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Harnessing Mortgage Industry Potential to Grow Economy

The mortgage industry in Nigeria has got a lot of potentials that close industry watchers say, if harnessed, could lead to the growth of the industry and the wider economy.

A lot still needs to be done for the mortgage industry in Nigeria to get out of the woods. Apparently, the industry is in perpetual growth challenge that has kept its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) at a very low level.

Many factors have been fingered for this slow growth, including the Land Use Act of 1978 which rests land ownership rights on the state governors, the right to easily foreclose on delinquent borrowers, ease of creating a legal mortgage and perfecting titles and the ease of falling back on one’s collateral to recover bad loan, etc.

The relative newness of the industry, lack of understanding of its dynamics and operational models by many Nigerians, and poor appreciation of the need and the ultimate benefits of keeping money in a mortgage bank are other militating factors.

Another major impediment to the growth of the sector is low investment in the industry. This accounts significantly for the low contribution of the industry to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). In advanced economies of the world, the mortgage industry makes significant contribution to economic development, but in Nigeria, this is not the case.

Mortgage finance as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is as low as 0.5 percent which is several steps behind other economies including Mexico, Malaysia and South Africa where mortgage contributions to GDP are as high as 10 percent, 25 percent and 29 percent respectively.

However, notwithstanding the industry’s low contribution to GDP coupled with the challenging business environment, the industry has all the potential to stimulate the economy when all the identified obstacles inhibiting its growth are removed.

An economy like Nigeria’s can benefit a lot from a flourishing mortgage industry as it will help in directing the economy in the desired direction. As part of efforts at growing the economy, government can make the necessary investment aimed to grow the industry. Enabling policies should also be put in place, leading to reduced high interest rate that can encourage more people to embrace mortgage loans.

Operators are of the view that on account of the identified obstacles, some primary mortgage banks (PMBs) are going through very difficult times, such they are not able to meet loan applications from home seekers.

The operators insist that until all those issues are resolved in a way that encourages the provider of capital, in this case, the mortgage bank, to give out loans, the sector will not grow as desired.

But they hope that when these obstacles are removed, the supplier of mortgage will allocate more funds towards the provision of home loans while home buyers will better appreciate the implication of prompt interest and capital repayments as well as ensure discipline on the part of the people.

Some finance experts argue that limiting a mortgage institution to a fixed capital base of, say N10 billion, is wrong because that amount is too meager; even N100 billion is also meager given the kind of projects they finance.

For this reason, the Federal Government needs to come in, look at what is happening in other civilised world and copy because, these days, “copying is no longer an act of deception but actually something that is done even in the civilised world,” says Okika Ekwem, a US-based realtor.

Ekwem says that in the advanced economies like US and UK, there is a secondary market for real estate financing where commercial banks or individual brokerage banks lend money to people and thereafter sell the securitised certificate to the secondary market and come back again to lend to individuals.

Mortgage industry growth that can impact the economy, according to Meckson Innocent Okoro, is possible if the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) plays the role of a regulator while the federal government, through the CBN, should empower the PMBs.

To have a viable mortgage industry that can have significant impact on the economy, more PMBs have to be licensed such that there could be as many as 40 in each of the big cities, while each of the smaller cities could get as many as 10.

This is to discourage the concentration of these banks in urban centres and when this is done, access to housing finance will be increased. The PMBs must be positioned to champion the whole issue of affordable or social housing for the low income earners in the country.

Mortgage finance as it is today, is not particularly established as a structure and as it exists in developed economies. The culture of mortgage finance is just gradually catching on with Nigerians and mortgage is financed the same way as every other commercial financing.

It is curious that after the recapitalisation and consolidation of the PMBs, Nigerians are yet to feel the impact in the economy. As at today, the interest rate as it is cannot mobilise the industry and the situation is such that even at 10 percent, the level of income in the country cannot still support mortgage growth.

There was a time in this country when the economy and the financial system were highly regulated, there was different interest rates structure for different sectors of the economy and within that period, lending to the housing sector was as low as seven to eight percent which underscored the importance attached to the sector and the government needs to look into this.

