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Cement sector sets for recovery amid fragile growth, weak infrastructure

There are indications that the cement sector of the Nigerian economy is on recovery part despite threats posed by sluggish growth of the macro-economy, steep naira devaluation, militancy in the Niger Delta region and weak infrastructure spending by private and public sectors.

The sector was drastically affected by the underwhelming performance of the economy mainly because the demand for cement tracks the performance of the macro-economy as well as government policies, reforms and spending on infrastructures.

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A report on the Nigerian cement industry titled ‘In Search of Growth Triggers’ by Afrinvest Securities, an independent investment banking firm, shows the sector grew 4.5 percent in 2018 compared to -2.2 percent in 2017 as real GDP rose to 1.9 percent in 2018 from 0.8 percent a year earlier.

The sector which accounted for over 0.8 percent in real GDP in 2018 saw growth moderating to an average of -1.0 percent in the last three years compared with 16.9 percent in the previous decade.

The 2016 recession which saw growth declining to -1.6 percent from 2.8 percent in 2015 thwarted the fortunes of cement business as the sector contracted 5.4 percent in 2016 compared with 22.1 percent in 2015.

Consequently, the country’s consumption per capita dipped 20.5 percent to 97kg in 2017, lower than South Africa (234 kg), Senegal (222kg), India (217kg) Ghana (202 kg) and the sub-Saharan African region (116kg).

In addition, the devaluation of the naira between 2014 and 2017 triggered operating costs of cement companies given their exposure of energy costs ( as gas is priced in dollars and coals are imported) coupled with debt to foreign currency risk, which consequently hiked cement prices.

Lafarge was badly bruised due to its foreign currency loans. Dangote was unaffected owing to its long dollar position on the back of its recorded earnings from revaluation gains.

Also, activities in the real estate and construction sectors that ought to support growth of the sector are uninspiring. Both sectors grew less than 2.5 percent in 2018. Infrastructure spending is still below the recommended $50 trillion or N18 trillion based on Nigerian Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP).

Steps taken to address the issues

The opulence of the cement industry has started to revive. Players have diversified their sources of fuel and have equally embraced local input sourcing. Stability in the foreign exchange market since mid-2017 has, to a great extent, eased pressure on operating costs of cement makers.

With the diversification of input sourcing, cement makers now have the long-term buffers to absorb currency risk, in case it occurs.

Key trends driving the sector

According to the report, new investment opportunities are gaining momentum in the sector amid overcapacity. An estimated 7.1 metric tonnes (MT) was added to the sector’s capacity since 2016 though utilization is less than 50 percent. Additional 12 MT is expected to come on board given Nigeria’s growing population and export opportunities.

The report pointed out that cement makers have started optimizing fuel mix, and this gave them upper hand to benefit from cheap fuels such as coal. Optimizing fuel mix is expected to spike earnings on the back of reduced energy cost.

Given the growing demand for cement, players are now moving to other parts of the country to exploit excess capacity in the exports market. Trucking remains the major means of transportation as infrastructure remains deplorable.


The outlook for the sector is positive. The sector expanded 4.5 percent in 2018 as against -2.2 percent in 2017. Energy cost is expected to trend southwards given diversification of input sourcing and mild currency risk. Based on this, volume as well as earnings and profitability are expected to surge.

However, the report noted that growth of the broader economy will underperform the population growth rate close to 3 percent in medium term, thereby affecting demand for cement.

The enforcement of executive order 007, which grants tax credits to companies for funding public infrastructure, is expected to reduce tax expense and boost earnings of cement makers.

Although the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) aims to promote intra-Africa trade by reducing tariff, there are growing concerns on whether this policy would hamper the competitiveness of Nigerian cement. This might be the reason for President Buhari’s reluctance to sign the agreement.

In another side, there is high chance for Nigerian cement producers to benefit from the agreement given their cost competitiveness as a result of excess capacity, tax incentives and abundance of raw materials. The report noted that Dangote Cement is poised to benefit most due to its overcapacity in several regions of Africa.

