The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would launch a gas infrastructure revamp programme in November. The project is said to have the potential of attracting between $20 billion and $30 billion of investments into the petroleum industry and could also help address the infrastructural deficiencies in the industry. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this while speaking at the 2018 Buyers’ Forum/Stakeholders’ Engagement organised by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN).
The Minister also revealed that the government would from next year commence the revocation of the licences of oil companies that fail to stop flaring of gas in the country. Kachikwu stated that government has been locked in a battle with upstream oil companies over the issue of gas flaring, stressing that government is committed to ending gas flaring, but oil companies still give reasons why gas flare cannot be ended. “Government wants to end flare, oil companies still give lot of reasons why gas flaring cannot be ended. Bottom line is cash call and money. But the reality is that whether or not we deal with cash call issues, it is not an optional agenda, it is a compulsive immediate agenda.
It is destructive to the populace; it is intolerable in developed country and it should not be tolerable here either. “Any oil company that cannot find a way to end its flare ought not to be producing. And I have said to the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, beginning from next year, we are going to get quite frantic about this and companies that cannot meet with extended periods — the issue is not how much you pay in terms of fines for flaring, the issue is that you would not produce. We need to begin to look at foreclosing of licences.
This is very urgent.” Kachikwu further disclosed that future renewals of oil and gas licences would involve the assessments of the gas components and gas flare rate of each company seeking renewals. “Some of the ones that have come recently for renewals have insisted that they are building massive gas processing plants and we are going to follow this right through so that the supply obligation, the processing facility, the treatment of gas; their submissions are very accurate and very aggressive,” he said. Kachikwu emphasized the need for a critical implementation of the Domestic Supply Obligation, which would be extended to Domestic Supply and Processing Obligation for both gas and crude oil, stating that the country needed to move away from the point of just producing these commodities, throwing it into the vessel and shipping it out, to the point of processing as much of it locally as much as possible.
According to him, only through this would we be able to create more jobs, create better profit and returns on investments, achieve better pricing and address the challenges of local industries and industrialization. Also speaking, managing director of GACN, Mr. Morgan Okwoche, called for increased support for the company, while he highlighted the need for optimum collaboration among industry players in the development of the gas sector. He called on the DPR to expedite action on the issuance/renewal of the five-year rolling Domestic Supply Obligation, DSO, volumes which will help in effective project planning.
The federal government will offer 10 state-owned companies for sale to selected investors and the public in the fourth quarter (Q4), as it seeks to raise N289 billion ($797 million) toward funding the 2018 budget, the country’s privatisation agency said.
Preparations are in the final stages to begin the sale of the companies in industries that range from power through aviation to insurance, Bloomberg quoted a Director at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Joe Anichebe, to have said in an interview.
Two of them, Nicon Insurance Limited and Skyway Aviation Handling Co. will be sold “this month or early next month” through an initial public offering, he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed a record N9.1 trillion budget into law in June, with a smaller fiscal deficit compared with the previous year, which the government seeks to fund from sources other than revenue from oil, its main export.
The privatisation agency had pledged to raise N306 billion to help finance the planned spending.
The agency sold a 21 per cent stake in the state-owned mint to the Central Bank last week for N17.3 billion, according to Anichebe. It is also reviewing previous sales and plans to revoke deals where buyers haven’t kept to their agreements, he said.
Property experts have predicted that the nation’s real estate sector will achieve sustainable growth.The experts stated this ahead of the annual West African Property Investment Summit slated to hold in Lagos in November, with the theme, ‘Recalibrating Supply and Demand for Sustainable Growth’, according to a statement.
The summit’s host, API Events’ Kfir Rusin, said, “The market has undergone a shift, which is most evident in the changing retail and office occupier market. To help our 500 delegates unpack these changes, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve secured more than 60 well-known regional and international thought leaders to speak at the #WAPI2018.
“We’ve witnessed continued development across Africa and Nigeria, and as an African bellwether economy, what happens in Nigeria sends ripples across the continent from an investment and trend perspective.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Broll Nigeria, Bolaji Edu, who is expected to speak at the event, is said to be well positioned to gauge how the market has recalibrated post-recession
He was quoted as saying, “If we analyse the grade-A office market in Lagos and the overall retail mall market following the economy entering a deep recession in 2016; take-up dropped by approximately 40 per cent (offices) and 55 per cent (retail) between 2016 and 2017. However, as the economic recovery strengthens, we have seen numbers flatten out, and we expect to see an increase over the whole of 2018 from the low point of 2017.