Source: businessdayng

Growing Urbanisation Will Do Africa Good Yet

It is a human thing that many of us may delight in a ‘good’ jibe hurled at those perceived not too kind to us. Thus, when the then BBC Business Editor Larry Madowo recently took a dig at the western media for their often poor portrayal of Africa, there were many cheers on social media by Africans.

He wrote: “If you only know Madagascar because of that animated penguins film, you’ve not been using the internet properly. But that is understandable, because the African island nation has faster internet speeds than you in the UK, France, or Canada.

“It has birthed a thriving call centre industry in a country that is also home to 95 per cent of the world’s real vanilla and, even more delightfully, delicious caviar. But all you probably hear of the nation is how impoverished it is — and that’s the problem with much of the western media’s portrayal of Africa.”

I bring this up because of what it implies; that it is not just the media that doesn’t always get it right, but that they are a reflection of the global north to sometimes get a thing or two wrong about Africa.

The noted economic advancement in Madagascar is apt, as it is an example of how Africa has moved from merely being rural.

It is apparent that Europe and the western world, in general, continue to perceive Africa as a rural continent, with this perception forming the basis of their development cooperation with countries Africa. Their development paradigm remains mostly rural than urban-oriented.

This observation is not new. Studies have for several years showed how this perception of Africa appears to overlook or fails to see, the rising trend in urbanisation calling for a rethink on the rural development paradigm.

But Africa is set to become more urban than rural. To see why first take this comparison of Africa and Europe’s rate of urbanisation: It took Europe 110 years to move from 15 per cent urban dwellers in 1800 to 40 per cent in 1910. Well into the twentieth-century, urbanisation was mainly a phenomenon of the industrialised global North.

But in 2013, a little more than a hundred years later, six of the ten countries with the highest urbanisation rates in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa, 14 per cent of the population lived in cities in 1950, and in 2010, 60 years later the percentage was estimated to be over 40 per cent.

By 2050, it is projected that way more than half of all Africans will be living in cities. According to the World Bank, urbanization is the single most important transformation the African continent will undergo this century.

The thing, however, is that rural Africa will still have its place. And, that most of Africa’s urbanization is yet to happen, there is still time to get the things right.

Typically, African cities share three features that constrain urban development and create daily challenges for residents: They are crowded, disconnected and costly.

They are crowded and not economically dense, meaning that investments in infrastructure, industrial and commercial structures have not kept pace with the concentration of people, nor have investments in affordable formal housing.

They are disconnected because they have developed as collections of small and fragmented neighbourhoods, lacking reliable transportation and limiting workers’ job opportunities while preventing firms from reaping scale and agglomeration benefits.

Costly for households, particularly slum dwellers estimated at around 60 per cent of Africa pay a high price for low-quality services including housing, water, food and other amenities.

As a knock-on effect, workers’ high food, housing, and transport costs increase labour costs to firms and thus reduce expected returns on investment.

The growth of cities, however, if handled right, is development’s good omen for the continent. Cities have been civilisation’s crucible for economic activity, leading to wealth and job creation.

City planners in the region must be aware of this and are in different stages of planning for growing urbanisation. One example is the updated Kigali City Master Plan expected to be launched this month.

It takes into consideration the changing population demographics, the need to provide services to the citizens, aspiration for economic development.

These include ensuring affordable housing, an efficient transportation system and compatible land uses that promote public health, safety, and welfare that will benefit all.

Source: newtimes

AXHIS technical Team Arrives in Liberia for Construction of 50,000 Homes

MONROVIA – The National Housing Authority (NHA), according to the Act that established it, among others, is charged to build affordable and affluent communities for Liberians.

The NHA has received a technical team from AXHIS, a construction firm from neighboring Burkina-Faso, for the provision of 50, 000 affordable and affluent communities in Liberia nation-wide.

According to a press release from the NHA, AXHIS will construct 5, 000 affordable and affluent communities in phase one, as modalities are currently being work out with the NHA technical team for project commencement date with at absolutely NO cost to the Government of Liberia through the National Housing Authority.

