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Why Nigeria’s 17m housing units deficit is no longer tenable

Nigeria and South Africa are Africa’s largest economies that differ significantly in terms of basic necessities of life including power supply and housing provision. This is why, for South Africa’s over 20,000 mega watts of electricity, Nigeria is struggling with 5,000 megawatts, and for the country’s 2-3 million housing deficit, Nigeria has as high as 17 million units.

The federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the country’s apex mortgage, recently estimated the deficit at 17-20 million units with potential cost (value) of N6 trillion ($16 billion) and 900,000 annual unit deficit increase.

But analysts argue that whether it is 17 million or 20 million or whatever figure, the deficit as paraded by government and other housing sector stakeholders is no longer tenable, citing population growth and lack of data that captures annual housing deliveries and demolition/ destruction.

Nigeria’s population as at 2006, when the last head-count in the country was conducted, stands at 170 million. But World Bank’s annual growth rate estimates put Nigeria’s at 2.6 percent, meaning that from 2006 to date, the country’s population has increased significantly.

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“The 17 million units deficit is no longer tenable”, the Nigerian building and roads research institute (NBRRI) affirms, quoting findings by Worldometer, 2017, which notes that from 2012 to date, Nigeria’s population has increased from 168,240,403 to 191,835,936, showing a significant increase of 23,595,533 people to the population. And that is five years ago.

“The housing deficiency has, therefore, climbed and is likely to worsen in the nearest future if urgent steps are not taken by the government in conjunction with all stakeholders to address the problem”, Danladi Matawal, DG/CEO of the institute, said at a forum in Abuja.

The World Bank in 2013 stated that in order for Nigeria to keep up with the demand for housing, 700,000 houses annually are required to match growing population and urban migration but, according to Chudi Ubosi, an estate surveyor and valuer, annual housing delivery is less than 100,000 units.

Erejuwa Gbadebo, CEO, International Real Estate Partnership (IREP), says Nigeria needs dependable data on its housing sector. “One of the biggest problems that we have is lack of data. People still quote 17 million units because there is no other data to prove or disprove it. We talk of homes demolished, burnt or new ones built, but the question is who is taking record of the number of houses that are being built and the ones we are losing?”, Gbadebo queried in an interview.

One of the first things the industry should do, she advised, is to start taking stock of what is available—what house-types are there and what they change hands for. “There should be a central system either online or from bodies such as Nigerian institution of estate surveyors and valuers, she said, adding, “there must be a way of capturing this data so that people can have accurate number so that we should not continue to fight a battle we may have won or will never win”.

Housing data, which is taken for granted in other economies including South Africa, is still a big issue in Nigeria and that is why foreign direct investment in the housing sector, especially in the residential segment, is still in fits and starts because there is virtually nothing to guide potential investors.

As a part of solutions to the deficit, Matawal canvasses a paradigm shift in approach to providing housing from a conventional process base to more compartmentalised and adaptable strategies.

“Conscious and timely efforts are required to adopt strategies that will significantly reduce the cost of building houses and I recommend the provision of affordable housing by harnessing and integrating alternative building technologies and building materials to reduce the cost of building houses in Nigeria”, he said.

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Building houses are highly capital intensive projects and a bulk of this capital is gulped up in procuring building materials which alone have been estimated to constitute 60 percent of the construction cost. According to Matawal, besides the cost implications of undertaking high volumes of construction projects, there is also the sustainability issue, hence the need to consider alternative building materials and technologies that would be substitutes or complementary to conventional building materials.

 

CHUKA UROKO

Housing: Experts push for laws to guarantee investment

Worried by unimpressive growth of the real estate sector in the second half of 2018, housing experts have pushed for immediate passage of 11 housing and mortgage-related bills pending before the National Assembly.

 They said if the bills are eventually passed into laws, they would impact positively on the sector by guaranteeing huge local and foreign investments in the housing and mortgage industries. According to Managing Director/ Chief Executive Director, Fesadeb Communications and Promoter of Abuja International Housing Show, Mr. Festus Adebayo, no good investor would invest in the real estate sector that does not have the requisite laws to guarantee investment. New Telegraph findings show that the bills have been before the lawmakers for more than eight years.

