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Buhari to Ministers: Let’s Work to lift Nigeria Out of Poverty

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday urged Ministers designate to join him to ensure a solid foundation that will lift Nigerians out of poverty within the next ten years.

The President stated this while welcoming Ministers designates to the Presidential retreat that formaly kickstart the next level government, charging them on the need for effective communication with their colleagues.

According to the President, “working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing”, adding that “You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance”

All the 42 ministers recently cleared by the National Assembly had gathered at the old banquet hall as early as 9am defiling the early heavy rains

The President in his short remarks said ” As Ministers, I am counting on you together with Advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to build upon our road map of policies, programmes and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.”

“Our Administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the World’s Great Nations.” he said

He also charged to take full charge of their ministries ” for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in your various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in line with Government priorities.

“You must also ensure that Agencies under your Ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“Honourable Ministers-Designate, we must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians” he said.

President Buhari said the retreat will afford them opportunities to “Familiarize ourselves with our colleagues with whom we shall be working closely for the next four years God willing;

“Secondly, to reflect and assess the country’s position in 2015 and today; and thirdly, to chart a course for the country for the foreseeable future.

“All of you are appointed to assist and advise the President in running the affairs of our country. At the end of the Retreat, it is hoped that all of you will be in tune with the roles and responsibilities of positions you will occupy in Government. Many national issues require unified decisions.”

He described thier appointments as a “privilege” and urged them to” grasp the chance with two hands and put in your best efforts as Nigeria today needs top managers to handle our numerous challenges.

“There will be long hours and you must be prepared to live laborious days if we are to serve our people optimally.

“We are all aware of the looming demographic potential of our country. By average estimates, our population is close to 200 million today. By 2050, UN estimates put Nigeria third globally behind only India and China with our projected population at 411 million.

“This is a frightening prospect but only if we sit idly by and expect handouts from so-called development partners. The solution to our problems lies within us.

Source: businessdayng

People at the Heart of Smart Homes

A Housing Europe HEART Project webinar

People at the heart of Smart Homes – how to enjoy the benefits and prevent the pitfalls? This was the central question that the first webinar of Housing Europe within the framework of the Horizon 2020 HEART project, aimed to address.

How can we ensure that people, the main target of audience, are not actually in the end the ones who are left behind?

Dr. Claudio Del Pero, Senior Researcher at Politecnico Di Milano, Department of Architecture, Built Environment & Construction Engineering shared the ways in which the Horizon 2020 HEART Project is contributing to this end.

Dr. Max Craglia, Lead Scientist at the European Commission Joint Research Centre gave an overview of the relevant priorities in the 2030 strategy of the JRC including energy and digital transformation (DT). The science and knowledge service of the Commission studies the impact of key technologies including Aritficial Intelligence (AI)- see for instance their flagship report.

Stefano Zanini, User EXperience Research Leader at AssistDigital explained what is actually User Experience (UX) and made the case why it is so important, offering an analysis of the customer journey. Stefano gave a number of examples illustrating the so called ‘smart trends’.

The webinar concluded with a lively debate that generated even some partnership opportunities, so make sure you watch till the end…

The event was moderated by Housing Europe Innovation and Project Manager, Sebastien Garnier.

Source: housingeurope

SGF Urges Cabinet Members to Consolidate on Government’s Success

Minister-designate in Nigeria have been urged to join President Muhammad Buhari in providing the leadership required in developing the country and lifting the bulk of the people out of poverty.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha said this at the opening session of the induction retreat for Ministers designate, Permanent Secretaries and top Government functionaries, in Abuja, Nigeria.

He said the retreat was to prepare and sensitive the cabinet members on the status of policies, programmes and projects of Government as well as the road map towards the delivery of the priority of Mr President and the next level agenda for 2019-2023.

“The objective of this retreat is to prepare the new Cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure, having been chosen to drive and coordinate the affairs and activities of the various socio-economic and political spheres of our nation. This assembly will afford participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their roles and responsibilities as Cabinet Ministers, an understanding that will help to shape and streamline efforts towards achieving the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of Nigeria,” the SGF said.

Mr Mustapha added that the call to service also required the cabinet members to share in the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the SGF, the outcome of the retreat is expected to set a strategic agenda which would define the course of action for the next four years of the Administration, set achievable targets and identify basic strategic options that will assist the new Cabinet realise the goals for which the Administration was elected to achieve.