Making the disclosure at the NHA on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown, Managing Director said, as a result of the mandate from the President to attract investment opportunities to Liberia, the NHA has entered into negotiations with a Burkina Faso firm (AXHIS) and has agreed for the provision of affordable and affluent communities in Liberia.

 

Cecelia Cuffy Brown , also informed the Technical team delegation at NHA  that President George Manneh Weah feels passionate about the their visit as it will address the housing situation in the country and therefore mandated the NHA to work along with investment partners to make sure that there is some relief in the shortest possible time for the  people of Liberia the release quoted.

Cuffy Brown further narrated that development in the housing sector will also create job opportunity for many youths and will provide related services which will support the efficient delivery of commercial real estate and affordable housing.

Brown believes that with the speed of which offers are being sent from international partners and housing estates companies, it will not be too soon when the government’s objective is realized with affordable and affluent communities for the Liberian poor.

In conclusion Cuffy Brown said the Government through the National Housing Authority and AXHIS came out with a tripartite agreement with the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment, for cash deposit / down payment as the rest is expected to be paid through a mortgage agreement with the LBDI for 10 years the release concluded.

For his part AXHIS’ President Hon.  said the NHA and President Weah’s initiatives have been welcomed by his company and narrated further that they are not surprised at President Weah’s passionate support to change the lives of ordinary Liberians given his humble lifestyle.

Traore Moulaye Amadou said “President Weah is a leader who cares about others and that is why we have come to Liberia to help him get his dream.

Accordingly; my company is prepared to provide more than 50, 000 affordable housing units nation-wide in line with President George Manneh Weah government pro- poor agenda.

Amadou further demonstrates the ties between the two sisterly countries as members of the Economic Community of West African States and if goes well his company will place more focus on the F3 category of housing units that will be affordable by Liberians.

He further said if this objective is met it will help the Government in addressing the acute shortage of housing needs in Liberia Amadou concluded.

Source: frontpageafricaonline

Meet Dubai Teen Who Turns Waste Into Affordable Housing

Dubai: Normally when villagers in rural Zambia need land to set up home they approach the chief on their knees with offerings of goats or chickens.

Eighteen-year-old Dubai-based Indian expat Kabir Malhotra did the same sans livestock and armed only with an idea, but came away with a hectare.

What did he propose? For the villagers to do away with mud huts and use reclaimed industrial (silicomanganese) waste (known as slag) from a local factory to produce more rigid and affordable housing. Give him some land to trial this method and he would show them how. The chief obliged.

“Mud bricks last two months to two years depending on the soil composition, and 40 per cent of the bricks don’t make it through the last stage of formation, so a lot of effort goes unutilised,” said the Dubai International Academy student, who was interning at an African alloy factory at the time of last year’s tribal encounter.

“My bricks are three times stronger, last 40 years and don’t absorb as much moisture,” he added.

On top of this the material to make Kabir’s bricks is virtually free.

“Factories often pay you to take slag away because they don’t want the environmental headache of what to do with it next,” he said, “which means the only expenditure for the production of our bricks is cement and dry ash,” which he’s managed to fund through sponsors.

It also does away with the environmental damage of digging for mud bricks, and in fact prevents more environmental damage by finding another use for waste industrial produce that is completely safe to recycle for use in construction.

For every tonne of steel produced approximately 600kg of slag is dumped, but it could be used to build homes, said Kabir, who has written a paper on the subject to be included in an international construction journal this week.

The chief was so sold on the idea that he granted Kabir some land, where he has now built six 10×12 foot houses over the last two months with plans for 14 more before the end of the year.

The idea to find a sustainable solution to the lack of affordable housing first came to Kabir when he saw the slums of his native Delhi, where he has since approached a similar factory in Vishakhapatnam to start another project based on his success in Zambia.

190809  Kabir Malhotra 3
Kabir with his team of labourers and slag bricks. The only expense to produce the bricks is cement and dry ash.Image Credit: Kabir Malhotra

He’s even gone to sponsors in India to try and fund the electricity and water supply to his houses in Zambia.