 While many of the bills have not been read, a few have passed through second reading without further action. These bills are the Land Use Act 1978; National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme Act 1992; Mortgage Banks Act 1989 (Subsumed in BOFIA); Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Act 1993; the Trustees Investment Act 1962; and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 1993.

 Others are the Insurance Act 2002; Investment and Securities Act 1999; Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act 1990; Securitization Bill; Foreclosure Law Bills – Residential Mortgage Act and Residential Mortgages (Incentives) Act, among others. Adebayo stated that no effective mortgage system would be possible in the housing sector without reviewing and amending some sections of the Land Use Act of 1978.

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 He pointed out that without foreclosure law, developers would continue to be at risk of selling via mortgage or on installment payment, hence the need for urgent passage. Many of the experts, through their advocacy platform, “Housing Development Group”, called on Nigerians to join them on a rally on August 18, to ask members of National Assembly to embark on speedy passage of the bills.

The lawmakers are currently on recess and may not return until next month. Corroborating Adebayo, former Managing Director, Lagos State Property Development Corporation, John Bede Anthonio, an architect, said that non-passage of these bills had impeded very much, the development of mortgage and housing for the average Nigerian.

 He said that, it would be difficult to attract investments into housing and mortgage sectors without proper regulations. Anthonio said: “If you don’t have laws to govern, how can investors invest in the housing market, which is huge?”

 Presently, Nigeria is in shortage of over 17 million housing deficit and would require one million units yearly in the next 20 years to bridge the gap. Some of the challenges to affordable housing provision in the country include difficulty in accessing buildable land, lack of virile secondary mortgage system, weak regulations, high cost of building materials, lack of capacity in modern building technology, high cost of fund and foreclosure laws among others. Despite impressive outlook predicted for the sector in the first quarter of 2018, the industry is performing dismally due to un-synchronized macroeconomic indices.

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 According to some experts, factors holding down real estate sector are multifaceted, blaming absence of funds, unhealthy politics and victimization of political opponents, among others. Antonio lamented that the sector was being held down by high inflation, double-digit interest, lack of mortgage system and high construction’s cost. Besides, he said scarcity of land, absence of infrastructure, unenlightened public, low purchasing power accommodation seekers and high cost of housing units were also inhibiting factors.

Chairman, HOB Estates Limited, Olusegun Bamgbade, stated that apart from inadequate funding, which he said was a major factor, nepotism in the disbursements of the little available funds by the relevant authorities, has stalled recovery of the sector from slump. For these reasons, Nigeria’s mortgage market has remained in slow growth.

New Telegraph

FMBN makes housing more affordable for workers with rent-to-own scheme

The recent launch of the rent-to-own housing scheme with the approval of the board of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria FMBN,  is specifically to make housing more affordable for Nigerian workers who, ordinarily, cannot build or buy homes from their meagre income.

The scheme is another strategic move by the apex mortgage bank designed to make home ownership more accessible and affordable for Nigerian workers. Estate It is also an innovative affordable housing product which provides an easy and convenient payment plan towards home ownership for workers in the country.

Unlike similar schemes promoted by private sector operators which demand higher interest rate for shorter repayment tenor, the FMBN scheme is designed in a way that makes it possible for workers to move into homes built by FMBN as tenants, and commence payment for units which will eventually become their property having completed payment through monthly or yearly rent payments spread over a period of up to 30 years.

To further increase affordability, the units will also attract a single digit interest rate of 9 per cent on the price of the property on an annuity basis. The product will cover property with the maximum value of N15 million.

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Unlike the rent-to-own scheme operated by the Lagos State Government which targets all civil servants in the state who are first-time home buyers, the FMBN scheme targets workers nationwide but mainly those who are contributors to the National Housing Fund, NHF, and will be implemented in phases.