“The market has begun to rebase itself down from a level where rent levels and capital values in parts of Lagos were comparable to the wealthiest cities in the world such as New York and the outskirts of London.”
According to him, this is most evident in the reducing rates in the commercial and retail sectors, which are now at more sustainable levels.
“Developers and investors in the market are examining building size and design that better reflect the target market. It is important to entertain best practices and the latest trends from around the world, but we need to tailor our projects,” Edu said.
He added that the region’s market size and growing demand from the middle class meant that retailers and companies still wished to establish a presence in Nigeria.
However, they are looking at this more strategically taking into consideration both the potential risks in addition to the incredible upside opportunities. International investors and retailers are seeking more partnership opportunities,” Edu noted.
RIVERS State dislodged Lagos State as the number one foreign investment destination in Nigeria in the first half of 2018,according to an investment profile report by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). Rivers received 35% of the $45.74 billion invested in 42 projects in nine states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the period, the NIPC said. It was followed by Bayelsa and Lagos states with 26% each.
The sectoral analysis of the investment profile shows that mining and quarrying accounted for 61% of the total investment and manufacturing 28%. Other sectors are transportation and storage, five per cent; real estate, three per cent; and the remaining sectors accounting for three per cent.
The report also showed that the investments were from investors in 11 countries, with French companies accounting for 35% of the value, closely followed by Nigerian companies at 31%. The report said the UK’s investment stood at 20%; Luxembourg seven percent and the remaining eight percent were from the other countries. “The top 10 announcements accounted for 43.1 billion dollars, representing 94 per cent of the value of the announcements,” the report read.
The NIPC however said the report was based only on investment announcements cited in NIPC’s newsletters from January to June 2018 and might not contain exhaustive information on all investment announcements in Nigeria during the period. “Nevertheless, the report gives a sense of investors’ interest in the Nigerian economy in the first half of 2018,” it said. “NIPC did not independently verify the authenticity of the investment announcements but is working on tracking the announcements as they progress to actual investments.”
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba has said Nigeria will need about $3 trillion in the next 26 years to bridge the infrastructural gap in country.
The National President of National Union of Civil Engineering Construct, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni, attributed the dearth of infrastructure in the country to massive corruption and what he described as irresponsibility of the federal, state, and local governments.
Speaking at the Infrastructural Summit and 40th anniversary of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construct, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW) yesterday in Abuja, Wabba said the importance of infrastructural development as a nation cannot be overestimated.
He said the country was suffering from several infrastructural deficit that has affected the various sector of the national economy, pointing out that sectors that have suffered mostly includes the energy, transport, railways, roads, inland waterways, education, housing, agricultural sector and the information communication technology, among others.
According to him, the World Economy Forum state that every dollar spend on infrastructure has a potential to generate between five to ten per cent of economic growth and therefore this is very central and key.
“This potential is important as it has been estimated that Nigeria needs at least three trillion us dollars in the next 26 years to bridge the infrastructural gap in the country. As this will transform our vast potentials into concrete social economy tangibles and this will also require about 100 billion dollars capital investment annually, ‘’he said.
He lamented that despite the enormous resources available to the country, Nigeria has not be able to attain to its potentials as it concerns infrastructure in the country.
He said “for instance if you look at our population of closed to 200 million and we are still struggling to keep our electricity generation at less than 4000 megawatt while South Africa are at 55million megawatt.
“No doubt that is why our industries cannot operate at full potential and there is no way we can address the challenging issue of unemployment in the country. So, infrastructure is the key to addressing multifaceted development, from the issues of poverty, unemployment, insecurity.
“Therefore your union is very central and that I am very delighted that you chose this theme to look at infrastructural development in our country and how to work the talk, ‘’Wabba said.
Also Prof. Stephen Ocheni, Minister of State, Labour and Employment said policies of the present administration were gear towards addressing the infrastructural deficits in the country.
Ocheni said that infrastructure was the key to national development as it would address the issue of unemployment, security, among others, adding that the lack of infrastructural development in the country was due inappropriate policies and lack of continuity by the past administration.
Interest rates for home loans appear to be climbing again, and that may in fact be what’s getting borrowers back to their brokers — fear that rates could move significantly higher in the coming months.
Total mortgage application volume increased 1.6 percent last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted report.
Refinance volume led the charge, rising 4 percent for the week, although it was 39 percent lower compared with the same week one year ago. A year ago last week, rates were nearly a full percentage point lower.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 39 percent of total applications from 37.8 percent the previous week.