“I knew action needed to be taken, but the situation was definitely more pressing in Zambia,” he added. “Two thirds of the population there spend 50 per cent of their income to access quality housing and that’s absurd.

“This is what forces people to live in mud brick houses, but the conditions are dangerously unhygienic due to constant leakages and copious amounts of bacteria.

“On the other hand, our alternative is sustainable, because the primary material in the production process is being recycled and reused, and it’s for a very good cause,” he added.

 

“Similar alloy factories will begin operating in Abu Dhabi’s Kizad Industrial area over the next six or seven months,” he said. “As soon as this happens, I’ll take a look at the composition of their waste and try to establish the same concept here.”

190809 Kabir Malhotra 2
The first house built using bricks made from slag. Kabir has built six 10×12 foot houses over the last two months.Image Credit: Kabir Malhotra

One market where more affordable housing materials would help in the UAE is in the construction of workers’ accommodation, he said.

“Most companies provide workers with housing, but building a proper society would be extremely helpful in certain cases.

“If the government noticed how sustainable our production process is, they would definitely support the movement and get involved more seriously. In my opinion, there is a huge scope for the application of this concept in the UAE, and in the near future we can start producing workers’ accommodations using just these bricks.”

Is Kabir the first to do this?

There are more than 20 types of slag in the steel industry and each one can be put to a different use, explains Kabir. Even the same slag has different properties. To his knowledge, this type of slag and its particular composition hasn’t previously been used at the ratio he has applied of 3:1:1 (three parts of slag, to one part dry ash and one part cement) in other parts of the world. But he is, he claims, the first to use it to build homes in southern Africa, as silicomanganese slag was just being disposed of by local factories. As he has not technically invented anything and just experimented with different ratios to find the most durable brick, he does not plan to apply for a patent.

Source: gulfnews

Yobe: Flood Wrecks Havoc, Destroys 300 Houses, Farms

No fewer than 300 houses and several farmlands have been destroyed by devastating floods in Ngalda, Yobe, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports.

The floods, which followed days of persistent rainfall, also destroyed schools and livestock.

NAN reports that Alhaji Idi Gubana, the state’s Deputy Governor, who visited the community on Friday, expressed shock at the level of destruction and promised government’s support to the victims.

“The level of destruction is devastating; it is quite unfortunate. Government will provide relief materials to the victims,” Gubana said.

He said that Gov Mai Mala Buni, who is currently in Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, had directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to provide food, clothes, mattresses and blankets to the victims.

“The agency will provide 140 bags of rice, 141 blankets, 141 pieces of women wrappers, fives bales of men clothes, mosquito nets, buckets, among others,” he said.

He assured the victims that government would work toward finding a permanent solution to the yearly flood in the area.

“The acting Secretary to the State Government will liaise with the Ministry of Environment and SEMA to work towards relocating people in the affected area to a more secured abode,” he said.

He commended the community for hosting most of the affected families in their houses.

“You have exhibited a good spirit of brotherliness that is worthy of commendation and emulation” he said.

Source: blueprint

World Bank: Total Commitment to Nigeria is now $11 billion

The World Bank’s net commitment to Nigeria currently stands at $11 billion. This was disclosed by the Country Director of World Bank Group, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, at the maiden ceremony of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award, organised by the bank and the Ministry of Finance.

The award ceremony was put together to recognise the outstanding performance from the implementation of World Bank-supported projects at states and federal levels.

According to Benmessaoud, the World Bank is committed to fighting poverty and 60% of its programmes will be implemented at the state level and another 40% by the Federal Government.

The projects cut across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance among others in the 36 states of Nigeria, including the FCT.

Benmessaoud stated that the World Bank was working on a new framework that could reform the challenges faced by the government.

“The country’s partnership strategy is always anchored on the economic reform plan of the government and in this case, we have used the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“This is the medium-term programme of the government on which we are anchoring our country partnership framework.”

He also said the award ceremony was introduced to recognise various entities that would drive the World Bank’s programmes in terms of finance.

We have different criteria with which we have evaluated these entities and we felt that bringing all of these entities together into an award ceremony would help us to recognise all of the good works they are doing and recognise those that have done something special that others can replicate.

