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The Relationship between Transit and Land Use

It is usually seen that land use changes with better transportation facility and at the same time improvement in transportation facility in an area has effect on land use. This is a kind of cycle which keeps on repeating itself. Here we have tried to explain the relationship between transit and land use in context of Transit Oriented Development. Transportation decisions affect land use patterns and resulting economic, social and environmental impacts. These include direct impacts on land used for transportation facilities, and indirect impacts caused by changes to land use development patterns.

Though,  Transit Oriented Development  (TOD) remains primarily a transport problem involving transit network design, effective transfer between nodes and scheduling, it is related directly to compact development principles as TOD efficiencies are achieved through densification of urban nodes (Cervero and Kockelman, 1997: 17) resulting in modal shift from automobile to transit, and mixed use development.(Cervero 1996; Nelson, Niles et al., 2001: 48)

In particular, certain transportation planning decisions tend to increase sprawl while others support smart growth. Land use patterns can have diverse economic, social and environmental impacts: some require less impervious surface per capita and so preserve more open space, and some are more accessible and so reduce transportation costs to businesses and consumers. Transportation planning decisions influence land use directly, by affecting the amount of land used for transport facilities, and indirectly, by affecting the location and design of development.
For example, expanding urban highways increases pavement area, and by increasing urban fringe vehicle access encourages more dispersed, automobile-oriented development, commonly called sprawl, while walking, cycling and public transit improvements encourage compact, infill development, commonly called smart growth.
For example, infill development tends to increase impervious surface coverage within existing urban areas, but by reducing lower-density urban fringe development are reducing per captia road and parking supply, it tends to reduces per capita and total regional impervious surface area. Sprawl refers to dispersed development in low-density, single-use,automobile-dependent development areas outside of any city or town; population growth in cities and towns outside existing cities is not necessarily sprawl if the development pattern reflects smart growth principles.
Transportation planning decisions affect land use, both directly by determining which land is devoted to transport facilities such as roads, parking lots, and ports, and indirectly by affecting the relative accessibility and development costs in different locations.
In general, policies that reduce the generalized cost (financial costs, travel time, discomfort, risk) of automobile travel tend to increase total traffic and sprawl, while those that improve non-motorized and transit travel tend to support smart growth. Planning decisions often involve trade offs between mobility and accessibility.By increasing the amount of land required for a given amount of development, generous road and parking requirements favor urban fringe development, where land prices are lower.
It can be difficult to determine the exact land use impacts of a particular transport planning decision, particularly indirect, long-term impacts. Impacts are affected by factors such as the relative demand for different types of development, the degree to which a particular transportation project will improve accessibility and reduce costs, and how a transportation policy or project integrates with other factors.
Conversely, if there is significant unmet demand for transit-oriented development, improving transit service and implementing supportive land use policies will probably stimulate smart growth.
Structured parking reduces land requirements and underground parking can be considered to use no additional land. In addition, motor vehicle traffic tends to reduce development density indirectly by increasing the need for sidewalk and building setbacks to avoid traffic noise and dust, so larger boulevards, highways shoulders and front lawns can be considered, in part, a land use cost of motor vehicle transport. It suggests that 5-10% of suburban land, 20-30% of urban land, and 40-60% of commercial center land is devoted to roads and parking.
As previously described, automobile-oriented transport planning tends to cause sprawl by increasing the amount of land required for development, by improving accessibility to urban-fringe locations, and by degrading urban environments.. Another transport engineering text states: It can be argued that sprawl is a land use issue rather than a transport issue, since it can be controlled by land use policies such as development restrictions and zoning codes.
Few governments can establish and enforce effective land use controls where undeveloped land is easily accessible to urban areas. This reduces transportation costs, including internal costs and external costs. Smart growth improves non-drivers overall accessibility and reduces the portion of lower-income household budgets devoted to transportation.
Because transit services and pedestrian facilities experience economies of scale, smart growth tends to increase service quality and reduce unit costs. Sprawl reduces unit land costs and so reduces costs for larger-lot homes, while smart growth reduces land requirements per housing unit, reduces parking requirements, and expands housing types, but may require structured parking and increase other building costs. Sprawl reduces housing costs for households that demand larger-lot single-family homes and generous parking supply, but smart growth reduces housing costs for households with more flexible housing and parking preferences.