“The Federal Executive Council, referred to in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as the Executive Council of the Federation, is the principal instrument of policy decisions for the Federation, being the body charged with the responsibility for enunciating policies on matters to which the executive authority of the Federation extends.

“This principle of collective responsibility also infers that a Minister has responsibilities wider than those relating to his/her assigned portfolio and will, in that capacity, receive documents from other Ministers/Ministries, which do not concern the subjects under his/her portfolio, requiring his/her consideration and contribution during the weekly Council meetings,” Mustapha emphasised.

He said essentially, the retreat has been packaged to set the tone for continuous and meaningful interaction amongst Cabinet members, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Government Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions, which they supervise.

“We must ensure a consistent harmonious work relationship to serve responsibly, transparent in our conducts and accountable to the people we serve, if this Administration must fulfill its promise of taking Nigeria to the Next Level.

“Honourable Ministers designate, let me remind us that the task of governance requires patience, dedication and total commitment to the objectives we have committed to pursue, especially in realization of the yearnings for quick delivery of the dividends of democracy by the people,”he said.

He also encouraged the cabinet members to consolidate on the gains of the last four years of the Administration, identify the remaining areas that need to be addressed and remain committed to improving the lives of people by confronting the emerging challenges of climate change, resettling displaced communities, dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country, and improving the economic conditions of the citizenry.

“The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has in the last four years done a lot to revamp the economy, achieve a corruption free society and provide adequate security for the people. It has laid foundation and taken bold steps in transforming the country and liberating our people from the shackles of poverty,” he added.

The SGF further enjoined them to live above board by eschewing every conduct, private or public, that would tarnish the good image of the President-in-Council.

Source: von

5 things Buhari’s New Finance Minister Must Do Within 100 days

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will likely assign portfolios to ministers this week. Among the most anticipated appointments will be the office of the Minister of Finance.

In Nigeria, the Minister of Finance oversees setting and implementing the economic policies of the government. Under Buharinomics, this portfolio has been characterized by controversies and (perhaps this sounds harsh) incompetence.

Whomever President Buhari decides to appoint to that portfolio this week will have his or her work cut, out and could be expected to remain in the portfolio for the next four years. Never before, in the democratic dispensation ushered in since 1999, has the portfolio of the next Minister of Finance been so important.

Thus, it is crucial that whoever is appointed sets the ball rolling immediately, making a mark in the first 100 days in office. Nairametrics surveyed opinions from economists and analysts on what their expectations are from the Minister. Unfortunately, most of the requests instructively laid down by our analysts may not be acceded to, nevertheless, it still is important to lay down the marker.

 

Fiscal Quagmire: According to Wale Okunrinboye, the Head of Research at Sigma Pensions, the Minister will need to produce a credible plan for improving Nigeria’s fiscal revenues. Nigeria is yet to recover fully from the 2014 crash of the price of oil, as the government has had to rely on increased borrowings to finance capital and recurrent expenditure.

  • Since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, the country’s debt profile has increased by almost 107% in naira value.
  • In the first quarter of 2015, Nigeria’s total public debt stood at N12.4 trillion or $64.2 billion, while it rose to N24.9 trillion or $81.27 billion in March 2019.
  • Analysis of data obtained from the Debt Management Office also shows that Nigeria has spent a total of N7.04 trillion to service both domestic and external debts under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration alone.
  • Nigeria currently spends over 50% of its revenues on debt servicing.

Unfortunately, the government plans to fund the 2019 budget with even more borrowing. We do not expect the Finance Minister to go against this plan.

Relationship with CBN: According to Yomi Fawehinmi, an Oil and Gas expert and Economic commentator, the new Minister will have to secure better coordination with the Central Bank of Nigeria. During the last regime, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had a cordial relationship with the Governor of Central Bank in the eye of the media, but often differed on policy coordination.

  • While the government pursued economic expansion via monetary handout to the poor, the Central Bank towed the way of the hawkish monetary policy.
  • The Buhari government has spent billions on grants to farmers as it pushed through its agricultural policies.
  • While it favoured the way of grants and soft loans to farmers and other preferred sectors of the economy, the Central Bank often raised lending rates to discourage excessive borrowing, part of a grand plan to stifle demand for forex.
  • In the case where there was coordination, it was a disaster. Case in point, the way the government handled the exchange rate crisis and its synergy on pseudo banning of importation of 41 items.