“There is a lot of learning that we are emphasising in our engagements, states have to learn from each other.’’

 

Criteria for the awards: Benmessaoud said the criteria include the investments of various states, quality of briefings prepared and quality of mechanisms that exists at the state level.

He added that the awards would henceforth be an annual event and that Nigeria is the biggest beneficiary with more than 30 operational projects.

Reacting to the development, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, commended the idea which he stated would make the states to compete at the level of governance. He promised Rachid that his state would assist the bank to implement its projects.

“One of the things I found upon taking office about four years ago was that most governors do not know what is going on as far as World Bank-financed projects are concerned.

“Often you find large amounts of money sitting idle that can be used for the benefit of the states that the governors are not aware of.

“The more the states carry out their projects, the more impact they will have on social sectors because most of the projects financed by the World Bank are targeted at social sectors like education, health care, nutrition and so on.’’

El-Rufai pleaded for more interventions like this and prayed for a frequency of lush funds as one single intervention cannot alleviate poverty at once.

Source: nairametrics

FG appoints Sunday Thomas Acting Commissioner for Insurance/CEO NAICOM

The Federal Government on Friday appointed Sunday Thomas, the acting commissioner for Insurance/CEO of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) pending the appointment of a substantive Commissioner.

He takes over from Mohammed Kari, immediate past commissioner for Insurance whose four years tenure ended 30th July 2019, but was not renewed for second terms.

The appointment was announced in a letter entitled: Re: Handing Over Note: Appointment of Acting Commissioner for Insurance, referenced, F.1948/BFPIAC/S,2/24, dated August 9, 2019 and signed for Permanent Secretary, Finance by deputy director, Home Finance, A.O. Bello.

According to him, the appointment was to ensure the effective administration of the commission in line with the provisions of the National Insurance Commission Act 1997.

Thomas was appointed Deputy Commissioner for Insurance Technical by President Muhammadu Buhari On April 15, 2017, having had over three dedicates of experience in the industry, both as regulator and operator. Prior his appointment in April 2017 as Deputy Commissioner in charge of technical matters at the Commission, Thomas held the position of Director –General at the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) for seven years from May 2010.

He is a vastly experienced and knowledgeable Insurance Professional with over 35 years uninterrupted service to the Nigerian insurance industry.

During these years, Thomas worked as a Director for seventeen (17) years at the National Insurance Commission from 1992 to December 2009 where at different times, he superintended over different departments in the technical division. He had also worked as an insurance operator for over 10 years and rose to the position of Assistant General Manager at AIICO Insurance Plc until he left in 1992 to join NAICOM.

Thomas is an active participant in the insurance industry activities and had served as member of several Committees not only within the insurance industry but the entire Financial Services Sector. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Science and an MBA Finance both from the University of Lagos.

Source: businessdayng

Akintola Williams: Africa’s First Chartered Accountant at 100

Africa’s first chartered accountant and founder of the country’s oldest indigenous accounting firm, Akintola Williams, today, Friday, August 9, 2019, clocks 100 years with several remarkable and enviable achievements to his credit.

Among many surviving Nigerians who played vital roles in shaping the economy of Africa’s most populous nation, Williams even at 100 continues to serve as a source of inspiration to younger ones who look up to him as a role model.

Akintola Williams is particularly celebrated for his pioneer efforts in the history of Nigeria’s accountancy profession. Not only has he been passionate about his profession, but he’s also been committed to using his intelligence and brilliance to set a pace for others to follow. No wonder he is referred to as the doyen of accountancy profession in Nigeria.

Born on August 9, 1919, in Lagos to the affluent yet humble family of Thomas Ekundayo Williams who was a successful lawyer and businessman, Akintola Williams’ life is a success story as he overlooked the luxury around him and pursued his career with utmost diligence despite the challenges that accompanied it, this made him attain the peak of his career.

Williams has sustained the success in his family lineage. His grandfather, Zachariah Archibald Williams, was a merchant and farmer from the ancient city of Abeokuta, and his father was a clerk in the colonial service who established a legal practice in Lagos, after he returned from London in 1923 where he studied, to practice the profession until 1938 when he died at a young age of 48.