Given the paucity of raw materials in West African region, cement importation is not a big threat to Nigerian cement makers, coupled with the fact that huge transport costs from other parts of the continent would make imports unattractive.


Lagos graduates 350 artisans in Master Craftsman Project

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday graduated 350 artisans in the second batch of its Master Craftsman Project scheme.

The Master Craftsman Project aims to address the skill gap in the housing sector in Lagos State.

Speaking at the event which held in Ikeja, Lagos, Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, said that the Ambode administration was worried by the skill gap, hence it flagged off the Master Craftsman Project in 2016.

Adebule, represented by the Permanent Secretary in her office, Mrs Yetunde Odejayi, said that the government had a vision of training 4,000 artisans.

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According to her, the Master Craftsman Project was an initiative of the state government to bridge the skill gap, in order to prevent foreigners from taking over jobs of technicians in the built industry.

“Today, I am happy having graduated 170 in 2017, another batch of 350 are graduating today,’’ she said.

Adebule stated that the government was “determined to reverse the trend’’ of influx of foreign artisans, to ensure local artisans take back their pride of place in the built industry.

She said that the Master Craftsman Project was creating jobs and ensuring self-reliance among local artisans, adding that the government had provided required tools for the graduating artisans to promote hard work and integrity.

The Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said that the scheme was aimed at scaling up professionalism of artisans in the state, to meet up with current global trends.

Lawal said that the platform created an opportunity for artisans and workers in the construction industry to receive certificates after being trained to acquire 21st Century skills.

He said that issues of quackery, quality of service, inappropriate charges, and unethical conduct leading to building collapse were considered and built into the curriculum to produce world class artisans.

Also, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, congratulated the grandaunts, whom he noted had become professionals and who should uphold construction ethics to stem incidence of building collapse.

He appealed to the grandaunts to place professionalism high above the selfish ambition of making quick profit, and to uphold efficiency.

“I want you to do your work with full sense of duty,” he said.

Seye Oladejo, the Commissioner of the State Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, said the scheme “shows Lagos State Government is thinking in the right direction for the future”.

Oladejo said that world over, skills acquisition was the best form of empowerment and job creation strategy for economic development.

He called for support of residents toward sustenance of the good work.

Oladejo said that Lagos was too big to be an experiment and urged residents of Lagos to vote the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s election.

Mr Ayo Muritala, of the Knewrow Performance Engineering, the firm that trained the artisans, commended the efforts of the state government and other stakeholders in the training.

He said that the firm was creating an app to help residents of Lagos locate professional artisans in their communities.

Muritala said that the firm was also creating a database of all qualified certified artisans and was issuing them customised identity cards to eliminate fraud.

He called on the state government to make it a policy to absorb all the trained artisans into its major projects.

“I hope you will make it a policy that 80 per cent of your artisans would come from Master Craftsman,’’ he said.

A female graduating welder, Folasayo Anjorin, speaking on behalf of the others, thanked the state government for the opportunity given them to better impact of the construction industry.

“On behalf of my colleagues here, I say a very big thank you,” she said.

Certificates were presented to grandaunts and their identity cards unveiled by the Deputy Governor’s representative.


Architectural tourist attractions in Nigeria

Architecture, a tool for drawing tourists to a country, has some stake in Nigerian big cities.

Take a look at some popular buildings in Nigeria whose designs and grandeur certainly attract tourists.
Countries like Dubai and Japan place high value on the architectural tourism, which shows in the kinds of buildings they produce.

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Nigeria, however, doesn’t have as much clout, but there are some that indeed stand out.

1 . Abuja’s Airplane house


This house built in the shape of a plane is one sight to behold in Abuja. It was built by a Lebanese couple, the Saids, in 2002. Jammal Said, the husband who spearheaded the project, in a bid to fulfil his wife’s love of travel, came up with the idea of building a plane house of about 100 ft (30.5 m) long.