 

Yomi believes that the government will have to focus more on policy coordination if it encourages private sector investments. He also believes that transparency in public finances is key in improving investor confidence in the management of economic coffers, especially the CBN.

Unfortunately, this too is unlikely to happen, as the president is more inclined towards interference. Just last week, the president declared that he had instructed the CBN Governor to stop providing forex to suppliers of food.

Budget ImplementationNigeria’s 2019 Budget has its fair share of positives, even if most critics of the government still highlight its shortcomings. Nevertheless, the new Minister will have to ensure that the budget implementation plan is robust and cash-backed.

  • Out of the N8.9 trillion earmarked for the 2019 Budget, N2 trillion was budgeted for Capital Expenditure.
  • Critical sectors such as Power, Works, and Housing are badly in need of funding to complete projects across the country and initiate new ones.
  • Massive infrastructural work across the country can help stimulate its economy.

Ighodaro Alonge, a Fund Manager, and Financial Analyst believe that the government should reduce its wage bill, particularly recurrent expenditure. It is however unlikely that the government will cut down on recurrent expenditure.

In fact, over the years, the government has achieved 100% spending on recurrent expenditures but far less on capital expenditure. It could also be beyond the purview of the Minister of Finance to implement budget across the economy.

CBN Ways and Means: In 2016, the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi accused the CBN of contravening section 38.2 of the CBN act by borrowing more than the required threshold to the Federal Government. This has not deterred the CBN, as the apex bank has continued to lend money to the government.

  • As at May 2019, the CBN has lent a whopping N6.8 trillion to the FG in the form of “overdraft for Budgetary Expenses” as contained in its data.
  • The CBN Ways and Means, which the Emir of Kano alleged was being violated, is also drawn to the tune of about N277 billion only.
  • The government is likely to continue to rely on the CBN to fund its budgetary expenses, hoping to repay someday from oil receipts.

Dr. Nonso Obikili, an Economist, believes that the new Minister should rein in on the indirect financing of the FG by the CBN. With oil prices falling and the government increasingly failing to achieve its budgetary targets, it is unlikely that the new minister will have the balls to stop this ill-advised policy.

It is interesting to note how similar all the recommendations are including that of @Ugodre, the founder of Nairametrics.

See the table below:

Finance Minister, Buhari
What the new Finance Minister must do

Source: nairametrics

Awobodu Emerges President, Seeks Institute’s Recognition

To mitigate activities of quacks in the industry, the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) has called on the federal government to give more recognition to professional builders in the country especially in the delivery of projects.

The new national president of the institute, Mr. Kunle Awobodu made the appeal during his inauguration at the 49th Builders’ Conference/AGM 2019, held at the Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He stressed that the government should institute the enabling law and implementation mechanism that would reverse the current inadequate involvement of professionals in building construction.

“With the volume of buildings being constructed in Nigeria, it becomes an irony when trained Builders are complaining of joblessness. This is an area the government should pay attention to. When buildings are falling frequently due to inadequate professional involvement in building construction, government should institute the enabling law that would reverse the current unacceptable construction process. We shall work together with the Government and also hold them accountable”.

He pointed out that the tragedy with the nation is that square pegs are deliberately put in round holes for selfish reasons lamenting that clueless and unpatriotic persons, who do not possess the natural passion to carry out an assignment are the ones usually saddled with a professional responsibility.

The president advised that government should endeavour to institute a system that would not sacrifice merit for mediocrity and pledged that the institute was effectively ready to collaborate with the government to ensure that the right people are assigned into the construction sector.

He disclosed that the institute would embark on international collaborations in order to equip members with latest construction technology and improved methodology while specialisation in different areas of building by members will be introduced so as to improve competence.

“This administration will sustain the ongoing nation-wide up-skilling of the old and training of new building artisans by the NIOB and Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) in line with the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) of the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) and with the support of the NSIO N-Power programme of the Federal Government”.

“If Builders are complaining about the Nigerian Construction sphere replete with quackery, we should proffer the competency that will encourage developers and clients generally to patronise trained Builders. In view of this, self-development and professional competency drive will be salient in the programme of this new NIOB administration.”, he said.


Awobodu also harped on the need for government to strengthen implementation of law to curb cases of building collapse in the country.