Nigeria’s first chartered accountant began his primary school education in 1928 at Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Apongbon, Lagos. Shortly after, he proceeded to Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos in 1938 for his secondary school education with records of academic success.

Akintola Williams was among the twelve students who sat the final Cambridge certificate examination in 1938 and came out in flying colours – he was exempted from the London Matriculation Examination, an unusual feat at that time.

With his enviable records in secondary school such as being the most brilliant student at the time, he won a scholarship funded by the United African Company (UAC) after he gained admission to study at the Yaba Higher College in 1939 where he was awarded a Diploma in Commerce in 1941.

He proceeded to the United Kingdom in 1944 on a Nigerian government scholarship to train as a chartered accountant. While Williams was preparing for his accountancy examinations, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce at the University of London in 1946.

Three years after, he successfully passed the final examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and became a member of the institute in 1950, making him the first Nigerian and one of the first black Africans to become a chartered accountant in the United Kingdom.

In the midst of all these, Akintola was keenly interested to use his wealth of knowledge to contribute to the development of the nation. He returned to Nigeria in 1950 to serve in the Inland Revenue as an assessment officer in the agency, a position he occupied until 1952. He resigned from the civil service and founded Akintola Williams & Co., now Deloitte & Touche, in 1952.

The establishment of Akintola Williams & Co. came at a time when the accountancy business was dominated by five large foreign firms. Although some local accounting firms were in existence, they were certified rather than chartered accountants. Severally indigenous companies including Nnamdi Azikwe’s West African Pilot, K.O Mbadkwe’s African Insurance Company, Fawehinmi Furniture and Ojukwu Transport engaged the services of his firm.

These services were not limited to private companies; he also provided services to state-owned enterprises including Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, the Western Nigerian Development Corporation, the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation, the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

With his astute management and hard work, the company advanced both in size and scope of service to become the largest professional services firm in the country with staff strength running into hundreds having merged with two accounting firms between 1999 and 2004. In 2004, the now expanded firm changed its name to Akintola Williams Deloitte.

Williams played a major role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with an objective to train accountants. He was a founding member and the first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). ICAN is Nigeria’s foremost professional accountancy body with its national secretariat located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and named Akintola Williams House.

Williams also participated in founding the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Lions Club International District 404, and a music centre and concert hall for the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON) after his retirement.

Currently, the distinguished accountant is the only surviving signatory to the original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the founding of the NSE on September 15, 1960. As a member of the National Council of the NSE, he contributed his quota to deepen the capital market such as establishing rules which reduced the barriers for companies to list on the domestic bourse.

His services to the accountancy profession and the Nigerian economy earned him several awards and honours which speak volumes of his personality and legacies. In 1982, he was honoured with a national award of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Federal Government of Nigeria, he was also appointed as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in April 1997 for the promotion of arts, culture and music through MUSON.

The Akintola Williams Arboretum at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation headquarters in Lagos was named to his honour. On May 8, 2011, the Nigeria-Britain Association presented him an award alongside the then President of Ghana, John Kufuor, for their contributions to democracy and development in Africa.

Williams held many public sector positions including Chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners (1958-68), member of the Coker Commission of Inquiry into the Statutory Corporations of the former Western Region of Nigeria (1962), Member of the Board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation (1966-1975), Chairman of Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel (1973).

Others include Chairman of the Public Service Review Panel to correct the anomalies in the Udoji Salary Review Commission (1975), President of Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of MUSON, founder and council member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, member of the committee set up by the Nigerian government to carry out a feasibility study on the viability of establishing a stock exchange in Nigeria.

Without a doubt, the exemplary leadership qualities and passion to promote good governance of the renowned chartered Williams, led President Muhammadu Buhari to describe him as the man who taught Nigerians how to seek and achieve transparency and accountability.

“President Buhari enjoins other professionals to emulate the dedication, steadfastness, industry, commitment and untiring sense of responsibility that Chief Akintola has continued to exhibit for many decades in order to take their professions to higher realms,” a statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, read.