Source: Planning Tank

Introspection of an Urban Planner

2014. I wasn’t as open to the idea of the study of building, construction and cities, as I understood it. I definitely had the aptitude. I could draw a straight line on an A4 sheet and had a vague idea of complimentary colours. Straight into School of Planning & Architecture, Vijayawada , a two hour lecture about a dot on a plane didn’t hold any relevance or importance to me mainly because I was ill-read of the subject and unaware about how it was going to affect me. Doing countless number of sheets without any aim, I felt like I was whiling away my time for no reason. I was too lazy to ask questions but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.

Design is like the music on my playlist in so many ways. Fine art yet Subjective.

The beauty lies in the difference of each song, each straight line in this case. Many say there are principles that define the science of Urban Planning and it might take me a while to understand it and philosophies I link them to. That is when it will all start to make sense.

Introspect

It will be very unfortunate if I cannot look back at my four years at design school and not remember the valuable quotes from lectures or workshops that, in the end, will teach me the value of this art. I find myself lucky that I found out about this early enough because now in class, I end up writing the words that have a purpose of more than just exams.

Just like your favourite song playing during that perfect sunset by the sea, it is overwhelming at times. You realise that it is all a part of the oldest story that was ever written; that every human, social and cultural condition continues to influence built form, habitable space and working of cities.

Planning is design. A very cohesive term. Good design to me would mean great aesthetic with quotient that is either well defined or exists without a limit.  I’m not sure I would be a planner in practice for the rest of my life but I’m certain there will always be moments in my life where I look fixedly at a facade of a great building or the interiors of a tiny cafe for a moment or two longer than a normal person only to be interrupted by the smell of well made coffee and cheesecake.

Think and coffee

Author: SaiSiri Nallaparaju, a planning student from SPA Vijayawada

Unlocking the potential of cloud GIS in Forestry using new EOS Platform

In the era of cloud computing, running a satellite imagery analysis online has become a reality. With cloud solutions like EOS Platform pioneering in the Earth observation market, ENVI and Erdas Imagine software are not the only options anymore.

EOS Data Analytics designed a new GIS platform for all geospatial-data related tasks, from basic remote sensing to cutting-edge image processing. It comprises 4 tools, which together allow for an uninterrupted flow of analysis and support most remote sensor types and data formats:

  • EOS LandViewer– quick search of low-, medium- and high-resolution imagery and remote sensing analysis;
  • EOS Processing – a set of image processing algorithms for automatic feature extraction, change detection, etc.;
  • EOS Storage – a cloud space for storing, sharing and distribution of geo-data;
  • EOS Vision – a tool for mapping, data visualization, and stylization. These tools offer a solution for individuals and businesses across many industries, most often in agriculture, oil and gas, and forestry. To India, one of the world’s most forested countries that is facing severe forest degradation and deforestation, EOS Platform can provide considerable aid in monitoring forest health and logging, tracking illegal forest clearing, and assessing fire damages.

Monitoring forest health with vegetation indices

Forest degradation, which results in decrease or loss of forest cover and its productivity, is difficult to be identified from the ground. Satellites play the key role in providing a full picture of the current state of large forested areas, and remote sensing helps to identify vegetation suffering diseases, pest infestations, damaged by human activities.

A common case of GIS application is establishing the state of forest health by calculating the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). One of EOS Platform’s tools, LandViewer, can be used to automatically create an online NDVI map. It has a list of instantly calculated indices for landscape, water, vegetation analysis, and gives free access to numerous land-observing satellite datasets (Landsat 7, 8, Sentinel-1, 2, MODIS, etc.).