The newly elected members of the National Executive Council of the association for (2019 – 2021) include, Kunle Awobodu (President), Prof. Yohana Izam, (first Vice President), (Sir) Alderton Ewa, (second Vice President), Bimbo Kolade, (third Vice President) and Kenneth Nduka, (Immediate Past President)

Other are, Christopher Belonwu, (General secretary), Segun Dosumu, (assistant general secretary), Sadiku Sarki, (Treasurer), Yemi Adeoye, (financial secretary), Mrs. Fatimoh Osho, (registrar) and Akinola Bammeke, as the (publicity secretary).

Speaking during the conference, the wife of the former governor of Rivers state, Dame Judith Amaechi, a town planner disclosed that her foundation, the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) has provided intervention in critical areas of the construction industry in partnership with development partners such as, the Niger Delta Development Commission, UNICEF, among others to train and retrain artisans in the construction sector.

Specifically, she said about 125 artisans have been trained in tiling, electrical wiring, screeding, POP, painting, Iron mongering, plumbing, home finishing skills and others while participants are awarded from internationally acclaimed institute from the United Kingdom.

She urged those in the building profession to lead the drive toward actualizing sustainable development by the year 2030. She also advised the NIOB to sustain its mutual relationship with ESI.

Source: guardianng

FMBN Pledge Partnership with Platinum Mortgage Bank on Housing Delivery, Other Issues

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has promised to partner more with leading primary mortgage institution, Platinum Mortgage Bank Plc.

This was made known by the MD/CEO of FMBN, Ahmed Dangiwa on Monday when Platinum Mortgage Bank paid the bank a courtesy call at their headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking at the meeting, Dangiwa said that Platinum Mortgage Bank is one of their biggest partners and is one of the most performing primary mortgage banks in Nigeria.

Dangiwa who commended Platinum Mortgage Bank on their recent recapitalisation said that FMBN is willing to partner with them in the delivery of affordable home ownership in Nigeria.

Among one of the reasons for the courtesy call according to the MD/CEO of Platinum Mortgage Bank, Emmanuel Mbaka was to also seek the intervention of FMBN in resolving the ongoing dispute between Platinum Mortgage Bank and the government of Nasarawa state over a loan package, which the MD/CEO of FMBN, Dangiwa promised to help out in resolving the matter. ‘’Our role is to crave their indulgence to pay you your own due for services rendered. We have an extent to which we can intervene, but we will write them and copy you to pay you for your services,’’ he said.

In the area of doing business together, Dangiwa further mentioned that Platinum Mortgage Bank is truly working hard to meet certain requirements set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in terms of raising its shareholders fund.

‘’We also hope that the CBN can also relax these rules so that primary mortgage banks like yours that are creating mortgages can have access to more opportunities, because there are some that are not even creating mortgages at all like you are doing,’’ he said.

In his response, the MD/CEO of Platinum Mortgage Bank, Emmanuel Mbaka said himself and the board of the bank were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.

‘’We came here to interact with our biggest trading partner, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. The chairman and all board members of Platinum Mortgage Bank came on fact finding and courtesy visit to the management and board of FMBN. They are our biggest partner in the area of loan creation which is the main focus of the bank.

‘’We are very happy that the MD himself has taken up the challenge to champion our course. We have agreed that we are going to have a meeting in a fortnight to agree on all the points that were raised today,’’ he said.

On the challenges of delivering on its core mandates of providing affordable mortgage to Nigerians, Mbaka said; ‘’funding has been identified as the major obstacle we have in the industry. As I speak, the board and management of FMBN working with the government are trying to recapitalise federal mortgage bank to the volume where the issue of funding will be a far cry and a thing of the past, in which case we will have more than sufficient funding for creating mortgages for Nigerians workers,’’ he said.

Platinum Mortgage Bank is one of the leading mortgage banks in Nigeria and has as at today recapitalised to the sum of N7 billion, and its share capital is expected to move up to N10 billion by 2020.

 

Archibuilt Offers Building, Maintenance Clinic To Address Building Collapse, Others – Adeniyi

Arc. Adeniyi Mobolaji is the C.E.O, M.A. & Associates, 3rd Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Architects, and Director, Archibuilt Development Services Limited (ADSL). In this interview speaks on various issues affecting building and construction industry. Excerpt.

Several exhibitions, several programmes, why archibuilt?