About 3,000 houses are planned for the pilot phase. Housing affordability became a big issue in Nigeria when government stopped direct involvement in housing delivery, such that large scale developments like the Shagari Low Cost Housing at the federal level and the Jakande Low Cost Housing in Lagos State have become history.

But to deliver on the rent-to-own housing scheme, FMBN will be partnering with reputable estate developers for the construction of quality, cost-effective housing stock nationwide. Payments for the houses will be domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, through the Treasury Single Account, TSA. Properties planned for the rent-to-own scheme are existing estates that are funded by FMBN nationwide and non-funded estates.

“This rent-to-own scheme is yet another ground-breaking initiative of our bank that is targeted at increasing access to affordable housing by Nigerian workers who fall into the low-medium income bracket,” explained Dangiwa Ahmed, the managing director/chief executive officer of FMBN. Continuing, he said: “The rent-to-own housing product is designed to make sure that any worker who collects a salary should be able to live in his own home and pay conveniently over periods as long as 30 years.

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This is a massive relief especially given how little workers earn. I am delighted that we have successfully added this product to the many other initiatives that we have made possible to make home ownership a lot easier for Nigerian workers.”

He commended the Federal Government for its commitment to the development of housing and for the continued support for the ongoing reforms to re-position FMBN on the path of efficiency and impact. Dangiwa added that the implementation of the scheme would totally eliminate the burden of equity contributions by workers for housing loans, complement the existing products of the bank by widening the home ownership bracket, increase housing stock, and help the bank to utilise abandoned estates that are to be transferred to the scheme. 

Kingsley Adegboye

 

Dubai developers take cautious approach to unit launches

Developers in Dubai have launched 9,034 units, both apartments, villas and townhouses, year to date in 2018, according to data released by GCP-Reidin. This compares to a total of 46,893 units launched across the whole of 2017.

The decline in the number of launches is a result of the demand and supply imbalance caused by excessive construction activity in recent years, resulting in oversupply.

“In turn, property take-up rates have fallen, leading to a decline in sales prices, translating into lower potential profit margins for developers. As a consequence, some developers are delaying coming to the market,” explains Ivana Gazivoda Vucinic, head of consulting and valuations and advisory operations at Chestertons Mena.

After last year’s frenzy, developers seem to have maxed out on post-handover incentives. Therefore, demand has been sluggish in the off-plan space, with some re-allocation towards the ready market.

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“The current and anticipated oversupply situation has resulted in developers taking a cautious approach in regard to project launches. Global, regional and local economic headwinds have weakened the spending power and therefore demand from resident and overseas investors and end-users.

“The rise in construction costs has also squeezed margins for many smaller third party developers who struggle to compete with the big master developers. Until the economy recovers and market sentiment improves, we believe many will adopt a wait-and-see approach,” observes Jenny Weidling, manager – research and advisory, Asteco Property Management.

Meanwhile, developers handed over 27,968 homes in Dubai last year against analyst estimates of 31,000 units – this translates to a completion rate of 90 per cent (according to GCP-Reidin data). This trumps previous years, say in 2016 when only 15,914 units were delivered and 2015 when only 12,366 homes were handed over. This represents completion rates of 61 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively.

Dubai has traditionally seen a lag between actual supply and anticipated supply. Delays are caused by a variety of factors but generally are a result of intentional phasing considerations and unplanned construction delays/financial issues.

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“Delays can be caused by many factors, including issues directly arising from the construction process, site or planning restrictions. On the other hand, financial obstacles can also be a major factor impacting the timeframe of project delivery,” says Dima Isshak, senior consultant – strategic advisory, CBRE in a publication by khaleejtimes.

Guardian

Women builders canvass quality control in projects

NIOB seeks platform for Africa professionals 

Poised to eradicate the menace of building collapse, the Association of Professional Builders in Nigeria (APWBN) has stressed the need to pay greater attention to quality control in construction works particularly, inspection and verification of materials used in building process.

The association said non-use of survey plan and other necessary information as a guide during construction as well as compromising of integrity by professionals on the quality of materials and workmanship contribute to the height of building collapse in the country.