LandViewer also enables users to upload and work with their own satellite data: this can be imagery from Indian (Cartosat, ResourceSat and Indian Remote Sensing series) or other optical/radar satellites (SPOT, WorldView, etc.). Beginner analysts will easily master spectral analysis using LandViewer, as it doesn’t require any particular GIS skills.

The growing demand for timber and farming land leads to massive forest clearing and degradation, which boomerangs on people, by causing floods and landslides. Deforestation is considered one of the main factors that triggered the catastrophic Kerala flooding in August, the worst in a century. With remote sensing, environmentalists can monitor the scale of damage caused and identify the forest areas, which need immediate protection.

Kombaru and Bantra Villages Karnataka 2015

Related: Bhuvan (satellite image service) by ISRO

These Sentinel-2 images show Kombaru and Bantra villages in Karnataka state. Over 80% of Kombaru’s area is covered by forests, which looks believable on 2015’s Sentinel-2 image, where the overall high NDVI values indicate a healthy forest cover. In 2018, the same area doesn’t look same green anymore, demonstrating considerable forest loss in brown-colored areas.

Kombaru and Bantra Villages Karnataka 2018

To interpret NDVI values correctly, characteristics of the forest region and local species must be taken into account. According to many scientists, NDVI results’ accuracy may also be affected by soil brightness and atmospheric noise. Therefore, skilled specialists may want to correct the analysis with additional VIs (Enhanced Vegetation Index, Wide Dynamic Range Vegetation Index, red edge NDVI, etc.) and validate the results against ground observations.

Experimentators looking for new discoveries in forest analysis can use LandViewer to play around with spectral bands. The tool allows to apply a single band, create new band combination or an index, and visualize results in real time.

Forest fire monitoring

As global air temperatures rise, millions of forest acres are destroyed in severe fires caused by heat waves and humans. For India that has seen a 125% increase in forest fires in the last two years, it’s essential to listen to the pulse of the planet and timely identify wildfires, assess damages, and monitor post-fire regeneration.

Forest Fire Monitoring

Related: NITI Aayog initiates the first course on Sustainable Urban Planning

At national level, such services as ISRO’s Indian Forest Fire Response and Assessment System (INFFRAS) enable efficient fire disaster response. Due to constant supply of images generated from MODIS and VIIRS sensors, INFFRAS detects active fires in near real-time, assesses damages and sends fire alerts to forest officers.

Forest Fire outburst in Kurangani Hills, Tamil Nadu

This March a severe forest fire outburst in Kurangani Hills, Tamil Nadu, destroying stretches of forest cover and taking 22 lives of trekkers trapped on the hill. To estimate the damage, we took a pair of Sentinel-2 images and calculated the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) in LandViewer.

Low NBR values (in dark orange to red) are a sign of recent burning; high values indicate areas of surviving vegetation. This data can be further used to create a burn severity map or measure the exact area using the drawing tool and AOI feature.

NBR-based post-fire analysis can also be performed with other satellite images containing the near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave-infrared (SWIR) bands, such as Landsat 7, 8 (available in LandViewer), or IRS ResourceSat-1, 2 (can be uploaded for online analysis). To monitor vegetation recovery and estimate mortality, it’s also important to repeat NBR analysis of an area during the next growing seasons.

Deforestation and fire damage assessment

Global climate change is the most dangerous effect of deforestation, which can lead to complete rainforest disappearance in less than 100 years. Environmental organizations all over the world apply GIS techniques to create current maps of forest change and use, and take countermeasures to stop illegal forest clearing.

Forest loss trends can be best observed with multi-temporal analysis of satellite imagery, i.e. by comparing two images of same forest taken at different times. LandViewer’s comparison slider can be useful in visualizing the differences between them and eyeball-estimating the scale of deforestation or any other damage.

Deforestation Damages Assessment Dakshina Kannada

However, to precisely map and assess forest damage caused by logging, fires or natural degradation, the automatic change detection should be used.

EOS Processing tool offers a range of image processing algorithms developed and validated through multiple use cases. EOS’ change detection algorithm applied to a pair of satellite or airborne images taken before and after the event will outline the exact contours of the deforested or burned area, respectively.