Archibuilt has been on for 30 years now. When the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) through a special purpose vehicle Archibuilt Development Services Limited (ADSL) created it, I wasn’t in the picture then; I was not a member of the executive of Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) at the time they put together this annual building exhibition expo. And because of its impacts, it has continued to hold every year.

The 2019 exposition has created platforms where you as a professional, student, or visitor can gain from its building/maintenance clinic, product presentation, symposium where major topic will revolve on building collapse, housing finance; website directory, students’ competition, trainings on Building Information Modeling (BIM) Health and Safety (HSE) and Specification writing; website online store among others.

You spoke glowingly about this forum, what have been the challenges Archibuilt has had in the past few years?

Indeed, there have been a lot of challenges, especially in the last few years, when I became the Director. One of those challenges is the economy. This has been a big factor that has affected the manufacturers, the professionals and the public. In a bad economy, the industry that suffers most is the building industry. So, we had a lot of building materials’ manufacturers, who were not able to take their products for the exhibition. There was a lull in business and even clients have been affected one way or the other.

Aside from these, the political climate and stability are also factors. For instance, there were election years and the stability in the country also affected Archibuilt. And after a while, we saw that because we have such a good idea, competitors started emerging. Now, all kinds of people come into the market to do different kinds of building exposition. But as the forerunner, we are not daunted at all, as some of these challenges have spurred us to come up with innovations and new ideas and this has given us the edge year in, year out.

Your theme this year is driving Nigerian architecture through technology. What do you intend to achieve with this?

We have been driving this theme in the past two to three years. And this is so because we saw that building/construction industry is still very much the same as it has been in the past 15 to 20 years. (Pointing to her construction site) if you look at our site, to cast a floor, you can see a whole gang of 30 to 50 people comprising of masons, bricklayers, carpenters, iron bender or welders; this isn’t done in the developed country any more. There is now a technology for casting where you don’t need to have so many people doing the same thing, same time.

So, we have been encouraging the manufacturers within the building industry to take the opportunity of the exhibition to showcase their innovations that would further lift the building/construction industry. In fact, we have some architects, who have come with different materials to show at this exhibition. For this reason, we always look forward to this programme every year.

Some are advocating for revival of local building materials. Is this forum tilting along that line too?

With this expo, we have been encouraging the use of local building materials and this has paid off, as many of our people are no longer relying so much on foreign materials. For instance, we have manufacturers of clay and bricks that come and we are able to expose them to our colleagues and they are able to see innovative ways of using local building materials. We have now in Nigeria, locally made flooring materials. Do you know that Nigeria has the best granite stones? Some years back, we were importing stones from Italy, Spain, China, whereas our stones are better than all of those. So, we have been encouraging our manufacturers to develop our local building materials, which we can also begin to export to neighboring countries.

Don’t you think the use of technology would rather make more people to be jobless?

I’m looking for a time, by God’s grace that our people would not just be reduced to casual labourers on construction sites. Technology supposed to improve the way of life of any people and not the other way round. If people that are carrying concrete loads on their heads all day are employed in the factories manufacturing the materials, it is better for them and the economy. There are different ways of creating employment rather than through labour.

Since you have been the director, how have venue and economy affected Archibuilt Expo?

Sometimes, venue has been a challenge. You’ll be amazed. There was a particular year we wanted to use a particular venue, which we had booked and paid for, then, government came under the guise of a first lady, and wanted to use same venue for her event. We had to take all our things, got big canopies within the short notice to seek alternate venue. It was very disruptive. There was another year, we had planned our event, and government again came to use same venue. We had to reschedule.

Aside this, the lull in the economy has also been a key factor. And sometimes you know people just get tired doing the same thing year in, year out. But, when we saw this, we had to redesign the whole thing to sustain the momentum. For instance this year, one of our plans is to make the Expo very interactive. We normally invite different professionals within the building industry and that reveals that it is not just an architecture thing. We focus on all other professionals – the engineers, the quantity surveyors, builders and we are going to have all of them here. It is going to be an event that will touch the public. Every year many people come in, to pick one building material or the other.

This year, we don’t just want them to come and pick materials only. One of our innovations is the introduction of maintenance/building clinic. And the idea is to have professionals directly preferring solutions to difficulties you might be facing in your building. Depending on the kind of structure, a building’s lifespan is 100 years or more. But we discovered that, our people don’t have a maintenance culture. That is why sometimes, you find a building within its three to four years of its existence is already dilapidated and the owners don’t know what to do. So, we have a forum during which the professionals would advice you on how to go about it.