Quality Control (QC) is the part of management process in construction that ensures products and service comply with requirements. It is a work method that facilitates the measurement of the quality characteristics of a unit, compares them with the established standards, and analyses the differences between the results obtained and the desired results in order to make decisions which will correct any differences.

In communiqué issued at the end of the inaugural built environment collaboration seminar themed; ”Collaboration among women professionals of the built environment to curb/eradicate incessant building collapse in Nigeria”, held in Abuja, APWBN observed that lack of understanding of the behaviour of materials used for construction and commencement of projects before arriving at the cost must be guard against in the sector.

“There is the need for understanding of the behaviour of materials to be used for construction to prevent collapse. There should be quality control, quality assurance as well as health and safety plans for all projects and maintenance of buildings should be periodically carried out as it will help to retain buildings in functioning order”.

The association called for collaboration/teamwork among women professionals to reduce building collapse. It stated that going by the reality that women are people of great integrity they shouldn’t compromise standard in projects.

The communiqué issued by the President of APWBN, Mrs. Lami Kawu Muhammad said; “Women are endowed with integrity, intelligence, intuition, and expert management technics amongst other numerous qualities. I therefore respectfully requesting that being expert managers of the home front, we should all unite and bring all these qualities to bear on our various professional roles by communicating, cooperating, coordinating and collaborating our activities to prevent building collapse in Nigeria”.

The president noted that terrible building collapse incidences have continued to cause the death of precious innocent lives causing physical disabilities for the people, destruction of properties in colossal amounts as well as the threatening of the sustainability of our built environment.

APWBN urged an end to the idea of copy and pasting specifications/budgets of old contracts for new ones, awarding contracts to contractors with low sum which may lead to abandonment/collapse, long process of getting approvals as well as high cost involved.

She advised women professionals to mentor younger ones, to bridge the gap between theory in classroom and practical on construction site. In addition, APWBN said the formation of Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) at different levels/states for sensitization, awareness and investigation would go a long way to curbing building collapse in the society.

Meanwhile, towards positive operational paradigms, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) has called for the formation of Association of Builders in Africa as a linkage point for relevance, innovations and continental relationship.

The institute declared that with its crops of highly skilled fellows, it remained one of the strongest platforms for professional builders in Africa, if not the world over.

President of NIOB, Kenneth Nduka made the call at the 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the institute. He said NIOB remains the only professional body within the built environment in Nigeria without outside linkage, hence, an urgent need for immediate reach out to other professional Builders’ association in Africa for the Formation of Association of Builders in Africa.

“If our profession of building must be enriched and continue to be relevantly trend, efforts must be made to go across the boundary of this country to establish continental and global relationship. The advantage we possess to spearhead this initiative, and which need be appreciated, is that NIOB is one of the strongest stand-alone platform for professional builders in Africa, if not the world over. My expectation remains that we all shall learn to abandon our past mistakes, and rightly rekindle and reignite our commitment to the institute, since the institute forever remains our common heritage”.

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Speaking on the theme; “The housing sector in national economic development”, Nduka disclosed that the institute is engaging relevant professionals in the built environment, the government, the regulatory bodies, higher institutions, and the security organisations, all in a bid to sensitise the public on its relevance to the society.

He noted that the development and training of assessors and verifiers have gained increased momentum.

“Our efforts at campaigning for members’ availability for the training will not cease until members in the South South, south east, and north east zones of the country exhibit the right interests like the North West, North Central and South West zones. Of special mention is the exemplary manner that the South West zone keyed into the programme”.

 

“The Federal minister for Education has presented the Institute with the enable Certificate for the commencement of operations as an awarding body, and some of our members are already performing verification functions in that regard under the MAFITA artisan training intervention scheme. The development is another unique opportunity for us to exercise our roles for pionering the competent Artisans and craftsmen for the building construction industry”, he stated.