Dakshina Kannada Damage Done EOS Change Detector

These are Sentinel-2 images of Dakshina Kannada, which partly lies in the Western Ghats – one of the world’s major plant diversity regions. The damage done in 2,5 years is clearly visible in natural color: once green, dense vegetation significantly decreased or completely disappeared (light green and brown areas). With the help of EOS’ change detection algorithm that identifies changes from images in RGB and NIR spectrums, we received the third image (raster/vector layer) that highlights the exact areas of deforestation.

Analysis of Dakshina Kannada

The entire analysis can be done in a short span of time, due to a mutual integration of all EOS Platform tools: just find images in LandViewer and calculate the index, save them to EOS Storage and proceed directly to EOS Processing for extracting the analytics.

Source: Planning Tank

Everything That You Must Know About the Big Data

Big Data is a very famous phrase these days and there are many things that people still do not know about it. Most of the people used it incorrectly which makes it difficult what it really means. Then what is big data? Is it a technology or a tool? Well, let’s find out what it really means!

What is Big Data?

First, you need to know what is exactly big data is?  Big data is basically a massive amount of data which includes both structured and unstructured data. It is very difficult to manage hence traditional managing techniques cannot be used.  In short, it is a combination of lots of data. It is a very new term and that is why; most of the people are not familiar with it. Actually, the amount of data is increasing very rapidly and there are different varieties of data that we collect each day. Nowadays, people are storing their data online as it gives them easy access to it. But it has made problems for the analyst to manage it. Social media, e-books, videos, music are the type of data that is increasing rapidly and available for the analysis.

Data Analyst

What you do online and what sites you open on your websites are all stored as data. When you read a book online on the Kindle, it stores the information as data. A similar case is with the music and videos you watch online. Moreover, your mobile phone is also tracking your location and the apps you are using,

it uploads all of this data. All of this information is data and hence big data is not about a large amount of data but also the different types of data (text, logs, sensor logs, transactions, video, music, etc.) There are 4 V’s in the industry known as the characteristic of the big data.

  • Velocity
  • Volume
  • Variety
  • Veracity

Due to the unstructured nature and large amount, there is a strong possibility that we will be unable to manage it. That is why; we have to make new modern techniques for the analysis of big data.

Why is it So Popular?

Big data has become popular with advances in technology. The computation power of computers has increased compared to the last five years and the price is dropping. The low price makes this technology available to normal consumers. That is why; many small companies have emerged in the last few years and launched their product and services.

Why Business Care?

Data is very important for any business to gain advantage and grow their business. Due to less expensive technology and the emergence of big data makes them able to get the benefit of it. Using all of this data, the companies can derive new insights that will help them in lead generation.

How You Can Access Big Data?

Big data is increasing very rapidly in the world with the passage of time. You can easily find any data repository in google search. You cannot imagine how much data is available around you for analysis. If you want to utilize and access this data then you can do it in six steps which are as follows:

Extraction

First thing you need is to extract the data. You can do it in many ways but to extract data from a company, you can do it using API.

Storage

One of the problems with big data is managing. It is very difficult to manage it using traditional methods. For storing this data, you need large storage and an expert individual. Moreover, you also need to have some programming knowledge for the implementation. For storing this data, find a safe and secure storage provider.

Cleaning

The next step is to format your data. The data you extract can be in different sizes and shapes. That is why; it is important to store this data in an acceptable and clean format.

Mining

Mining is the latest process which helps you discover insights within the data. You can use this for prediction and to make a decision based on them.

Analysis

When you collected all the data you need, it is time to look for trends and patterns. For this, you need a good data analyst who is able to spot ordinary and extraordinary things from it. Analyzing the data is not that simple task to do.

Visualization of the Data

It is an important step as it visualizes the outputs from the data in a form that can be easily understood. There are different programming languages that you can use such as d3.js, plot.ly, etc.

How You Can Learn More About It?