Though this event has been on for 30 years now, it appears illiteracy level when it comes to building industry is still very low. What’s your take on this?

You’ll not believe that three quarter of Nigerians, including highly placed individuals do not know the right process of building. This is one of the reasons we are having a lot of building collapsing and, or failing. And what do they do? They want to design a building and they do not know that they are supposed to approach an architect. Sometimes, an individual who wants to build approaches a bricklayer, whom he might have seen to have built one house or the other. Sometimes, the bricklayers worked on a building plan for a client 10 years ago and replicate same design for another client without considering the suitable, affordability and the applicability of that design. So, this forum is an opportunity to solve the ignorance and knowledge gap challenge. It is not every building material used by someone else you can use; you need to go to the professionals to get proper professional advice. And I’m glad that this year’s forum would effectively address this.

We are also having government functionaries like the Vive President, the Head of Service, captains of industries, policy makers, as we have quite number of our colleagues in the House of Assembly. We are going to have a symposium that would afford experts to talk on their area of expertise. All this is to ensure that this menace called building collapse is totally brought to a stop.

Arguably, some have said architects do not have serious role when building collapses. Do you agree with that standpoint?

I want to say that the bulk stops on our desk. Why? The architects, though people often refer to us as master builders, and indeed that is who we are. In fact, until recent years, the architect was the all-in-all. He was the architect, the engineers, the quantity surveyor, the builder etc. This was so because the architects conceptualized the structure and he must know about every part of the structure.

Take this site we are right now, I designed the building; invited an engineer to come and do the structural design of the building I have designed. I invited an electrical and a mechanical engineer; the quantity surveyor comes in to do the costing. I am the one to decide the materials that are being used on this site. Since I brought in all these professionals, I have the responsibility to coordinate all the activities of these professionals on my site. I have to ensure that the engineer does exactly what is right. After his or she is done with the design, it doesn’t just drop with the approving authority; he brings the design to me. I have to check his design and be sure that it confirms with my design.

Source: independentng

Food Importation: CBN backs President Buhari’s Directive on FOREX

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that foreign exchange should no longer be approved for the importation of food in Nigeria is in line with the bank’s policies.

President Buhari had last week directed the apex bank to stop the issuance of foreign exchange for the importation of food into Nigeria.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who spoke to State House correspondents on the side-lines of the Presidential Retreat for ministers designate, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries, said “the directive is in the logic of CBN’s management foreign exchange policies that we started since 2016.”

Emefiele said that the CBN started the policy with about 41 items (food and non-food items) because those items could be produced in the country.

“As we stand today, there are about 43 items on that list and I will say substantially most of them are food items.

“We are basically saying, if we have a food item that can be produced in the country, why should we waste scarce foreign exchange importing those items into the country, when those can be produced in the country.

“It is important for me to say that the attempt to misrepresent the comments of Mr. President is very unfair and unfortunate.

“But what we will say from the CBN is that the president has made this comment purely to strengthen the position of the CBN to say that he believes in what the CBN has been doing since 2016 and there is need for us to reinforce that going forward.

“I will say that to be honest we would aggressively go more into the list of items that are being imported into the country, items that can be produced in Nigeria. 

“I will like to stress that we would ensure that more of these items will get on the list of items that are going to be restricted from accessing foreign exchange in Nigerian banking industry, not just from the CBN source.

“I have heard some comments that maybe it’s about the CBN’s source, it is not the CBN’s source, we are saying you will not be able to access foreign exchange from the Nigerian banking industry because it is important for us to produce these items in Nigeria and we will follow through on them.”

No amendment

Insisting that the bank would go ahead with the policy, Emefiele said that there would be no amendment to it because doing so would imply exporting jobs to other countries.

“Today we are complaining that there is a high rate of unemployment, leading to some extent the level of insecurity in the country.

“Why should we allow people to import food that can be produced in the country?

“We need to improve wealth in our rural communities and I am saying we will not change course, we will even be more aggressive on this programme.”

Emefiele was optimistic that the policy on foreign exchange would not affect the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which Nigeria signed at the recent Extra-ordinary Summit of the Africa Union, AU, in Niamey, Niger Republic.

“In any case, the AfCFTA is an agreement that is ongoing; the terms of engagement are still being discussed and negotiated.