According to Culture Trip, “The house itself has three floors and a basement. The wings and engines of the plane that extend over the sides of the hilltop villa each contain a bedroom and bathroom. The beautifully constructed cabin area is a living room and bar, the TV/computer game room is located in the plane’s cockpit, while the back of the plane is a kitchen. Along with the main building, the property also features a number of other aircraft-inspired structures, one resembling an aircraft control tower. Behind the main house is a smaller, plane-topped guest cottage and a two-storey security booth.”

2 . Kano City Walls

The ancient Kano city walls were once regarded as West African’s most impressive monument. They feature the Emir’s Palace, Kurmi Market and the famous Dala Hills that span a 14km radius, constructed to define defence, political space, management and security system.
In 1904, Lord Lugard described Kano as a “commercial emporium of the western Sudan,” and estimated that there were 170 walled towns still in existence in Kano province of northern Nigeria. Speaking on its walls, he said, “I have never seen, nor even imagined, anything like it in Africa.”


3. National Mosque (Central Mosque)

The Abuja National Mosque, informally known as Central Mosque, is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions of Abuja. According to the Hongkiat survey, the Abuja National Mosque is one of the top 50 Most Beautiful Religious Centres in the world. Its famous golden dome and four minarets, which can be seen from miles away, are signature for the depiction of the Federal Capital Territory. Tourists come from all over the world to take a tour of the mosque which is open to the non-Muslims except during prayers.

4. Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos

The Cathedral Church of Christ is one of the best descriptions for Marina, Lagos – the commercial headquarters of major banks and finance houses in Nigeria. It is the headquarters of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, and the oldest Anglican cathedral in the Church of Nigeria. The building was designed by architect Bagan Benjamin and its foundation laid by King Edward VIII of Wales.

The building was commissioned for use in 1946 and has remained a major tourist point in Lagos.

5. National Art Theatre, Lagos

The National Arts Theatre is the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria. Located in Iganmu, Lagos State, construction was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977.

By Adaobi Onyeakagbu

Anambra benefits from FG’s N500m Housing scheme

Anambra state has benefited from the federal government’s 500 million naira Staff Corporation housing scheme through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria FMBN.

This was as a result of Governor Willie Obiano’s magnanimity in repaying the 200 million naira the state owed before now.


Speaking at the weekend, the Executive Director of FMBN, Nnanyelugo Melville Ebo, when he visited the state, said the bank had other schemes the state would benefit from also including health insurance scheme.

He said the scheme was for Southeast, South South and South West, adding that by June 2nd, the second phase of the projects would begin.

Ebo, said the Bank came to the state for collaboration, adding that they were offering two states per each zone, with 100 houses each.

He said Anambra was listed in the scheme because, it was compliant, adding that Housing was something everybody should benefit from, which according to him, had been the idea of the president Muhammadu Buhari led government.

In his response, the Managing Director of the Anambra State Housing Corporation, Willie Okafor, said the state was keying into the scheme without delay.

He said the mandate of Governor Willie Obiano to them was to provide enough Housing to the people of the state, adding that the state was ready to key into all the schemes enumerated by the Bank.

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka

The cost of renting a home in Lagos is incredibly high, but a new rent model could be the way around it

Welcome to the city of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and home to 21 million people, according to the Lagos State Government estimates. The World Population Review expects it to double by 2050 despite Lagos being only 1,171 km² big.

Due to its limited geographic size, large population, and status as Nigeria’s central business district, housing in Lagos is in high demand.

Alongside Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be the second biggest driver of the world’s building activities in the years leading up to 2025 and global construction output will double to $15 trillion in that time, according to PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate: The Global Outlook 2018 report.

The report also states that Nigeria will be one of the biggest contributors to this growth as it will need almost 20 million new homes between 2012 and 2025. One huge factor in this growth will be Lagos’ booming population and housing deficit, which the state commissioner for housing puts at about 3 million.

However, despite the need to make up for its deficit, Lagos’ major housing problem lies elsewhere — the cost of rent. By the last population census data (2006), 53.9% of Lagos’ population was below the age of 25. By now, the majority of this demographic are in their most productive years, looking to settle down by owning or renting their own apartments. For them, rent is either too expensive or hard to maintain, mainly because earning power is much weaker.