Well, big data is not an easy subject to learn. You need to be an expert in multiple areas to be an expert. You will need the following skills:

  • Knowledge of programming languages such as SQL Python, SAS.
  • Also, need to be an expert in stats and math.
  • Should have an experience of scraping web pages.
  • Excel Skills.

Source: Planning Tank

A re-mapping of Nigeria through rail

On 17th May, 2019, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, on behalf of the Federal Government, issued an award for a $3.9billion contract to link Abuja (Idu) with the Itakpe-Warri rail line.  The facility would terminate at the Warri Sea Port. The contract scope includes the construction of a new deep sea port in Warri, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. You will forgive Nigerians if they are unable to appreciate the revolutionary significance of this step: they have heard innumerable pronouncements by politicians in government that ended up as a pipe dream.

If you recall that similar public cynicism greeted and trailed the first ground-breaking step in rail transport infrastructure by Mr. Amaechi a few years ago, specifically with respect to the award of the double track, standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan sector of the Lagos-Kano rail initiative, you will understand perhaps, why this audacious Abuja-Itapke-Warri standard gauge contract award is drawing everything but public celebrations.

When he announced the award in 2016, as he did in this recent pronouncement, there were actually public jeer and cynical dismissal of the administration’s ploy to ‘spend its way out of recession.’

Three years on, we’re now in the completion stages of the 156.5km contract. This would be the first administration in Nigeria that began a rail project from conception to the finish line. What am I driving at? I’m not a politician, neither a media publicist. I have been closely associated with the current work to overhaul and transform the railway infrastructure in Nigeria.

I am a banker and have been involved with the China Railways Construction Company International (CRCC), one of the companies involved in the overall processes for the delivery of this key infrastructure. In the past three years I have been involved in several travels both to China and elsewhere in respect of the concerted push by all the parties to deliver on this fundamental infrastructure requirement.

I have also toured sites and have been part of the evaluation and bid preparation visits, contract negotiations and several technical and financial features of the project design. As it relates to the development of the railway sector, something that struck me in all these is Mr. Amaechi’s remarkable performance in the negotiations. He pushed the Chinese to accept critical add-ons to the main project at little or no escalation of cost outlay.

For instance, the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway Standard Gauge project, which was commenced over 30 years ago and only completed by this administration in 2018, evidently bolstered the Minister to offer the Chinese further contract to extend the rail lines at both ends, stretching its northern end to Abuja and its southern end terminating at the Warri port. He pushed for an add-on facility that amounted to building a new deep sea port in Warri.

Mindful that the standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan-Kano stretch of the railway infrastructure is almost through and dusted, it would be understandable why Mr. Amaechi was leaving nothing to chance to put the twin infrastructure base of the Abuja-Itakpe-Warri and a deep sea port as the next necessary thing. To ensure that the expanding railway infrastructure base for which this administration wants to deploy in re-mapping Nigeria’s economic landscape is on track Mr. Amaechi actually tied this with a concept for a feeder university education and research facility serving the technical and manpower needs of the sector. So named the Transport University, the faculties will be dedicated to railway engineering and research and there is ongoing consultations between Amaechi’s team and the Chinese officials which expectedly would culminate in the signing of an MOU between both countries.

Railway technology is considered unique and special requiring more than general engineering acumen to deliver operational consistency and expertise, something the Chinese have become very adept at and for which Nigeria stands to benefit from on account of this partnership. The partnership which places the obligation on the Chinese government to award scholarships to 100 Nigerians to study Railway Engineering to post graduate level in China in the interim will be part of the preparatory ground for the overhaul of the railway sector in Nigeria. Whilst the foregoing vision is steadily unfolding, the Minister was busy vigorously expanding on it.

His team has been quietly working with the Chinese company manufacturing locomotives to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria not only for the needs of the rapidly deepening railway transport ecosystem in Nigeria but as an African market hub to serve the rest of the sub Saharan territory. The driving vision, which one cannot but commend, is to have Nigeria develop the capacity to be able to construct its own rail line in no distance future.