“The important thing is that Nigeria needs to stand as the largest economy in Africa and the largest populated country in Africa and we need to stand and dictate the terms under which we want to be in it and this is what we are saying. 

“But what I am saying is that it is wrong, it is inappropriate that an item that can be produced in Nigeria should be imported into Nigeria.

“When we get into the AfCFTA issues we will also look at the details of it, but at this time we are saying we need to create jobs for our country, for the youths and we need to create jobs.

“We yearn for growth and the only way we can really accelerate growth in Nigeria between now and next four years is to see to it that items that can be produced in Nigeria are indeed produced in Nigeria rather than being imported into the country.”

Not scared by judgment debt

Emefiele also spoke on the £9.6billion judgment debt awarded against Nigeria by a British court in a suit brought before it over alleged breach of a gas supply and processing agreement, GSPA, it allegedly signed with a British firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, P&ID, saying he was not scared.

He said that the CBN has been discussing the issue with lawyers and they have advised that there are sufficient and strong grounds on the basis of which Nigeria could file a stay of execution as well as an appeal against that judgment.

“There are certain anomalies in the process leading to the award of that contract which is currently being looked into by the EFCC and I believe that the EFCC themselves have their own investigation reports about that. 

“So, we will follow through and aggressively too on ensuring that the execution of that judgement is stayed and that the appeal succeeds at every level both within Nigeria and abroad. 

“It is important for me to use this opportunity to assure our friends, local and foreign investors who called to express solidarity with us, not to express concern, but to say that there is no need for anybody to worry.

“We know that the implication of that judgment has some impact on monetary policy and that is why the CBN is going to step forward—and very strongly too—to ensure that we defend the country and defend the reserves of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” 

Brilliant initiative

Emefiele described the presidential retreat for ministers designate, permanent secretary and top government functionaries as “a brilliant initiative because it will set the focus.

“Everybody will know what the assignments and responsibilities will be in specific terms between now and the next four years,  he said

He said he was invited to the retreat, as senior government official, to join and listen to the President’s policy thrust for the next four years.

He also said that, as a member of the monetary policy authority, his presence at the retreat was part of attempts to collaborate with the monetary and fiscal authorities in Nigeria.

Source: von

How Family Homes Funds is leading ‘Next Level’ Affordable Housing Delivery

Against all odds, Family Homes Funds has established itself as a reliable social housing scheme for low and medium income earners in Nigeria. At its conception, sceptics were unsure – and rightly so – about how a federal government plan to build at least 500, 000 homes and create up to 1.5 million jobs in the process within 5 years through Family Homes Funds can be achieved. This scepticism was based on how replete Nigeria’s history is with many failed attempts to address the country’s embarrassing housing deficit.

It has been barely a year since kick-off, but the Fund has so far developed at least 1050 homes with another 3000 at different stages of development. They have been able to create about 1400 jobs through these projects. Over 500 units have been completed in Nasarawa state, 750 in Kano, 650 in Delta and many more all over the country.

Giving Nigeria’s housing deficit, these numbers might indeed seem like a drop in the ocean, but if previous projects were this consistent and result oriented, the deficit which many believe stands at least 17 – 20 million today wouldn’t have been.

With nearly 200 million people, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, and it is the 7th in world population ranking. In spite of this huge population, the country has struggled over decades to come up with a sustainable action plan that will reduce the incredible housing gap in the country.

Governments in many countries take the responsibility for the provision of housing through a mortgage financing system that simplifies home ownership for employed citizens, and a social security system for the unemployed. And this is why China with a population of 1.3 billion people has a housing surplus yet Nigeria with a population of about 200 million has a housing deficit.

It is against this backdrop that the current administration under the leadership President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, introduced new policy measures and initiatives to address the housing challenges in the country.

The Family Homes Fund Limited is one of such new initiatives. The Fund is a partnership between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority as founding shareholders. The Fund is the largest affordable housing-focused fund in Sub-Sahara Africa, leveraging its significant capital (in excess of N500billion by 2023) to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians on low to medium income groups. Through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and some of the world’s main Development Finance Institutions, the Fund has an ambitious commitment to facilitate and supply 500,000 homes and 1.5million jobs for the low income earners by 2023.

