” Abdulhakeem Sadiq, chief executive officer of ZAMA, said in a statement.

“Now, a student could seamlessly find and rent an accommodation in no time whenever and wherever he/she may be as we provide critical information such as photographs, reviews & ratings, pricing, etc about available spaces for rent,” Joel Amawhe ,CEO of said.

As it happens in other sectors of the economy, technology has penetrated the real estate sector and has disrupted the status quo, contracting jobs and creating new opportunities, especially for the millennial.

Checks by BusinessDay revealed that even though technology has positively impacted the property industry in Nigeria, it has also caused disruption for traditional players in the industry. Going forward, real estate agents, developers, landlords and investors who are not open to embrace technology or become innovative over time will lag in the growth of the sector, industry experts have said.

“I have registered with three different online platforms, two of which I paid money for subscription, and since the time I uploaded my vacant properties on the sites, I get more than 10 calls a day from people who want to rent apartments. My fellow agents have been begging me to link them to the online platforms so they can be getting clients like myself , but I am still thinking about it whether or not I will link them,” jerry Adenekan, a real estate agent in Unilag axis told BusinessDay by phone.

BusinessDay findings revealed that the online market place in Nigeria is growing at a pace higher than even the country’s economy, and the real estate sector is among other industries who are directly impacted by the revolution.

The recent development has given room for the existence of new tech start-ups in a country where housing deficit is above 17 million units fuelled by the ever growing population.

A recent report by Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) revealed that Nigeria was second African country with highest technology hub after South Africa with Lagos taking the first position among the cities with highest tech hub in the continent.

The Protech industry in Nigeria is however constrained by the not too favourable network service (in terms of connectivity), power failure (energy to power the system) and cost (of obtaining data). These challenges influence and determine the effective use of the internet for real estate transactions in Nigeria, as compiled from BusinessDay survey.

Analysts familiar with the sector said the government does not in any way regulate the Protech industry- different medium and the online platforms where Nigerians search for properties, as such poses may be used by some fraudulent individuals.

“The internet and technology generally no doubt remains a major tool to change narratives of real estate players but there exist challenges hindering a wider use mostly due to scepticism of using online platforms, low internet penetration in remote areas and more,” Amawhe said.

Going forward, analysts expect to see more use of technology in the real estate space especially with virtual reality and drones for property viewings.

By Endurance Okafor

13th AIHS: The Perfect Event for Profitable Business Matchmaking

If you are part of a small and medium business (SMB) and have never heard of Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) Business Matchmaking, then this is the right place for you to get started.

The Abuja International Housing Show is a conference, networking and exhibition event attended by over 40, 00 participants from across the world with the purpose of connecting small businesses with major corporations and government agencies.

Many SMBs are constantly challenged by figuring out ways to increase their revenue and find means to connect with major corporations and government agencies. The AIHS Business Matchmaking event is a prime opportunity for SMB’s to meet with various potential customers and have a guaranteed time slot to present their products and services.

The organisers will mix and match buyers and sellers to customize an event that works best for them. The setup of the event includes information about the type of #b2bmeetings that will take place, how many appointments each small business is allotted, and the duration of each appointment.

Matching can be done by allowing buyers and sellers to search profiles and filter companies based on criteria such as unique commodity, business categories, diversity type, revenues, size of the company, and geographic location. Additional information will be available on the AIHS website and the AIHS Mobile App on Google store.

While the organisers will schedule moments for buyers and sellers to meet themselves and matchmate ideas and businesses, they would also allow them to on their own choose their unique preferences.

With over 400 exhibitors, this has always been a goldmine for businesses and corporations in the housing and construction industry to strike up life changing partnerships and investments. Over the years, at least 10, 000 small and medium businesses have been matchmated with big time investors and clients at the show with ripple economic benefits for not just Nigerian housing market, but the global market as investors troop in from at least 15 countries every year.