Essentially, the re-mapping of Nigeria through rail is an ambitious work to re-cast the country in the matrix of an economic power connecting commercial hubs, agrarian territories, manufacturing zones as well as innovation hubs in Nigeria seamlessly through rail. It is a vision that already sees Nigeria flourishing with multiple deep sea ports across the massive stretch of shorelines running from the Bight of Benin to Lagos and connected seamlessly by railways across other territories of economic activities in the hinterland and further into the north.

In summary, this article celebrates the vision as well as the arduous work going on to give Nigeria a fresh start with rail infrastructure. The Lagos-Kano standard gauge rail takes care of a vital artery in this design and is currently nearing the finish line. The Abuja-Itakpe-Warri standard gauge line is on course with add-ons that make a further economic statement such as new Warri deep sea port, University of Transport. There’s also the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge lines such as the Port Harcourt-Enugu-Maiduguri lines. Although no major push has been given to the previously mooted 1,402km rail infrastructure from Lagos-Benin-Port Harcourt-Calabar rail line but it goes to highlight what the future holds with this team on the saddle.

Source: Daily Trust

South Africa Youth Joblessness Hits 50%

In his first state of the nation address since the ANC won May’s general election in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa described the youth unemployment rate of 50% as a national crisis.He pledged to create two million jobs for young people over the next decade.

He listed economic growth, job creation as well as improving education and health as the country’s top priorities.

He also promised to support the country’s struggling electricity utility, Eskom.

But Ramaphosa dared the country to dream.

He said he wants to build a bullet train and like China construct a new smart city.

The leader of the opposition Mmusi Maimane reacted by saying that the president wants to dream but when he wakes up he will realize that we live in a nightmare.

Julius Berger gets new Non-Executive Director

During a meeting on June 19th, 2019, the Board of Directors of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc announced the appointment of Engineer Goni Musa Sheikh as a Non-Executive Director of the construction firm.

According to a notice by Julius Berger Plc to the Nigerian Stock Exchange dated June 20th and signed by the Company Secretary Mrs Cecilia E. Madueke, it was disclosed that Mr Sheikh’s appointment would take effect on 1st July, 2019.

Goni Musa Sheikh’s Profile: He was appointed Mining Engineer I at the Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC), Jos, Plateau State in 1980. From 1980 to 1990, Sheikh was involved in the design, development, and executions of many mineral projects like gold, barytes, cement, feldspar, talc, bentonite, tin ores, soda ash, tantalite, lead/zinc sulphides, diatomite and kaolin.

In 1990, he became the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Kaolin Limited (a subsidiary of Nigerian Mining Corporation, Jos).

He rose in 2000 to the post of General Manager, Corporate Infrastructure and Projects of the Nigerian Mining Corporation, Jos, where he oversaw all the operations and development of new projects of the Corporation.

Between 2000 and 2006, he was the Executive Director of the Bitumen Project, Akure. Sheikh held several positions in Government including Director, Mines Inspectorate Department; Director, Mining Cadastre Office; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office.

He was appointed Special Technical Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development in 2006. Here, Sheikh spearheaded the technical report preparations and investment drive in INDABA South Africa and PDAC Canada. He served two ministers in this capacity.

He had been Nigeria’s representative at many international conferences, served on many boards and worked closely with different international organisations and blue chip companies.

He was the Nigeria Governor for OPEC for almost three years, later becoming the Chairman, Board of Governors of OPEC.

Before his appointment at Julius Berger, Mr Sheikh was a board member of the Nigerian LNG, Bonny Gas Transport and the National representative of African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA).

Sheikh retired as a Federal Permanent Secretary after putting in 35 meritorious years of service and is currently engaged in Consultancy works in Oil, Gas and Mining.

A recipient of many academic awards, Sheikh is a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers and Member of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), The Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN), Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists and Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society.

Julius Berger stock opened on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange today at N20.9 per share.