Williams was married to Efuntiloye Mabel Williams until she died on Wednesday, July 8, 2009, and plays a leading role in developing national capacity in the fight against cancer in the country. He believes in the Christian faith and listens to classical music, plays the piano, and reads poetry.

Source: businessdayng

This Building Material Can Protect Homes During Natural Disasters, and the US is Missing Out

There’s a building material that could keep houses intact during hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and fires. While it’s been widely used around the world, the U.S. is a laggard in adopting the construction technique.

One company trying to change that is RSG 3-D, which is bringing a building material known as 3D cementitious sandwich panel for mass production in the U.S.

“Housing economists will tell you that 77 percent of homes built in the United States are at extreme risk for some type of natural disaster,” said RSG 3-D CEO Ken Calligar. “The East Coast is primarily hurricane, the Midwest is tornadoes, which we will also survive, the Rockies and the West are wildfire plus seismic events. We are resistant to all of that.”

Last year was the costliest year on record for climate disasters in the U.S., with over $300 billion in damages, according to NOAA.

Each panel made by RSG 3-D consists of fire retardant foam sandwiched between two wire mesh faces. The two faces are connected with reinforcement wires that run through the foam and the whole thing is enveloped in concrete.

VS: 3D panel RSG 3-D
Magdalena Petrova | CNBC

“The RSG 3-D panel is known for it resilience to natural disaster,” Calligar said. “The panels are fireproof, they are seismic resistant beyond any earthquake recorded in human history and they are also hurricane resistant. They’ve been tested throughout the world through 200 hurricanes, hundreds of seismic events and several wildfires.”

The technology is not new. NASA has been using a version of it to build spacecraft for years because of its strength. And former President Carter used the material through his charity work for rehabilitation efforts decades ago on damaged buildings in Florida and Georgia.

“One of the major push for that technology actually was the adoption of that system by our former President Carter,” said Ayman Mossallam, a civil and engineering professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Carter’s use of the sandwich panels drew attention to the technology, but it was not clear at the time how to manufacture it on a large scale. A company in Austria called EVG cracked the code and created machines to assemble the panels, bringing down the costs of manufacturing.

VS: EVG panel machines
RSG 3-D

RSG 3-D is one of a handful of companies using EVG’s technology to bring the material to the U.S. for mass production. Higher lumber costs, expensive skilled labor and more demanding building codes are making it an appealing alternative to conventional construction.

“The reason the product has not been used well in the United Stated to date is because we have wood,” said Geoffrey Evancic, the chief operating officer of Hutter Pioneer, a construction company that is working with the RSG 3-D panels. “The United States is blessed with multiple forests and wood was an inexpensive building material, up until the last five years. With the new energy code, especially up in the Northern States, and in California, they want net-zero houses. You cannot get to a net-zero house construction with wood.”

Zero energy homes are those that produce as much renewable energy as they consume.

VS: EVG 3-D panel house 
A house in Santa Barbara built using RSG 3-D’s panels.
RSG-3D

Still, experts caution that the in order for the panels to be effective domestically, there will need to be more of a focus on education and updating building codes.

“The initial cost if the engineer does not know how to use it, it’s going to be expensive,” said Mossallam. “It’s not the materials, it’s not the system, it’s the familiarity of the engineer of what this system can do.”

Calligar says that when used properly the cost of these panels is the same or slightly cheaper than conventional building methods.

“It’s available, it’s effective, it’s efficient and it gives you a much superior product at the end of the day,” said Evancic. “We are not going to have any other choices. This is where the industry is going.”

Source: cnbc

The Man Who Made Donald Trump

He is 87 years old, and in his fourth marriage – to Jerry Hall, a celebrity and former model, who is several decades younger than him and who used to be married to Mick Jagger of Rolling Stone. He is an active, colourful man, despite his advanced age. Rupert Murdoch sits at the helm of the largest and most powerful media conglomerate in the world.