Ibukun Akinnawo, a resident of Lagos, says, “Rent in Lagos is definitely ridiculously priced.” She argues that apartments are often not worth the prices they go for. “For example, I currently live in a serviced apartment, which really isn’t serviced at all,” she says. “The landlord just takes the service charge and does God knows what with it. Whenever any of the facilities spoil in the apartment, my housemates and I have to pay for it out of pocket because the facility manager is nowhere to be found.”

“Most people cannot afford to pay upfront costs to rent a place for one or two years,” Tola Adesanmi, the co-founder of Spleet, a real estate startup that offers flexible rent and housing options in Lagos, argues.

Olaoluwa Oyedele, a business analyst, however, believes that rent in Lagos is adequately priced. “Real estate markets work based on the principles of demand and supply, except in cases of manipulative power men,” he says. “Many times when we talk about rent in Lagos, places like the Island, Yaba, Gbagada come to mind, but don’t forget Idimu, Ikotun, Egbeda (where rent is much cheaper) are also parts of Lagos.”

However, places where rent is relatively cheap in Lagos are far away from the central business districts where most companies have their offices. Meaning people residing in those areas have to battle daily with Lagos’ notorious traffic, which will ultimately affect their productivity. Living closer to work is a luxury very few can afford.

The high demand for accommodation means landlords are less incentivised to embrace any rent model that prevents them from getting their money in bulk up-front. What this also means is that people are inclined to take what they get. Oftentimes, houses in Lagos are constructed with little regard for environmental and safety laws — poor drainage systems, poor ventilation, and buildings so closely built to roads that there is no space for sidewalks or parking. Even gutters are not well-channelled so that they fill up quickly and streets get flooded when it rains heavily.
“Demand for housing in Lagos is too high and low-income earners suffer for it,” Alhaji Olanrewaju Kanimodo, who has been a landlord in Fadeyi, Lagos for over 20 years, says. “Since housing is driven by demand, if you say you won’t pay for a place because the landlord is demanding a year or two worth of rent, someone else will take it. Also, when someone builds a house and they spend millions, they at least will want to recoup the bulk of that money as fast as possible.”

He further explains that landlords collect upfront rent because it is the norm and it is safer, a way to combat the lack of trust that hovers above many transactions in Lagos. “Most of us landlords (and caretakers) don’t live in these houses, so someone who didn’t pay upfront can just decide to pack and go away one day without us knowing.”

Container homes (or Cargotecture)
To solve this problem of expensive housing, some have suggested the use of cargo containers to build more affordable homes, but this is a concept still alien to Nigerians. While it is a good idea for temporary housing, it might not be suitable for long-term accommodation, Dotun Aderibigbe, an architect, says.


“Container spaces were designed for cars and goods but not for human beings. The average headroom of houses in Nigeria is almost 10ft (3m), regular containers are less than 9ft (2.59m), the extra tall ones are 9ft 6in (2.89m) tall, considerably less than the average headroom and this is before insulation and services like plumbing and HVAC have been installed,” he says.
According to a building expert, even the Lagos State Building Control Agency considers container houses temporary structures, making them ineligible for mortgages.

What’s more, cargotecture, as container housing is often called, requires the interested party to secure a piece of land and be able to bear the costs that come with building, something many Lagosians are unable to do. Thus, the option is still a long way off widespread adoption.