Source: NairaMetrics

See list of members of the National Economic Council

This is an introduction to the full list of the National Economic Council (NEC) which was inaugurated yesterday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The list is made up of all the Governors of the thirty-six states of the Federation, key members of the ruling party’s Economic Management Team, and the Vice President of Nigeria who serves as the Chairman.

S/NNEC MembersStatesS/NNEC MembersStates

Their Responsibilities: The main function of the National Economic Council is to assist for the formulation and implementation of policies that will help Nigeria to actualise its economic ambitions over the next four years. See below for the detailed breakdown of NEC’s responsibilities.

 

 

  • Advice President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s economic policy
  • Co-ordinate Nigeria’s economic planning efforts at both the Federal, State, and Local Government levels.

The National Economic Council holds meetings once every month in Abuja as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which established it. Periodically, ad hoc committees are set up to perform specific tasks, after which they are dissolved. another one is established.

 

The first ad hoc committee to be constituted by the by President Buhari’s second-term National Economic Council was tasked to reconcile the Excess Crude Account, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s remittance, and related issues.

Members of the ad hoc committee include Governor of Kaduna Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar, and Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi.

The next National Economic Council meeting is slated to hold in July 2019.

Source: NairaMetrics

Chinese developers turn to offshore markets to meet their financing needs

Jun 20, 2019 (China Knowledge) – Tight credit-conditions in China are leading Chinese property developers to sell more US dollar bonds overseas at up to double the cost of borrowing domestically.

This month, 18 Chinese real estate companies have issued bonds, with 11 of them selling bonds overseas with a total estimated issuance of more than USD 3 billion, compared to just two offshore bond offerings by domestic developers last month.

Many Chinese developers are now facing financial strains after multiple tightening policies introduced by the government in a bid to cool surging property prices and financial risk.

Last month the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) banned direct financing to developers with incomplete certificates or real estate projects with capital not fully in place. The regulator also banned indirect financing through equity investments and bond subscriptions to those developers.

As a result, many property developers have turned to overseas markets to meet their financing requirements even despite the higher costs of borrowing. Last week, Jiangsu Zhongnan Construction Group Co. issued USD 350 million worth of offshore bonds at a coupon rate of 10.875% while China South City Holdings sold USD 60 million of US dollar senior notes at a rate of 11.875%.

In comparison, onshore borrowing costs were typically less than 5%. The increased cost of borrowing overseas is due to increases in US interest rate and higher related fees for issuance of offshore bonds.

However, for developers, being able to raise funds to maintain their growth is their top priority and foreign debt issuance by developers and financing costs will likely continue to increase.

Securing bank loans, major challenge for SMEs in Nigeria –Okoro

Meckson Okoro is the Chief Executive Officer of M.I. Okoro and Associates. The company has, over the years become a household name in Nigeria’s real estate sector with several laudable projects to its credit.

Okoro reserves the view that amidst other challenges, acquiring loans from banks can be an herculean task for entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses and be financially independent. He discusses his company’s business goals and achievements, while also baring his mind on issues pertinent to SMEs in Nigeria.

Starting up

Before starting up this company, I had in mind to contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s economy through real estate consulting and quality service delivery. That focus has not changed, only that the economic policies of successive governments have been militating against the realisation of such dreams. If you look at real estate management in Nigeria, M.I. Okoro is a very tall figure when you drop the name. To a very large extent, I consider myself and firm as having contributed immensely to the growth of real estate in Nigeria.

Business goals accomplished 

We started the evaluation of institutional properties like that of universities. I felt that most of these properties are not valued and each time students go on rampage and damage properties, the school administration merely dip their hand in funds. I felt it was then that higher institutions started evaluating their properties and our firm was the first to introduce an insurance scheme for the University of Lagos which was founded since 1962. It was a very big assignment and that gave the impetus to other universities to emulate it.

Also, talk about Trade Fair Complex, I was one of those in charge of relocating more than 100,000 traders. Our achievement, as a company, has been quite tremendous. In terms of internally generated revenue for Lagos State Government, they know our impact. Also, we have assisted the Lagos State Government in ensuring the actualisation of Tejuoso market and issuance of the property to prospective tenants.