Nduka urged members to anchor funds for the sustainability of the institute’s activities, evaluate our respective state chapters and accordingly galvanise the fledgling units at the respective zonal levels institute effectiveness, establish effective linkages amongst all the previous leaders of the Institute so that the beckoning inter-face opportunities with similar international professional bodies could be rightly explored for cross fertilization of ideas, knowledge exchange and professional collaborations as well as the immediate formation of the ‘sector for Builders in Private Practice’.

b0c166c8-91ed-420c-ab03-24f725ad3e22.pngHe said their activities need be coordinated and their diverse experiences duly harvested to enlarge the banks of practice and hands on experience for the institute and her members.

Speaking on the 50years of existence of the association which was also celebrated during the meeting, he said, “The management of the Production of buildings and the supervision of Artisans and craftsmen shall be the role and responsibility of Registered Builders”.

He emphasised it is the duty of members to evaluate the progress thus far made, scan the built environment realities and expectations, and programme for the relevant and responsive actions that will excite, guide and anchor the goals and targets diligently set”.

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The president commended members for their contributions, which he said, helped to discharge the outstanding payments on the Builder’s House of the institute, the APDC Housing Estate, all-free from any encumbrance.

“Initiatives have commenced towards the resurrection of efforts for the production of the design drawings for the Centre for Building The 5,000-seater concert hall will have automated and integrated lighting, sound and video system and state-of-the-art audiovisual facilities suitable for live broadcast. There are also indoor amusements for the kids, retail facility and cinema experience for all the family from the two cinema halls, recreational theme park and shopping Centre.Excellence in Lugbe, Abuja”, he stated.

Victor Gbonegun

 

NIESV demands reform of Abia land administration

To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of land administration, estate surveyors and valuers are clamouring for the review of the law establishing property tax assessment and administration in Abia State.

They said the reform should include assigning key professional roles to its members. The body claims invasion of other professionals into land administration affairs in the public service.

The national executive council of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) made the submission during the investiture of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as patron called for establishment of State Valuation Office and appointment of a Valuer General to improve revenue generation and proper management/accountability of public assets.

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“The creation of valuation office at the State level and branches in each local government will ensure; effective and efficient handling of property taxes; preparation and regular updating of valuation lists for property rates for the local government councils as well as property income taxes for the State board of internal revenue,” according to NIESV President, Rowland Abonta.

Abonta who led delegation to the Government House, Umuahia, also lauded the digitization of land records in the state through the Abia Land Information System, but faulted some aspects of the law is a misnomer.

“The work of the Abia Land Information System and its consultants serves as necessary tools for modern land administration but the Chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue to appoint anybody of his choice to undertake valuation for the land use charge. We draw your attention to the fact only registered estate surveyors and valuers are empowered to carry out valuation for any purpose.

“Section 29(4) of the law is defective in that it does not specify basis of assessment. Section 7 on rate payable to defective because it is not specific on annual value but rather talks about market value of the property assessed.

“Property tax is annual charges, which should be based on annual income of the subject property. Section 15 is defective in that it provided for appointment of Assessment Appeal Tribunal without specifying inclusion of the registered estate surveyor and valuer.”

NIESV observed that the state have not established the land use and allocation committee as provided by the land use act for some years now and recommended that the committee be set up to play its advisory role on the issue of land allocation in the state.

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The president further urged the government to advantage of the Federal Government’s reforms programme on systematic land titling. “The goals and objective of the program are to empower Nigerians to have easy access to land in their various states, enhance secured land tenure system and effective land titling and encourage wealth creation through optimal use of land as an economic commodity and a factor of production.

“The titling scheme which has been implemented in Kano, Ondo, and ongoing now in many states including Anambra, has the advantage of ensuring that every parcel of land in the state is properly captured and titled with great potential for internally generated revenue for the government. This gives opportunity of fund sourcing for the title holder with his/her title documents,” Abonta said.

Chinedum Uwaegbulam

‘How to achieve development goals, resilient cities’

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has attributed the prevalence of urban planning problems in the continent to issues of power struggles, especially capturing of ‘public goods’ for certain interest.