This year’s which will commence from 23rd to 26th July 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja will be declared open by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo alongside former and present governors, ministers, national assembly members, commissioners, CEOs, permanent secretaries, directors and all professional bodies in the housing and construction industry.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Fire razes more than 150 homes in DR Congo

A massive fire sparked in a house where a woman fried doughnuts near cans of petrol, has razed more than 150 homes in the eastern DR Congo, killing a seven-year-old girl, officials and residents said Monday.

The fire broke out Sunday evening in the city of Bukavu, where locals were celebrating the country’s 4-0 African Cup of Nations victory over Zimbabwe.

“The fire started in a house where a woman was preparing doughnuts and where a fuel seller kept at least ten cans of petrol,” civil protection official Aime Lubago told AFP.

Mayor Gerard Munyole of the Kadutu commune struck by the blaze said a child was killed, three people injured, and 150 homes burned down, leaving about 400 families roofless.

Another source said more than 200 homes were destroyed.

“We have nothing left. We spent the night under the stars, (me,) my six children and my wife,” said 59-year-old victim Boaz Bahati.

A firetruck sent to the scene Sunday could not find its way through the tightly-packed maze of houses built in contravention of urban planning regulations, Lubago said.

Another fire razed dozens of houses in another Bukavu suburb last August.

Constructed on the flanks of hills overlooking Lake Kivu, the city — a mix of shacks and villas — is densely populated.

Source: (AFP)

Flats are losing thousands of pounds in value: are first-time buyers to blame?

The average UK flat has fallen in value by £3,000 in the space of a year, despite overall property prices increasing.

The property portal Zoopla claims this is due to first-time buyers shunning city pads for larger houses in the commuter belt, as they focus on long-term aspirations rather than rushing to get on to the property ladder.

Here, we explain where prices are falling by the biggest margin and offer advice on whether you should hold out for a house.

Flat values: how far have they fallen?

The Land Registry’s House Price Index shows that the average price of UK property grew by 1.4% year-on-year in April 2019.

When we look solely at flats, however, we instead see a decrease of 1.6%, as shown in the graph below.


The data paints a similar picture on a regional level, too. For example, house prices have been falling across the board in London, but the decline has been steeper for flats.

The region with the biggest disparity between house and flat prices is the North East, where flats fell by 2.3%, but overall property prices rose by 2%.

Northern Ireland is the only region which saw flat prices outgrow the overall average. Here, average prices for all houses rose by 3.5%, compared to a 4.3% rise for flats.

The interactive chart shows how year-on-year flat price growth compares to overall property price growth in each region in April 2019.

Why are flat prices falling?

Changes to the housing market are driven by a whole host of factors.

For example, some experts argue that Brexit has affected house prices by adding a large helping of uncertainty to the market.

But why is it that flats, specifically, are falling in value while house prices in general are rising?

Zoopla suggests that first-time buyers are the traditional flat-buying audience, and that recently they have decided to ‘leapfrog’ these smaller homes in favour of houses.

The property portal says this theory is supported by the rising average age of first-time buyers.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that first-time buyers were 33 years old in 2017-18, up from 31 in 2007-8.

Another factor could be a lack of investment from buy-to-let landlords, who also traditionally buy flats and maisonettes. A whole host of taxation changes and government reforms have dissuaded investors from expanding their portfolios.

Has the ‘bank of mum and dad’ played a role?

It’s also possible that first-time buyers are now being given greater help to buy a long-term home rather than a flat.

The financial services company Legal & General recently released its latest ‘bank of mum and dad’ survey. It found that parents are lending their children increasingly large sums to help them get onto the property ladder – with the average parental loan expected to be £24,000 this year.

Buyers who received help from their parents were most often buying two or three-bedroom homes.

Should you ‘leapfrog’ buying a flat?

So is it really worth waiting a little longer and buying a larger property?

On the one hand, flat prices are falling, making them more affordable and therefore more appealing for cash-strapped first-time buyers.

But buying a home is expensive, even when you ignore the property price.