African cities become the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without a roof over their heads. With that in mind, IFC has committed to do more to develop the property sector, both to provide new and affordable housing and to encourage an industry that requires significant building materials and has the potential to be a major employer. In May, IFC and Chinese multinational construction and engineering company, CITIC Construction launched a $300 million investment platform, CITICC (Africa) Holding Limited, to develop affordable housing in multiple African countries. The platform will partner with local housing developers and provide long-term capital to develop 30,000 homes over next five years. IFC estimates that each housing unit will create five full-time jobs – resulting in nearly 150,000 new jobs on the continent. Kenya and Nigeria are high on the priority list for the new effort. Kenya’s housing shortage is estimated at 2 million units, while Nigeria is in want of 17 million units. The soaring demand is being met by scant new supply. Africa’s housing market has few local developers with the technical and financial strength to construct large-scale projects. The IFC-CITIC Construction platform will work with local housing companies to develop affordable housing projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, each ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 units. CITIC Construction has a proven track record in constructing and delivering large scale housing projects. The platform will start by developing homes in Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, expanding to other countries as operations ramp up. “In Angola, through planning, financing, construction and post-construction operation, CITIC Construction has successfully completed the 200,000 units housing program, new city of Kilamba Kiaxi, with relative infrastructure and utilities in four years. CITIC Construction has also founded the CITIC BN Vocational School in Angola which helps youth acquire the skills they need to become professionals”, said Hong Bo, Assistant President of CITIC Group and Chairwoman of CITIC Construction, “CITIC Construction will take advantage of our engineering experience and delivery capability to develop more affordable houses for Africa through the platform with IFC.” “As Sub-Saharan Africa become more urbanized, the private sector can help governments meet the critical need for housing”, said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “The platform will help transform Africa’s housing markets by providing high quality, affordable homes, creating jobs, and demonstrating the viability of the sector to local developers. IFC will work with financial institutions to support mortgages and housing finance that will allow people to purchase the units.” The new housing units will be constructed in accordance to IFC’s green building standards, delivering homes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The World Bank Group estimates that by 2030, three billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population will need new housing units. To date, IFC has invested more than $3 billion in housing finance in over 46 countries world-wide. IFC focuses on regions where large portions of the population live in sub-standard housing and have limited access to credit to build, expand, or renovate their homes.

Access over ownership
There are startups fighting to help change the current rent model to one more friendly for tenants and one that better matches people’s earning structures — daily, weekly and monthly wages and salaries.

“The world is turning to subscription models instead of upfront payments,” Adesanmi, co-founder of Spleet, says. “Millennials and working class professionals are starting to embrace the idea of access over ownership more. The remote and project-based nature of new jobs means that people don’t want to live in one place for a whole year.”
This is the logic behind Adesanmi’s Spleet and Fibre, another startup that offers “on-demand home rental solutions”. Users of these platforms can rent already-furnished homes and pay daily, monthly, or quarterly. Rent ranges from N50,000 per day to almost N500,000 per month depending on the number of rooms and size of the apartment. However, the prices on both platforms are steep for the pockets of most Lagos residents.

Both Spleet and Fibre have most of their locations in Ikoyi, Lekki, and Victoria Island — the most expensive parts of Lagos. The reason for this, Adesanmi explains, is that most of the available houses in these areas are real estate investments by people living in Lagos Mainland and most of the people who rent homes through Spleet are young people who work on the islands and want to beat Lagos’ notorious traffic.
Can monthly rent become prevalent in Nigeria’s commercial capital?
Adesanmi believes this model of paying rent monthly can be replicated across Lagos with much education and different incentives, lowering the burden of annual or bi-annual rent. Perhaps if annual rent is fractured into monthly or quarterly payments and some extra money is included, this could incentivise landlords and also help tenants plan better financially. So, an N800,000 rent that should amount to N66,666.66 per month could become N70,000 per month, a 5% increase in monthly income for the landlord and a marginal increase for the tenant.

If monthly rent will ever become widely accepted in Lagos, the government has a role to play, Alhaji Kanimodo says. He explains that it was the government decree made many years ago that revised the norm, which was for tenants to pay rent for 2 to 5 years before moving in. “Back in the day, the government could fix housing prices,” he says. So if anything is to change now, the Lagos State Government has a big part to play.

Mrs Nina Falohun, a Spleet landlord, says that the rent model ultimately depends on what works for a landlord. “You have to look at what suits you and go for it, depending on your exposure and expenditure,” she says. She opted to get quarterly payments from Spleet, which she says she signed up to because it is “a good return on investment” and because the platform ensures her property is kept in good condition.

Mrs Falohun believes that flexible rent models are more convenient for tenants because then, people can afford to live where they want without worrying about paying heavy upfront costs. People get paid monthly, so it’ll help if they pay their rent monthly as well, she says. She also highlighted how Nigeria’s poor saving culture makes it more difficult for people to keep up with the annual rent model.