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According to her, following the development, national governments therefore, would need to work assiduously to provide an enabling environment through policies that work, legislation for planning and designing sustainable cities and human settlements.

She stated this at the side event organized by Nigeria at the high-level political forum on sustainable development, held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speaking on the theme; “Achieving Sustainable and Resilient Cities in Africa: Implementing SDGs 11, Orelope-Adefulire said there would be need to deploy concrete actions and measures in a range of areas such as; national urban polices, rules and regulations that promote sites and services, urban planning and design, urban basic services, slum upgrade, risk reduction and resilience, capacity development and climate resilience mitigation and adaptation.

“The transit services in turn, are overstretched, hence, the spaces that connect people to work and create a more socially inclusive civic culture needs to be supported, fostered or created by architects and planners with citizens and government. To put the resilience agenda into action, cities across regions will need to mobilize resources from public and private sectors as well as from international sources”.

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She stressed that acute and cumulative effects of disasters in Africa generate major economic and fiscal losses not only on the individual and community but also to the nation. These effects, she noted are capable of undermining hard-earned development gains, trap the most vulnerable groups in poverty, and promote inequality.

“Urban renewal will require strong government political will and coordination across all levels of government; scaling up of bottom-up approach, sensitization and advocacy to get the buy-in of the communities and other interest groups; engagement of the private sector; and technical expertise to develop a range of innovative financial instruments”, she stated.

With effective coordination and synergies built across many areas, sustainable framework, action plans and optimum engagement of stakeholders, she observed that regional efforts could be synergized to lead the progress.

“The adoption of sustainable development goal 11 and the New Urban Agenda emphasize the value of sustainable urbanization as a tool for localizing and achieving the SDGs. Cities are transformative engines in pursuit of sustainable development due to their immense social, economic and environmental potential, if they are well planned, designed and governed”.

“SDG 11 therefore must be a collective priority that requires a full mobilization of global, regional, national and sub-national urban stakeholders as well as the UN system”, she declared.

Victor Gbonegun

Profile of fesadeb media Group~The winner of 2017 Housing communication agency of the year

Fesadeb Communications Ltd is Nigeria’s leading media company driving the growth of the housing sector through a multifaceted channel approach encompassing TV, print, online media and live-interactive platforms.

These avenues which have grown into some of the most lucrative showcases for corporates, products and services within the built and construction sector include Abuja International Housing Show – Africa’s largest real estate and construction festival, Housing Development Programme on NTA & AIT, Housing Time on RayPower, Housing News Magazine and the largest housing news portal in the nation, housingnews.org.ng.

As a Media group, Fesadeb Communications Ltd offers a plethora of services to the vast range of sub-sectors within the building industry including media consultancy, marketing services, housing events packaging, capacity development and housing advocacy network. As core industry influencers, we maintain cognisance of the ever burgeoning suppliers in the Housing market and offer effective brand strategy to provide discerning players major edge in an increasingly competitive space.

By inculcating proactive strategies into our service rendering, Fesadeb Communications utilises its optimum marketing and communication tools to enable value perception increase for clients’ businesses in the minds of target customers, offering premium brand strategy concepts for all levels of businesses within the sector. We do this by tailoring communication channels to fit specific needs and defining delivery of brand message through the provision of first class branding and brand related services such as Logo, website design, promotional brand designs and inclusive corporate collateral.

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At Fesadeb Communications Ltd, we are most humbled to be the media consulting firm of choice to most leading brands in the Nigeria housing and construction industry. These organisations have over the years embraced our flagship event, the Abuja International Housing Show, Africa’s most distinctive built and construction industry conference and exhibition drawing over 15,000 unique visitors annually, garnering them deals locally and across borders, further endearing their brands to key decision makers in government and creating networking advantages with a versatile range of industry professionals assembled from the extensive line up of the housing industry sub-sectors, an event which climaxes in the Nigeria Housing Awards to celebrate trailblazers.

We offer high impact training programs for executives and staff within all cadre of the Housing, Mortgage and Construction sectors, delivered through top notch collaborations with globally recognised organisations with a goal to growing our training partnership base with some of the world’s most unique training institutes to bring quality standard human capital development to the industry.