After the death of his father, a reporter and editor in Australia in 1952, Rupert formed his own company, News Limited. He went on from there to expand his media empire, acquiring titles in Australia and New Zealand, then moving into the United Kingdom and United States. Later, his holding company, News Corporation acquired Twentieth Century Fox (a film production company), HarperCollins (a publishing company), and the Wall Street Journal. He formed British broadcaster BSkyB and expanded into Asia and South America. Very soon News Corporation owned over 800 companies in more than 50 countries.

The Sun, one of his major newspapers, was credited with helping John Major defeat Neil Kinnock of Labour in the British General Election. The same newspaper, years later, would play a crucial role in swaying the British public to vote for Brexit.

The characteristics of Murdoch’s media operations included free market ideology and opposition to the perceived liberal bias in other public media.

Whether it was originally intended like that or not, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and other media in the stable have become the most powerful promoters of right-wing nationalistic, often anti-democratic leaders that are beginning to emerge across the world.

Fox News was launched in 1996 to fill what Murdoch saw as an unmet need for 24-hour news from a right-wing perspective. His instinct was spot-on. Fox News quickly grew to become the dominant subscription news network in the US, outpacing the other major news networks – CNN and MSNBC. In 2015, 81.4 percent of television subscribers in the US were receiving Fox News.

From the outset, the channel set a trend of biased news coverage and reporting, and also popularised the format of talk shows which was previously developed on radio, where popular voluble figures came on air to dispense their views, which were not required to meet the criteria or objectivity or even fairness. The staunch support for the Republican Party was evident from the days of President George W Bush.

During the Obama era, the network was regularly hostile and disparaging of the President and his plans and achievements. Fox News and its talk show hosts provided regular justification for the Republican legislators’ efforts to shut down Obama initiatives including the Affordable Care Act – designed to make health insurance available to economically and socially disadvantaged Americans.

In the elections that led to the emergence of Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch did not have a particularly high opinion of candidate Trump and did not think much of his chances. He also did not agree with some of his ideas, such as his views on trade and Immigration, which were out of step with mainstream Republican ideology.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, did much to bring the two people together. At that time what Trump had in his corner was the ‘lunatic fringe’ right-wing press represented by brands such as Brietbart, who not only distorted news but also parlayed ‘conspiracy theories’ designed to stoke the paranoia of white supremacists. If Trump could get Rupert Murdoch, and through him Fox Media, on board, then he would have access to, and legitimacy from, not only the ‘Far Right’, but the mainstream ‘Right’, as well as the large number of ‘Undecideds’ that regularly tuned in the Fox.

The tactics of Jared Kushner worked. Murdoch, and Fox, moved solidly behind Trump. From that point, he became unstoppable, not only blowing his Republican rivals out of the water, but also acquiring that swing energy of the ‘Undecideds’ that would crucially coalesce to give him victory in the most shocking election outcome of the century.

The question has been asked – who used who?

Did Trump use Murdoch, and his Fox Network, to ride to power, despite the fact that he knew Murdoch did not consider him a ‘true Republican?’ Or has Murdoch used Trump to strengthen and consolidate his media empire, placing it in an unassailable position in the global media landscape? Murdoch, after all, was not averse to demanding and getting favours for his conglomerate from various Presidents he had helped in the past, including Reagan and Bush.

Will the ‘marriage’ between Fox News, which is now, in all but name, the ‘official news media’ of the government of the US, and Donald Trump endure, and help to win Trump re-election? Or will there be a fracture, as Murdoch tries to return to ‘true journalism’ – his original calling, after this spell of ‘business journalism’ in which he has turned biased news coverage and toxic commentary into high art for the consumption of a gullible American public?

The first signs of a cleavage may have emerged recently, when Fox News reported a national poll of potential voters in 2020 which clearly did not favour Trump. The President reacted by lambasting Fox, a most unusual occurrence. But that may just have been a storm in a teacup.

Meanwhile the rest of the press, principally CNN, is reacting with anger, frustration and hostility, making them a mirror image of Fox News. There is an increasing tendency to lace News with anti-Trump opinion. In that battle zone, there is no middle-ground.

It is a fine mess in the Fourth Estate of the realm, in the US, the land of the free.

Source: businessdayng

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