Fleming: The housing market is shifting from a seller’s to a buyer’s market
Borrowers who might have been thinking rates could move even lower may now be reacting to a new surge in rates, thinking they’d better get in now while the getting is still relatively good.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) rose to its highest level in more than seven years, 4.88 percent, from 4.84 percent, with points decreasing to 0.44 from 0.46 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20 percent down payment.
“As markets received various pieces of data indicating economic strength such as wage growth, inflation, and jobless claims, Treasury rates were up over the week,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home were basically flat for the week, moving just 0.3 percent higher. They were, however, 4 percent higher than the same week one year ago. Purchase applications were pretty slow all summer but have gained on an annual basis for the past five weeks.
Rising rates will only exacerbate already weakening affordability. Home prices continue to see gains, albeit smaller increases than in the past few years. Buyers are pulling back in high-priced markets like California, where homes are now sitting on the market longer and seeing price cuts.
“With additional rate hikes on the horizon, mortgage rates will likely only continue to rise and squeeze the market,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E-Trade. “Right now there are a ton of positive signals in the economy, but clearly the housing sector is an increasingly glaring exception, and suggests the historic period of expansion we’ve enjoyed for the past decade could be winding down.”
A home awaits sale at a reduced asking price in Glendale, California.
After three years of soaring home prices, the heat is coming off the U.S. housing market. Home sellers are slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years, especially in the West, where the price gains were hottest.
In the four weeks ended Sept. 16, more than one-quarter of the homes listed for sale had a price drop, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. That is the highest level since the company began tracking the metric in 2010. Redfin defines a price drop as a reduction in the list price of more than 1 percent and less than 50 percent.
Home Sales Declining in Southern California
“After years of strong price growth and intense competition for homes, buyers are taking advantage of the market’s easing pressure by being selective about which homes to offer on and how high to bid,” said Taylor Marr, senior economist at Redfin, in a release. “But there are some early signs of a softening market, and the increase in price drops may be another indicator that sellers are going to have trouble getting the prices, and the bidding wars, that they may have just months ago.”
There is still a critical shortage of homes for sale, especially on the lower end of the housing market, but supplies did increase annually in August for the first time in more than three years, according to the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, the increase in the median home value is now in the 4 percent range, rather than the 6 to 8 percent range where it has been for the past two years.
“While inventory continues to show modest year-over-year gains, it is still far from a healthy level and new home construction is not keeping up to satisfy demand,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “Homes continue to fly off the shelves with a majority of properties selling within a month, indicating that more inventory — especially moderately priced, entry-level homes — would propel sales.”
That may be true on a national level, but in California, where home price gains were in double digits, active listings were 17 percent higher in August compared with August 2017, and sales dropped to the slowest pace in two years, according to the California Association of Realtors. California home prices were still up 5.5 percent annually, but that is down significantly from recent gains, and the median number of days it took to sell a home rose from 18 to 21.
“While home prices continued to rise modestly in August, the deceleration in price growth and the surge in housing supply suggest that a market shift is underway,” said Leslie Appleton-Young, senior vice president and chief economist at the California Realtors group. “We are seeing active listings increasing and more price reductions in the market, and as such, the question remains, ‘How long will it take for the market to close the price expectation gap between buyers and sellers?'”
The price gap may close even more quickly if mortgage rates continue their trend higher. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage loan is up more than a quarter of a percentage point in the past month and is knocking on the door of 5 percent, a level not seen in nearly a decade.
Under the theme “Turning environmental policies into action through environmental solutions”,the ministers came together from 17 to 19 September to mobilize political support and committed to integrate innovative solutions into their countries’ national development agendas.Guided by global environmental concern, ministers of environment and government representatives of African nations have committed to promote and invest in innovative solutions while implementing concrete actions to overcome environmental challenges facing the continent.In a ministerial declaration the African governments agreed to enhance innovative environmental solutions and capacity building of human capital to achieve sustainable development in Africa.
Committing to enhance their countries’ efforts to implement policies, legislation and programmes promoting innovative solutions, the ministers called on UN Environment Assembly and UN Environment programme to increase support to African countries as well as facilitating access to innovative partnerships.
At the conference, ministers stressed the need to empower innovators, the private sector, micro-small and medium enterprises and civil society to use new approaches to address environmental challenges. They agreed to support Pan-African platforms on the environment to promote and share experiences and solutions across the continent.
Addressing the Conference, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) said, “Environment is central to human health; every year almost 12.6 million people die from hidden risks in the environment.” He called on African governments to put human and environmental health at the centre of policy making in all sectors.
On behalf of the President of Kenya H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment said:” It is important to note that environment is the foundation and the basis of the social and economic development of our countries.”“I challenge you to come up with ways of enhancing the wealth from our rich biodiversity in forests, rangelands, wildlife and marine resources,” he added.