In real estates, we have developed certain services to many of our clients that I don’t need to mention their names on the pages of a newspaper. We were involved when the Federal Government called for an evaluation of all public assets all over the federation. We have done all manner of evaluation for AMCOM, banks, corporate bodies, individuals and many more.

Challenges

The major challenge is still that Nigerians are poor. There is no disposable income. People don’t have money to buy property and government policies are not helping matters. There is also the challenge of policies of house ownership in Nigeria. There is no possibility of a common man owning a property in Nigeria and this affects the growth of the profession and house delivery in Nigeria.

I can call that political and financial challenges. We were not trained to develop for the poor. Yes, our job is to advise government to do that. Building for the poor is supposed to be taken care of by a deliberate policy that is called social housing infrastructure through a social housing fund which is strictly by government. There is nobody, including you, that would do an investment in real estate and not borrow from the bank. The bank will want to see your cashflow before giving you such huge funds.

Instead of the government focusing on building for the poor at a subsidised rate and empowering the local governments to do so, they neglect that. If it is a functional local government system, the local government is expected to even do the building of houses for people. If government had created a special funding for the social housing system, it would have been fine. But today, government builds to contest with private developers like us. It is not about attributing the blame to government, it is entirely the responsibility of government.

Government has to bear over 120 percent of the burden of low cost housing. Even when done, those who work in such parastatals allocate the houses to themselves and later sell at high prices, not giving to those that it was meant for. That is our experience with that. Government should ensure such houses are built for the people and that is what is done in other countries of the world.

Again on the challenges, the way it is affecting everybody is the way it is affecting me. I am only one among the subset. For example, if all the money we are making is going into buying diesel to fuel the company, it is affecting me. We can’t look at that separately.

Managing competition

The issue is that every business opera-tor has its own strategy to survive in the market place. Despite the hardship and competitiveness of the business, we are still on top, when you measure us along-side the big estate valuers. We have got right our selling point which is to ensure we deliver effective quality service to our clients and once the client is happy, we do more business with them.

Highest point as an entrepreneur

Well, that is nothing but the struggle to grasp with government policies that are meant to kill businesses in Nigeria. Where this office is situated, we have been running on generator for many years. If I tell you how much my company pays on diesel, it is enough to pay staff salaries. That is a big leakage coupled with the fact that the Land Use Act created by the Obasanjo administration when he was the military Head of State, also, is a great barrier to our breakthrough in housing in this country. The Ministry of Finance has not thought it wise to know that since Nigeria’s existence, from independence, we are supposed to have been operating on an efficient mortgage system that can guarantee efficient houses delivery. Building houses involves a lot of capital.

Revamping the mortgage system

First of all, there has to be an enabling law to fine-tune the mortgage system. There has to be a serious legal framework and the government has to deliberately create primary mortgage institutions and power them, just like we power commercial banks. We are not creating the mortgage institutions like the ones Babangida created between 1992-1994.

Yes, the idea was good but there was not an effective process to ensure they are doing the right thing. It all collapsed within two years because there was not an adequate legal framework for it. What the CBN is doing for commercial banks is what the Federal Mortgage banks ought to be doing to primary mortgage banks. Since the creation of the Federal Mortgage Bank, what can they say they have been able to achieve. As far a I am concerned, it is a waste pipe. It is either they are overhauled or they should be closed completely because they are building private interest and not national interest.

SMEs in Nigeria

The truth is that the economy is completely asleep. Nothing appears to be taking place right now. This started about one year before the 2015 election, when the Jonathan administration focused on how to survive the election and there was less focus on economic activities. The hype for change created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the market place and there was a total wait-and-see attitude on the part of investors. That is the level of the damage.

The multiplicity of policies that are not healthy to the economy also created more shock for economic activities, particularly with forex trading and remittance of funds. Since Nigeria is not a socialist country, you cannot be at the middle of the game and create a goal post on polices that have started somersaulting. That is what has affected the economy of the nation.

Source: Sunnewsonline

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