Chuma Onwuka, a Fibre user, says that the idea of paying rent monthly or quarterly instead of annually is “very useful”. “Most young adults either cannot accumulate that much cash at a go on a regular basis or would rather invest their money,” he says. The returns from investments, he argues, “can be used to offset rent payments due on a monthly/quarterly basis.”

Oyedele believes this monthly model “makes life easier for everyone” since “we get paid monthly, we should pay rent monthly. It also makes it easy to evict defaulting tenants and creates a stable income for landlords.”

Akinnawo echoes his thoughts that the monthly rent model will benefit both landlords and tenants. “Their apartments don’t have to be empty for months/years. It’s easier for people to cough up monthly rent than yearly rent. Think about it? Everyone gets paid monthly not annually,” she says.

By David Adeleke

Architects call for investigation into collapse of buildings in Abia

The Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Architect Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) have called on Abia Government to investigate the causes of collapsed buildings in the state.

The Abia Chapters of NIA and ARCON jointly made the call in Aba, during their fact-finding mission to the sites of recent collapsed buildings in the state on Saturday.

The associations spoke through the state chairman of NIA, Mr Ikechi Ochulo and Mr Dan Nwnkwo, representative of ARCON.

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Ochulo said that the call was necessitated by the spate of building collapses recently recorded in Aba, which claimed some lives and injured others.

He said that the fact-finding mission had taken the associations to the Town Planning Authorities of Aba South, Aba North and Osisioma Local Government Areas.

He said the mission was aimed at ascertaining the authenticity of the architects involved in the collapsed building and how they got their building approvals.

Ochulo urged the state government to investigate the development and give punishments to builders who cut corners during construction.

He expressed concern over activities of quacks in the state and wondered how they succeed claiming to be architects, getting their drawings approved by Town Planning Authorities without licence and seal of approval as stipulated by the law governing the profession.

“We have a situation of when collapses happen in this state, no panel, no investigation takes place.

“On the part of government, no panel of investigation is set up for culprits to be brought to book so that others will learn.

“That’s why we plead with the government not to sweep these recent incidents under the carpet like the previous ones. Things must be done properly to help everyone.

“We have procedures for checkmating this evil. ARCON has made provisions that before Town Planners approve any drawing, they must see the seal of a registered and licenced architect.

“There’s a security stamp we put on the drawing of every true professional architect, “he said.

He, however, regretted that the drawings of the collapsed buildings which they saw at the Town Planning Office had none of all these things.

“This tells you where the problems are coming from. These are part of the things we are seeing that make us call for serious synergy between us and the Town Planning Authorities.

“The presence of these quacks is a great problem to our profession and the society and when there is a problem like this and we continue with it, we stand the chance of a greater loss ” he said.

Chief Dan Nwankwo who spoke for ARCON said the problem in Abia and the nation at large, was failure of thepeople to engage professionals.

“So, we are urging the people of this state to form the habit of using professional architects and engineers in their projects.

“If they do that, there will be no collapse. Over and above that, they should also accept the advice of these professionals during construction so that the building will stand the test of time”, he said.

How cost of building materials affect delivery of affordable housing

The responsibility to set a convenient business space is that of government. Government may not have business in business though this should not create alibi for government to abdicate its responsibilities in regulating the business environment. The enabling environment allows the small and big players to co-exist. The coexistence leads to very healthy competition which in turn leads to a better consumer marketer. Unfortunately, this government has practically politicized every aspect of our lives. The will to take decisions that benefit the majority of Nigerians is totally absent. To buttress this postulation, I have decided to share this empherical historical evidence with my teaming readers with credit to the Society for Business and Management Dynamics” 1999

An ambitious housing policy was launched by the then military government in 1991 with a slogan