Mortgage fees, valuation fees, survey fees, conveyancing fees, insurance premiums – all these things add up. So if you’re planning to climb the property ladder soon, waiting and buying a bigger property could help you avoid paying these costs more than once.

And since first-time buyers in England and Wales are exempt from stamp duty for homes up to £300,000, if you can afford to buy a house priced close to that limit, you’ll be saving even more.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Source: Which UK

How cement makers turned Nigeria’s big challenge into opportunity

Once upon a time, Nigeria imported cement in millions of metric tons (MT). Lafarge was the only major cement maker in Nigeria and could not even satisfy one-thirds of the market. China, India, Brazil and several countries found Nigeria a big export market.

Annual cement production between 1999 and 2002 was around 1.7 million MT, but demand was almost 8 million MT.

In 2002, Olusegun Obasanjo, then president of Nigeria, challenged the likes of Aliko Dangote, today’s Africa’s richest man, to move into the cement production business. Obasanjo came up with a policy that revolutionised the cement industry. The policy was simple: Unless you set up a local cement plant, you would not be allowed to import. Nigeria’s population was rapidly growing and it was becoming clear that cement demand would be rising. With a rising population, infrastructure gap was widening.

Between 2006 and 2007, Dangote set up local plants while Lafarge expanded. The likes of Unicem and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) came on board later to chase market share. In December 2018, CCNN merged with BUA’s Kalambaina plant in Sokoto, North-West Nigeria.

From mere 7.5 or 8 million metric tons, demand has shot up four times since 2002. Local production of cement is over 40 million MT today, with Dangote pushing out 70 percent of the entire capacity. Dangote has moved to Edo (Okpella) and Ogun (Itori), with the two plants having a capacity of nine million MT. Dangote has since then established many cement plants across Africa.

“Sales of cement from our Nigerian plants increased by 11.4 per cent to 14.2 million MT in 2018,” Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, said on June 18, 2019, at an annual general meeting in Lagos.

The entry of BUA changed the face of the industry, with expansion happening so fast. Fewer than six months after commissioning its 1.5million MT Kalambaina Cement Plant in Sokoto State, BUA completed its newest Obu plant in Edo State, with a capacity of three million MT annually.

This brings the total capacity of BUA Obu cement operations to six million tonnes and moves the entire group’s installed capacity to eight million MT. The cement plant started three years ago when BUA engaged Sinoma at the height of foreign exchange crisis and began production in March last year.

The plant runs on coal, heavy oils or a mixture of both, and the use of coal is expected to save over 70 percent of energy costs compared with 15 million litres of fuel oil per month or 40 tonnes or even 20 trucks of fuel that could have been used per day.

“We have built a 32 megawatts multi-fuel captive power plant and a coal mill. To put this in perspective, this new plant will be generating more power than is currently generated by the entire Sokoto State,” Abdul Samad Rabiu, chairman and CEO of BUA Group, said in Sokoto in 2018.

Lafarge has been conservative in cement investment over the years in Nigeria, but it remains a strong player in concrete. It recently divested its South African operations with a sale to another affiliate of LafargeHolcim Group.

Cement revenue and profits have helped to turn entrepreneurs into mega billionaires. Between the first quarter of 2015 and that of 2019, cement makers listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (Dangote, Lafarge, and CCNN) grew revenue from N180 billion to N236 billion. The number certainly exceeds N200 billion if BUA is factored in.

In Q1 of 2019, they grew revenue by four percent. In fact, Dangote is already exporting the product while BUA is exploring markets in Nigeria, Burkina Faso and other parts of West Africa.

The huge opportunity found by cement makers is down to the country’s huge infrastructure gap.

The gap is so huge that Nigeria has to spend $100 billion for the next six years to close the hiatus, according to Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). A federal government data show the country must spend three to five percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to bridge the gap.

The Financial Derivatives Company, an economic and financial research firm, puts its own estimate at $15bn annually for 15 years.