“Africa needs to invest in innovative solutions to change its development pathway in a sustainable way. We need to deploy new and smart approaches to overcome the continent’s most pressing environmental challenges,” said Dr. Nezha El Ouafi Minister of Environment, Morocco and vice-president of AMCEN.
“Public-private sector partnership will have to play a key role in embracing innovation and turning environmental policies into concrete actions to achieve the objectives of the AU Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Minister Ouafi added. “Africa stands on the right side of history to support the environment. We have the human resources, natural wealth, and leadership to innovate and transform our region,” said Joyce Msuya, Deputy Head of UN Environment.
some key decisions made at the conference included:
Biological Diversity: African Governments recognized the urgent need to combat land degradation and restore ecosystems in Africa. A Pan-African action agenda is being prepared to respond to land and ecosystems degradation challenges. The Ministers agreed to develop common positions on various priority issues and speak with one voice during the upcoming 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference which will be held in Egypt in November 2018. The priorities will inform the post-2020 biodiversity framework and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
On Climate Change, the Ministers stressed that the outcomes of COP24 should reflect the spirit of the Paris agreement. The outcomes should balance between the Agreements elements related to action, support and transparency. Adaptation and finance should be core elements for effective operationalization of the Agreement.
Health and Environment: Recognizing the nexus between environment and health, Ministers agreed to actively participate in the third Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa, Libreville, 9 to 12 October 2018. The theme is “Health and environment strategic alliance: a catalysis for action on the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.”
They emphasized the importance of enhancing accessibility, predictability and sustainability of means of implementation, in particular finance. They agreed to work constructively to deliver the mandate of the Paris Agreement Work Programme.
Barring any last minute hitch, the National Housing Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government will be commissioned in about 33 states of the federation before the end of this year.The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s effort at addressing the huge housing deficit in Nigeria, which is estimated at 17 million, gave birth to the National Housing Programme.
Under the programme, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, embarked on the construction of massive national housing schemes in 33 states of the federation. The project, according to the Minister in charge of the ministry, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, aside from providing affordable and accessible houses for Nigerians, has also created employment opportunities.
In what appears as his testimony, the Minister whose ministry is directly in charge of the National Housing Programme, declared that it has yielded its first expected result of creating employment for youths.Fashola, who spoke recently while on the inspection tour of the project site in Imo state, said that the programme was initiated as part of efforts by the Federal Government to get the teeming youths across the country back to work.
“The very first thing that we needed to achieve has been achieved; get people back to work, move the economy back to growth and get the economy out of recession.”“From the food vendors to the number of companies that are employed here, you can see building materials; you can see labour and you can see an ecosystem of growth.”
A tour to some of the project sites across the country, where some of the NHP projects are sited recently revealed that would be-beneficiaries of the housings units would have access to their allocation in the next couple of weeks.Aside from the fact it would provide houses for Nigerians, it has also created jobs for thousands of all cadres of Nigerians.
Its commission date though Housing News could not ascertain, a source at the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, hinted that it would be commissioned soon. The source said everything about the commissioning has been perfected, saying that it may be done during the presidential campaign.
“Let me assure you that the NHP project would be commissioned before the end of this year (2018). Everything about the event has been perfected”, the source said.
There is however some issues like; compensation to the traditional land owners, provision of parameter fencing and allocation to Nigerians that truly need affordable homes which need to be addressed.One of the critical issues that should be urgently addressed before the commission date and handing over of the project units to its owners is compensation of the traditional land owners. From South to the North, one of the agitations of the locals whose communities are the beneficiaries of the project is issue of the compensation. This however, is not the responsibility of the federal government.
I think there are quite a number of factors to consider when analysing things that are responsible for life expectancy. As one is aware, Nigeria is among the countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world. I believe that we need to change so many things to get the desired result. And change begins with us in terms of perception of our environment. How do we treat our environment? We need to have a change of orientation and moral values. Of course, once there is a change in moral value, once there is environmental rethinking, I believe it will have a positive effect on life expectancy.