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We cover mortgage advisory for estate development brands as we are conversant with what best fits your business at every stage of its development, providing the best mortgage deal options for you from the best mortgage companies. We engage promotion of your Housing projects, and management of exhibition programs and conferences.

Fesadeb Communications Ltd is proud to offer companies with the most integrative brand campaign package available in any sector, all in one place. We are available for your services 24/7.

We are concentrating on completing projects to deliver value to Nigerians – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on Friday said that the Buhari administration was focusing on completing road, power and housing projects to deliver value to Nigerians.

Fashola during an interactive session with social clubs in Lagos State to give account of achievements of the Buhari administration at Lagos City Hall, said that due to completion of some road projects, the construction economy had bounced back and promoting growth of businesses.

He said that previous governments had reports of uncompleted projects and stressed that, uncompleted infrastructure could not be used and would not deliver values to Nigerians.

He said that people voted for change and there was no need repeating the old system that did not deliver real value to citizens of the nation.

He explained that in the 2015 budget, N19 billion was earmarked for road projects out of which only nine billion naira was released leaving a huge deficit that made several contractors to abandon site.

Fashola said that the trend coupled with huge debts owed contractors affected businesses which in turn impacted the economy negatively.

“And because of dwindling oil revenue, we had to do more with less money,’’ he said.

He said the government decided to prioritize the roads for repair based on six main categories, which included roads that carried heaviest vehicles, those that led to the ports, roads critical to agriculture, ones that required counterpart funding and the Sukuk bonds.

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“There is no state where we are not constructing one road or the other,“ he said.

On housing delivery, the minister said the Buhari regime was also completing housing projects started by previous administrations.

“Is it a crime to govern sensibly to reduce waste?“ he queried.

He said that only completed projects were useful to citizens of the nation and urged Nigerians to speak up in favour of the good gesture to complete projects.

He said that pilot schemes were still on-going for new housing projects as there were no empirical evidence of what kind of homes people could afford or their taste preferences.

The minister said that apart from the Shehu Shagari administration, this was the second time the Federal Government was embarking on mass housing initiatives across the country.

He said that there was need to get the product formulation, packaging and delivery right, adding that, there were several unoccupied buildings across the country either because they were not affordable or did not meet the taste of consumers.

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“If you don’t sample correctly, the product would fail. When we say we are planning, people think we are joking,’’ the minister said.

He said that the government through the Federal Mortgage Bank was removing impediments to access to loans and was at the same time expanding the scope to capture more beneficiaries.

Speaking on Power, he said that power generation and distribution had improved because government was able to resolve some complex issues that came with the privatisation of power by previous government.

He said that the various power plants across the country were being upgraded to deliver at more optimal capacity, adding that, the problems of estimated billing would be resolved with time.

“Clearly, it is getting better, let us honestly admit,’’ he said.

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Army launches N7bn housing projects

The Nigerian Army in partnership with Betonic West Limited has launched N7.5 billion housing project in Otukpo and Ohimini local government areas of Benue State.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Army Post-Service Housing Development Limited, Brig. Gen. Mahem Bashir, said the project would reduce housing deficit in Benue.

 

He spoke yesterday in Abuja during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Bentoniq West Nigerian limited.

He said the project which is on a 30 hectare would comprise of 321 housing units in Otukpo.

Bashir said, “The purpose of having all kinds of units in the scheme is to provide choices and also cater for different categories of individuals in Nigeria.

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“The estate would have surface roads with asphalt, fences, street lights, water supply and of course adequate security.

“This estate is for all Nigerians interested; recently the Chief of Army Staff declared that all estates be at a 50: 50 ratio, that is for military personnel and civilians.

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“The units would include: four bedroom duplexes (type 1 and 2), three bedroom duplexes, four-bedroom detached bungalows, three-bedroom detached bungalows, three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows and two-bedroom semi-detached bungalows.”

Ronald Mutum

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