Roads are bad but increased spending to close the gap by federal and state governments is providing opportunities for manufacturers who supply cement and concretes.

Nigeria has a population of 200 million people but housing deficit is between 17 and 20 million units. Houses are springing up in cities and must be built with cement and other materials. Bridges are also critical. Federal and state governments are embarking on several bridges now and again, and cement makers are always in the mix.

More opportunities are even knocking. The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa says that currently, Nigeria has a low homeownership rate as its housing production is roughly 100,000 units, yearly which are below one million units needed annually to bridge the gap by 2033.

The transport sector is a determinant for a country’s economic development. According to an infrastructure report for 2017, budgetary allocations for the transport sector was N19.5 billion in 2015, N424.27 and N365.1 billion in 2016 and 2017 respectively.


By Odinaka Anudu & Gbemi Faminu

NSE to engage CBN on banking sector recapitalisation — Onyema

THE Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has said that it will dialogue with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in implementation of a fresh banks’ recapitalisation as capital base weakens. The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, stated this at the Rand Merchant Bank, RMB, Nigeria Economic and Business Conference in Lagos last week

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele He noted that though the Exchange did not have full picture of the recapitalisation plan, it pledged to engage the apex bank on the way forward, adding that the last banking sector recapitalisation in 2005 raised the sophistication and liquidity of the Nigerian capital market. Recapitalisation : Shareholders laud NAICOM’s cancellation

“We are still studying the pronouncement that was made last week; we are not quite sure what it means, but what I can say is that historically if you look at the last big recapitalization efforts for the banking sector, the capital market was greatly used for raising the financing and indeed it was very beneficial to the capital market to the extent that the market became more sophisticated and a lot more players came into the market from the investors perspective,” he said.

He added:
“Till today, the financial sector is still one of the most liquid sectors listed on the stock exchange. So, we know that potentially, it could be very beneficial to the capital market.

” Speaking in the same vein, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, Professor of Capital Market and Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Abuja branch, said that five year policy thrust is a good development with a lot of positive impact on the economy, adding that the recapitalisation of banks would strengthen financial system stability and put the banks in a stronger position to finance big projects needed for development as well as play in the global scene.

He commended the CBN on the plan to scale up the anchor borrower programme and target of massive funding support for 10 commodities that consume a lot of foreign exchange (forex) to import, saying that it would help to conserve forex, grow external reserves, reduce food prices and possibly create job opportunities.

Source: Vanguard Ngr

Power grid suffers total collapse, TCN may expel Discos

The nation’s power grid recorded its eighth total collapse this year on Sunday, plunging consumers across the country into blackout for some hours.

The government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, which manages the grid, blamed electricity distribution companies for the system failure, which it said occurred at 9.10 am.

Total generation stood at 3,825 megawatts as of 6.00 am on Sunday, compared to 3,260.9MW on Saturday, the data obtained from the Nigeria Electricity System Operator, an arm of the TCN, showed.

The grid suffered four total collapses in January and one each in February, April and May, according to the system operator.

Enugu Electricity Distribution Plc had announced on its Twitter handle on Sunday afternoon that “the present loss of supply in the entire South-East is as a result of a system collapse which occurred at 09.21 am of today, 30th June, 2019.”

“This is as a result of a fire outbreak on Benin 330KV transmission line reactor. As a result of this unfortunate development, there is zero supply to all customers in our franchise areas as all our injection substations are affected,” it added.

Another Disco, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc, also informed its customers about the system failure from the national grid.

“We are currently experiencing a system collapse from the national grid, hence the power outage in our franchise states. Normal supply to our customers will resume as soon as the national grid is back up and stable,” it said on Twitter.

The TCN, in a statement made available to our correspondent around 6.28 pm, said the national grid experienced a system collapse today at 9.10 am due to high voltage following a massive drop of load by the electricity distribution companies.

It said the high voltage also caused a fire incident in the 75MX reactor in the Benin Substation, Sapele Road in Benin City, Edo State.