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“Housing for All by the Year 2000A.D’’. The goal was for all Nigerians to have access to decent housing at affordable cost before the end of year 2000 A.D. The housing needs in the country as at that the lunch of the policy stand at about 8 million units including projection in meeting the policy target in both rural and urban centers in response to united nations advocacy which calls for housing for all by the year 2000A.D (Ogunrayewa and Madaki, 1999).This is through adequate involvement of the private sector in infrastructural provision and to serve as the main vehicle for organization and delivery of housing

Business Management Dynamics Vol.3, No.2 Aug 201, pp.60 -68 Society for Business and Management Dynamics products and services (Yakubu, 2004; Aribigbola, 2008).The policy estimated that 700,000 housing units are to be built each year if housing deficit is to be cancelled of which about 60percent of the houses are to be built in urban centers. The policy restructured the financial routing of accessing housing loans by way of creating a two tier financial structure, which is the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria as the apex and supervisory institution and primary mortgage institutions as primary lenders. However, in 2007 the

FMBN conceded supervisory functions to CBN (Yakubu, 2004; Aribigbola, 2008).The FMBN nevertheless was empowered through decree no. 82 of 1993 to collects, manage and administer contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) from registered individuals and companies. The National Housing Fund is the product of the 1992 Housing Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

According to The Nigerian Economist (1992) Decree No. 3 of 1992 which was packaged against the background of the National Housing, Policy (NHP), is a legal instrument for mandating individuals and government to pool resources into the National Housing Fund (NHF). The NHF can be seen as the ultimate culmination of the previous efforts of governments in Nigeria at housing provisioning. The policy establishing the NHF emanated from recognition of the severe housing problems in most of Nigeria’s urban areas (Anugwom and Anugwom, 1999). Therefore, the policy took cognizance of both the qualitative (existence of substandard housing,) and quantitative (severe housing shortages) nature of the problem. The 1992 Decree more or less pursued the original objectives outlined in the National Housing Policy: (1980); the main objectives of which were:

a. To ensure that the provision of housing units are based on realistic standards which the house owners can afford;

b. To give priority to housing programmes designed to benefit the low income group; and

c. To encourage every household to own its own house through the provision of more credit or fund (this specific objective more or less crystallised into the NHF).Apart from these previous objectives, the 1992 policy aimed at keeping in line with the enabling objective of the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements.

Thus, it was geared towards mobilising resources for effective house ownership by workers while at the same time de-emphasising the intrusiveness of government in the housing sector. The NHF was initially meant to facilitate the now discarded vision of housing for all by the year 2000A.D which was long being over taken by events.

Oyo-Ita, Ghanaian Minister provides solution to fix housing deficit

Says 55, 000 civil servants subscribed for FISH housing scheme

Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, and Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Hon. Freda Prempeh have called for increased Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to fix housing deficit in the country.

The dignitaries including the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola made the call during 12th edition of the Abuja International Housing Show, held at the weekend in Abuja.

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It was themed: Driving Growth and Sustainability in Nigeria’s Housing and Mortgage Markets-Improving Structures and Policies for impact.

The HOS, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Welfare Office, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack disclosed that about 55, 000 civil servants have subscribed for the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

Oyo-Ita restated Federal Government commitment to addressing the housing deficit stressing that there are other ongoing programmes to ensure affordable housing delivery.

“This is an indication of the desire of key stakeholders in this sector not only to fill the gaps in the housing sector in terms of quantum but also to ensure qualitative delivery. The FISH programme is being delivered in partnership with private sector organisations, either as estate developers or financiers.”

Theme of the expo, she stated was timely as it highlighted challenges of affordable housing in the country and West Africa sub region.

Earlier, the Ghanaian deputy minister identified high cost of building inputs, access to land title, poor land system and infrastructure cost as challenges bedeviling the sector.
Aside, Hon. Prempeh attributed corruption and selfish interest as another setback of the built industry.

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However, she called for the adoption of modern technologies and need to partner with the private sector.

According to her, houses should be built in districts to reduce cost and achieve affordability, adding that more than 60, 000 acres of land have been earmarked for low income earners in Ghana.

“Partnering with the private sector the more will help provide affordable housing for Nigerians,” she said.