Through its Rental Housing and Help-to-Buy Schemes, beneficiaries of the project enjoy a deferred loan for up to 40% of the cost of their home. For the first 5 years of the loan, no payments need to be made. From the 6th year, monthly payments will be made to start repaying both interest and capital to assist the purchaser. The amount paid starts low and increases each year in gradual steps (average 6.5% per annum) in order for the Help-To-Buy loan to be fully repaid by the 20th year, the same year the mortgage is expected to be fully repaid.

To qualify, households will have earnings between N600k to N1.2m per annum and the Fund ensures that 1 bedroom unit should not be more than N3 million; 2 bedroom unit should not be more than N4.5 million, and 3 bedroom should not be more than N6.5 million. An exception is made in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano where the cost of a new home can be as high as N9m. Households benefiting from Loan Assistance will not be owners of a suitable home and will include one income earner who is under 35 years of age and does not have to be one of the people applying for the scheme or the loan but must be available to help with repayments.

The Fund is in strategic partnership with housing stakeholders like the NMRC, with which it is currently working on affordable mortgages specifically through the Help-to-Own product where low income earners can enjoy the most affordable and flexible mortgage system in the country.

Family Homes Funds is most likely the only agency today in the country that is providing financing for affordable housing outside of the commercial banks where the interest rates, requirements, affordability and development costs are usually high. The fact that they are able to provide financing at no more than 10 percent per annum which is about one third of the market rate is a significant and novel intervention.

Most states that are in partnership with the Fund are now keying into the program to provide housing for their staff through the fund. In Borno state, the Fund is providing about 4700 homes, with 3000 of those being very low cost homes for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Construction Skills Training and Empowerment Project Ltd/Gte C-STEMP, an organization with a vision to build a pool and database of certified artisans with the requisite skills to meet industry needs that translate to better quality of work and life for all stakeholders – Family Homes Funds has shown commitment to incorporate training, assessment and certification as a condition for beneficiaries to access its programs and to ensure that only skilled labour are utilized on its projects. Its laudable partnership with C-STEMP is to provide affordable and quality homes while creating jobs for highly qualified persons.

What makes Family Homes Funds stand out? The motivation behind the establishment of Family Homes Funds is based on the fact that it is not just enough to supply houses without taking care of the demand side. The Fund dedicates sufficient strategy to ensuring that the supply of houses meets the demand for it.

As calls for sustainable building rings loud in the air, Family Homes Funds already leads the way through its collaboration with other agencies in the development and application of building innovations that can be cost effective. Family Homes Funds is working with bodies like MBRI to commercialise innovative building systems that rely very little on concrete and cement, which is a significant step in not only advancing local content, but ensuring sustainability.

As a testament to their hard-work, Family Homes Funds won the Affordable Housing Promoter of the Year Award at the 2019 Nigeria Housing Awards. The prestigious award is in recognition of ongoing affordable housing projects being financed by the fund for low and middle income earners across the country.

While the excellent progress of Family Homes Funds excites stakeholders, there is the need for government to ensure that the kind of bureaucracy and political interference that have prevented previous and ongoing housing initiatives in the country from achieving their set aims do not affect Family Homes Funds. Its independence and all-round support from the government ought to be uninterrupted if set goals are to be reached in the allotted time frame of delivering the 500, 000 homes.

Lafarge Announces $2m Award for Sustainable Construction

A leading Sub-Saharan Africa building materials company, Lafarge Holcim, has begun the sixth cycle of its international competition which will run until February 25, 2020. The awards offer a total of $2m in prize money and foreground projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials and construction technology and related fields.

Submissions in the Lafarge Holcim awards main category include sustainable construction projects at an advanced stage of design, with a high probability of realisation and construction/fabrication must not have started before January 1, 2019.

The awards Next Generation category seeks visionary design concepts and bold ideas at a preliminary stage of design, including design studio and research work. The company said in a statement that to participate in this category, “Authors may not be older than 30 years.

Students and young professionals are welcome to enter the awards main category with projects that have reached advanced stage of design.” Independent expert juries in five geographic regions of the world evaluate submissions using the comprehensive “target issues” for sustainable construction of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

The criteria cover innovation and transferability; ethical standards and social inclusion; resource and environmental performance; economic viability and compatibility; and contextual and aesthetic impact. Submitting entries in the competition is free and must be made in English using a web-based form to provide information on authorship, a project summary, technical details, as well as project images and or illustrations.

Source: dailytrust

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