“The massive load drop led to high voltage in the system, which shattered the lightning arrester in close proximity to the 75MX reactor in Benin Substation. The shattered lightning arrester porcelain hit the reactor bushing, causing a further explosion on the reactor and resulting in a fire outbreak.”

The TCN said the restoration of the grid commenced immediately and as of 1.30pm, bulk power supply to most parts of the nation had been restored.

The company said it had commenced the movement of another reactor to Benin City to replace the burnt reactor and ensure voltage stability in the city as well as prevent a re-occurrence.

It said, “Management would also ensure a review of the entire protection and earthing system nationwide. This is done in addition to the overall upgrading of the system through the TREP programme being financed by multi-lateral donors.

“The installation of three reactors on the Ikot-Ekpene-Ugwuaji–Jos line has reached an advance stage. It is expected that once these three reactors are installed and inaugurated, the grid would be further stabilised. TCN management wishes to assure Nigerians that it is doing everything possible to modernise, upgrade and stabilise the national grid.”

Meanwhile, the TCN has said it may expel some Discos from the market as a result of their inability to provide their security cover.

Last week, the Market Operator, an arm of the TCN, ordered the suspension of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company and Eko Electricity Distribution Company from the MO-administered markets for failing to renew their security cover.

According to the TCN, security cover when so required of an amount established by Market Operator to serve as a form of guarantee of payment for all amounts due from the participant to the MO.

The Managing Director, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said Enugu Disco was given a disconnection notice while Ikeja and Eko Discos only got a notice of suspension from the market.

He said if they don’t make good within a certain period of time, the next thing that will happen is that they will be expelled, and when they are expelled, it means that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will be notified that those people are incapable of meeting their responsibilities in the market, so NERC should invoke its business continuity regulation to ensure that they are replaced.

“We did not disconnect Eko and Ikeja Discos because the gravity of their offence did not warrant that. But in Enugu, we disconnected some lines. When they (Enugu Disco) make good, they will be restored to the market. But if they don’t, they will go to the next level, which is expulsion.”

Source: Punch Ng


Can CBN save the Naira and save Nigerians?

THE Naira exchange rate has suffered severe battering in recent times and fallen from about N160 to the present N197=$; even when our national experience suggests a close correlation between deepening poverty and weakening Naira exchange rates.

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele Coronation Research Weekly Report: Market interest rates edge upwards(Opens in a new browser tab) Evidently, the unyielding youth exodus and the mass migration of skilled professionals to more prosperous economies, certainly took root as Naira exchange rate plummeted from 50kobo to N200=$, even when we celebrate bountiful export dollar reserves; furthermore, over 100 million Nigerians, reportedly, now also live below the poverty benchmark of $2/day (N12,000/month), while, regrettably our rapidly expanding industrial landscape has shrunk significantly and become more challenging and uncompetitive, as production costs have skyrocketed with serial Naira devaluations!

Interestingly, the gradual collapse of the manufacturing subsector and the consequent explosion in unemployment, clearly do not support the popular belief that weaker Naira exchange rates would support economic diversification and also promote exports of Made-in-Nigeria goods.

Consequently, Nigerians must be wary of any persuasion that prescribes further Naira devaluation as the antidote to our beleaguered economy. Historically, the CBN, compulsively, devalued Naira rate to bridge the increasingly widening gap between official and parallel exchange rates, even when these gaps were caused by the contrived monopolistic market dynamics of demand and supply.

Arguably, it would undoubtedly create much discomfort for CBN Management, if unrestrained dollar demand, further, pushes parallel market rates well above N300=$1; in such event, CBN may again, unwittingly, jerk up the official rate above N300 and remove the embedded ‘subsidy’ from the prevailing arbitrarily fixed official Naira exchange rate to raise dollar price and discourage demand pressure to minimise the opportunities for rent seeking.