The Minister of power, works and housing, Fashola, while declaring open the conference restated federal government’s commitment to providing sustainable affordable housing to the people.

Fashola said there are ongoing policies aimed at providing access to mortgage finance at single digit interest rate.

The minister said that the current administration has initiated a new policy towards better housing delivery nationwide.

“As our demography is increasing, there is need to multiply the structure to reduce cost of housing with efficient consideration methods.

“It is our goal as a government to industrialise the building and housing delivery process in Nigeria and ensure that the building components are manufactured in the country.”

Fashola was eventually awarded by organisers of the show.

Obaseki to Edo workers: Embrace housing scheme

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged the state government workers to embrace the federal government housing scheme to enable them become homeowners after retirement.

Obaseki gave the advice on Friday in Benin during a sensitisation programme on the federal housing mortgage scheme for public sector workers in the state, organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in conjunction with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), in Benin City.

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He noted that the implementation would cut across all the 18 local government areas of the state with special considerations for teachers as an incentive to boost their productivity.

The governor said: “Under my watch all the workers that register for this housing mortgage scheme will benefit from it. I am aware that there was the fear of fraud in the past, let me assure you that such fear has been eliminated.

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“I urged you all to take your sensitisation programme here very seriously as it will help you understand what the scheme is all about.”

Earlier, the Deputy General Manager, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr Victor Okosu, said that the sensitisation programme was designed to enlighten the workers on the need to key into the mortgage scheme as 30 states of the country have signed up for the product.

The Edo State chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Emma Ademoku, noted that the workers are deeply involved in the sensitisation programme.

Ademoku applauded the state government for providing land for the housing scheme, and said the three senatorial districts would benefit from the scheme.

He commended the governor for paying the salaries of workers in the state even when other state governors are waiting for federal allocations.

Fashola canvasses industrializing development to make housing affordable

Fashola who was the keynote speaker at the just concluded  Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) in Abuja, the federal capital territory, explained that industrializing the sector would not only drag down the cost of construction, material wise, but would also create jobs for those involved in the housing value chain including input manufacturers, professionals and artisans.

But stakeholders in the sector, who affirmed the minister’s proposition, argued that the problems and challenges of housing development in the country find explanation more in government’s failure to either initiate housing policies and programmes or to implement existing ones.

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“When you look at housing, you see that it is not something that government can look away from because it is very important for various reasons. You can see the contribution of real estate to GDP which is about 7 percent; you also look at its effect on job creation, quality of life of citizens”, the stakeholders noted.

It is an established fact that, of the basic needs of human beings, after food, the next thing is shelter. A man that does not have a home cannot be productive because his heart and mind are not at rest.

Housing also impacts on security because a man that does not have a house lives on the street and becomes a security risk to every other person. He is vulnerable to attack and is also ready to attack other people out of anger and envy.

These are part of the reasons the stakeholders insist that government must perform its duty to make housing affordable by providing infrastructure and coming up with a policy framework in the financial sector that will make mortgage accessible and affordable through a significant reduction in interest rate.

“The housing market behaves in a particular way; it gravitates where there is effective demand. Government should recognize that the weakest demand comes from the low end market and so should direct regulatory system towards that end with a view to making a policy to address that problem”, said Femi Adewole, managing director, Shelter Afrique, Kenya.

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Adewole Added that the government should also adopt the zoning system through which it would discover areas where housing need is highest and the type of housing that they need just as it should impose heavy tax on houses that are unoccupied to discourage further development there.

Hakeem Oguniran, outgoing managing director of UPDC, agreed , but advised that developers should look away from the traditional way of sourcing construction finance from the banks with their high interest rate.

“From my experience as a developer, finance constitutes about 15-18 percent of construction cost”, he noted, advising that developers should source funds from the capital market by raising bonds which reduces interest rate and, by extension, reduce the price of houses.

Land is another aspect of housing that government should do something about in order to make housing affordable. This, it was noted, also constitutes about 20 percent of construction cost. Government was asked not to see land as a revenue generating venture for the government so that it should not be more than 5-6 percent of construction cost.

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