Improvements in living standards and provision of infrastructure are part of the moral values. Moral value means that will place national interests above personal interests. Corruption is part of the things affecting us. If we know that whatever is entrusted to us, we must use it to deliver the best of care, judicious use of resources will lead to better service delivery, good roads, good housing, and of course, poverty reduction are part of determinants of life expectancy. If the average Nigerian enjoys good health or have access to good health care, then his/her life expectancy will increase. Once we know that we are our brothers’ keepers, we love one another, then that will have a multiplier effect and life expectancy will improve. It is not only by building hospitals, because even if you build hospitals, not everybody will have access to them. There is also the aspect of ignorance. There are people who do not believe in going to hospitals because there is an herbalist that can attend to them. They will say their problem cannot be handled by western medicine, so, they prefer native medicine. That has its impact but what is killing people is attitude. Thirty to 40 years ago, we did not have so many hospitals but our life expectancy was higher than what we have now. So what has changed? It us the moral value.
There is no single measure for the standard or quality of living of human beings. There are composite measures. The per capita income is often taken simplistically. But most of the measures are tied to PCI which is the average income earned by the citizens of any country.The United Nations Development Programme came up with the Human Capacity Index which is derived from the analysis of over 100 parameters including variables such as access to health care, education and other things necessary for the longevity of life.
Since 1998 that the UNDP started reporting on Nigeria, unfortunately, our score has always been in the last quarter; it is very poor.The first way the Federal Government can improve on the life expectancy of Nigerians is to give them employment. A person who is not employed is as good as dead. In a family where both parents are not working and poor, the children will be miserable and they cannot live up to their normal years.So, the first thing is that the government should take employment creation for citizens as the most serious business.
Look at highly industrialised countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom; you will see their politicians still harping on employment, job creation and so on. They are not foolish. They know that this is the first thing an individual and a government must take care of.Let your people be employed. When the people are not employed, it is as if the government has confined them to a lifestyle of misery.
A study done by one of the leading American universities said that people who are retire but still do one work or the other live longer than those who retired and do nothing. This is the way God has designed human beings.So, if the government is going to be sincere, it will not play with employment generation for our millions of unemployed citizens.I have said it before that this government is not sincere in this area. We need a minimum of two million jobs per year in this country if we are going to come out of the poverty trap that we are in. We are still going to require more than that later.
If there are no good jobs, people cannot have access to good health and good nutrition. If the people have sufficient income to live a decent life, they will live longer naturally.There are still other areas that enhance life expectancy; but they are all dependent on a good income.
The issue of the improvement of life expectancy of Nigerians, whether directly or indirectly, can be tied to a number of factors. First, there has to be a structure that supports the general well-being and dignity of the human person as well as a holistic approach to health care delivery. In Cuba, which is not richly endowed in terms of natural resources for example, there is an efficient health care delivery system. This is so because it invested heavily in education. It is a communist society where there is a limit to how much an individual can acquire in terms of personal wealth at the state’s expense; but since the revolution in 1957, Cuba has been able to manage the life expectancy of its population in a way that is comparable to high flyers like the United States and Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which are richer financially. What this shows is that, life expectancy is not a function of how materially rich a country is. We must get our governance issues right by changing our orientation to public service. We must invest massively in education and the provision of health facilities from the primary up to the tertiary level. Most importantly, provide Nigerians access to the basic necessities of life. This, more than anything else; will boost the desire to live and live well.
I think the first thing is for us to improve the economy. The more people are unemployed, the more frustrated they become. You know that Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world. More than 80 per cent of the population live below the benchmark of one dollar per day. When you look at things critically, once people cannot meet basic needs, be it food or shelter, the propensity to fall sick and die is high. It is a leadership issue; if the quality of leadership and governance is improved, the life expectancy of Nigerians will improve. If we also have infrastructure like basic health care, even primary health care, it would impact life expectancy. In most communities, you don’t have hospitals, so before you transport the sick to a hospital, he would have died. Many lacked access to potable water; how many cities can boast of potable water? In the urban areas, how many homes can boast of tap water supply? How many people can boast of 24 hours power supply? So, the little things of life that make people live longer like food, shelter, health care are lacking in the country and that is why people die needlessly. Provision of these things would increase life expectancy and this is only possible through quality governance and good leadership.
The first area to look at in increasing the life expectancy of Nigerians is the aspect of public health. The government must work with experts in the field of public health to manage the well-being of its citizens. When there is a breakdown in public health, the effects are always devastating on the society. In the past, the life expectancy rate of our people was affected by communicable diseases such as Cholera and Tetanus. Today, we have non-communicable and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis affecting the quality of living of the people. So, we are watching the trend and we believe that no government must fold its arms in advancing the public health which is one key index of the quality of life the people are going to live. The government needs to do more on public health enlightenment and work with professionals to sensitise the people to better ways of improving their health. There are so many areas that still need improvement in the country and we have to intensify our efforts.
Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo (A former Chief Medical Director, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital)
Bisi Sanda (An economist/retired Senior Partner, Ernst and Young),