Regrettably, nonetheless, a 50% devaluation to N300=$1 would severely deplete all Naira income values and induce panic amongst Naira income holders, who would seek to protect their income from another round of devaluation; sadly such response would simply instigate more dollar demand.
Ultimately, if CBN cannot restore public confidence in Naira as a store of value, another widening gap, between official and parallel market Naira exchange rates will again evolve and make serial Naira devaluations inevitable.

Incidentally, the Ghanaian currency, the CEDI followed a similar trajectory from 1Cedi=$1 to eventually exchange for 10,000 Cedis before the 4 decimal redenomination of the currency in 2007;

Instructively, however, the Ghanaian authorities still failed, abysmally, to control excess supply of CEDI liquidity and the New Ghana Cedi, inevitably, traded above 4 New Ghana Cedis i.e. 40,000 old Cedis, to a dollar a decade or so thereafter. Consequently in 2015, the IMF provides over $900m emergency loan, so that Ghana’s market dollar deficit would shrink and protect the Cedi exchange rate; regrettably, however, the end of the travails of the Ghanaian currency remains out of sight.

Clearly, Godwin Emefiele, must be concerned that the fortunes of the Naira do not also mirror the story of the CEDI; indeed the forex controls that CBN announced in January 2016 are clearly foraging attempts to protect the Naira value and thereby save more Nigerians from falling below the poverty benchmark. The million Naira question, however, is whether or not CBN’s market control measures can effectively reduce the pressure of dollar demand and stablise or indeed improve the Naira exchange rate?
Nonetheless, in his defence of the ban of almost 3000 Bureau de Change from official forex allocations, Emefiele, expressed grave concern that BDC operators had abandoned the original objective to serve retail end users who need $5000 or less. Conversely, according to Emefiele, “the currency dealers have become wholesale dealers in foreign exchange to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction” while they “criminally, thereafter, allegedly, use fake documentations, such as passports, etc to render weekly returns to CBN.”

It is not clear how much tax was generated from these mega transactions! Inexplicably, however, no known BDC operator has so far been prosecuted for any wrongdoing! It is bewildering, nonetheless, that inspite of the host of eminent intellects and considerable IMF’s regular oversight, the Apex bank, in Emefiele’s words, ONLY LATELY recognized, that “Nigeria is the only country in the world where a Central Banks sells dollars directly to BDCs!”

Furthermore, it is equally baffling that no one wondered, not even the equally star studded Monetary Policy Committee and our well travelled and exposed media practitioners, why the number of registered operators rose steadily from “a mere 74 in 2005 to 2786”, since CBN began direct forex sales to BDCs. Equally worrisome, also, is the CBN’s incredible belated realisation, despite several articles by this writer in various Public media, since 2004, that BDCs provide a ready conduit for money laundering, round tripping, as well as the funding of unauthorized imports which challenge the competitiveness of local industries.

(See; for article titled “Funding smuggling and money laundering from BDCs” published September 2008). Understandably, however, the burden placed on our limited foreign reserves is certainly ‘more disturbing’ according to Emefiele, who also revealed that before the recent forex controls, CBN “sold $60,000 to each BDC weekly,” making a total of $8.6bn per year. This stupendous forex provision to the parallel market certainly did not include the equally liberal facility for an unlimited number of Nigerian tourists to access upto $150,000 per annum at official rates with Nigerian debit cards from ATMs abroad, even when such facility was widely abused by prolific rent seekers!

Alarmingly, there is nothing to suggest that manufacturers and other job creating real sector operators enjoyed the same liberal access to forex as those inexplicably pampered operators in the grey areas of the economy.

Some critics may describe such unpatriotic policy directions as provocative and retrogressive and deliberately supportive of corruption and rent seeking. Nonetheless, a ban on BDC forex allocations will instigate surging dollar demand and sooner rather than later, the gap between officially sourced and open market dollar rates will rapidly expand, to once more begin a new cycle that leads invariably to further Naira devaluation with its related adverse economic and social consequences! Instructively, however, the release of CBN’s stranglehold monopoly on the forex market, will invariably reduce the persistent self-induced challenge of excess Naira liquidity which overwhelms CBN’s regular auctions of dollar rations, while the Naira exchange rate will invariably become stronger.

It is not generally known that the alleged over $20bn annual remittances from Nigerians is the Diaspora, cannot reduce pressure on the Naira rate as often speculated; the reality is that, dollar remittances from such outfits such as Money Gram and Western Union, regrettably make minimal impact on forex supply, as the $20bn estimated remittances always remains domiciled abroad and therefore make no positive impact on dollar liquidity and Naira exchange rate.
Incidentally, the Naira was devalued to N305-360=$1 just months after this article was published.

Save the Naira, Save Nigerians!

Source: Vanguard

Singapore Heading for Recession Next Quarter, Maybank Says

Singapore’s economy will probably experience a “shallow technical recession” in the third quarter as the global trade outlook worsens, according to Maybank Kim Eng Research.

The escalating U.S.-China trade conflict is weighing on Singapore’s export-reliant economy, which Maybank expects will grow 1.3% this year, down from a previous projection of 1.6% and lower than the government’s forecast range of 1.5% to 2.5%

“Disruptions to the supply chain will likely intensify as the trade war broadens to tech and the U.S. imposes export controls on more Chinese tech firms,” Maybank economists Chua Hak Bin and Lee Ju Ye said in a note.

The slump in exports has hit manufacturing, which contracted more than expected in May, data on Wednesday showed. The outlook for electronics, which make up 27% of factory output, is particularly weak since U.S. export controls may hit chipmakers like Broadcom Inc. and Intel Corp., which operate in Singapore, Maybank said.

A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative quarter-on-quarter growth, and if that happens it will increase the chance of the central bank easing monetary policy in October, the economists said. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which uses the exchange rate as its main tool, left its policy settings unchanged in April.

MAS and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are reviewing their growth forecast range for the year and can’t yet say whether it’ll be revised to even lower than the current 1.5%-2.5% estimate, Managing Director Ravi Menon told reporters during the Thursday release of the central bank’s annual report. A fresh figure will have to wait at least until second-quarter economic data are fully collected through July, Edward Robinson, MAS’s chief economist, said at the same event.

Source: Bloomberg

Dubai’s Rotating Tower is Becoming Reality in 2020

In 2006, architect David Fisher proposed an idea for a sustainable rotating tower in Dubai. However, it was just an idea; there were many hindrances that prevented it from becoming reality. It seems, though, that the dream is finally coming true, with the announcement of an opening date for the project in 2020.

David Fisher, founder of Dynamic Architecture Group, designed the 80-storey skyscraper, extending 420m above ground, such that each floor can rotate 360 degrees in both directions while being held firmly to a concrete core. The rotation will provide the residents of the tower with a 360-panoramic view of Dubai.

Fisher’s idea for the Rotating Tower was inspired by the Olympic Tower in New York. He explained on his firm’s website: “I noticed that from a certain spot you could see the East River and the Hudson River, both sides of Manhattan. That is when I thought to myself: ‘Why don’t we rotate the entire floor? That way, everybody can see both the East River and the Hudson River, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral!’”

The floors of the Rotating Tower will be fabricated and assembled in a factory, then they will be transported to the site and attached to the concrete core. The pre-fabricated units will be made of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber material. The tower is, also, planned to be self-powered, where solar panels mounted to the terraces and wind turbines placed between every two floors will be generating the needed energy to operate the building.

The residents of this extraordinary tower will enjoy a set of high-tech features, which will include rotation by voice command at the desired speed and direction as well as a special elevator allowing residents to lift their cars and park them next to their apartments. However, these advantages will come at a very high cost which can, possibly, amount to $40 million. Although the tower’s opening date has been announced, Dynamic Architecture has not given a date for the beginning of construction yet.

Source: Arch2O
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