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Millennial Refinances Hit New High in October

Refi boom doesn’t look to end soon

The share of refinances closed by Millennials increased in October to an all new high, according to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker report.

The report showed 34% of all loans closed by Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 1995, were refinances. That’s up 1% from the previous month to the highest share since Ellie Mae began tracking in January 2016.

Breaking it down by loan type, refinances made up 41% of conventional loans closed by Millennials, up slightly from 40% in September, and the refinance share for FHA loans remained flat at 10%. For VA loans, the refinance share dropped to 42%, down a full six percentage points from the previous month.

Refinances on FHA loans remains low for several reasons. For example, many borrowers are more financially sound when they refinance, and are better served with a conventional product. Also, the FHA’s life-of-the-loan mortgage insurance is enough to spur refinances out of FHA loans even when interest rates begin to spike.

The refinance share peaked in October as the interest rate for 30-year loans once again fell, dropping from 3.91% in September to 3.9% in October. This marked the second straight month that the average interest rate was below 4%, a level it had not fallen to since December 2016.

“Declining interest rates have significantly increased Millennials’ awareness of refinancing as a fiscally responsible option and we’re seeing more and more homeowners in this demographic take advantage of refinancing their mortgages,” said Joe Tyrrell, Ellie Mae chief operating officer. “Heading into 2020, lenders should proactively reach out to prospective Millennial homebuyers whose likelihood of purchasing a home has now increased due to these historically low interest rates.”

But borrowers beware – while the lending market may be ready for an onslaught of new Millennial borrowers, the housing market may not be quite as ready.

The days to close a loan increased across the board, jumping to 44 days in October, up from 42 days in September. This trend was consistent for all loan types, as days to close for Conventional refinances at 44, FHA refinances at 51 and VA refinances at 48 all increased in October.

The report showed the average age of the primary borrower on all closed loans was 30.6 in October, tied for the highest mark of any month in 2019. Also highest for 2019 was the average FICO score on all closed loans, which reached 730 in October.

Source: housingwire

How High Population Under Develops Nigeria

Nigeria’s population statistics are scary and future projections are frightful. It was 140m at the last count in 2016, it has climbed to 200m in 2019 and expected to double to about 400m by 2050, no thanks to a high fertility rate of between 2.5% and 2.5%. A global site demographic site Worldometers.info, puts the national population at 203,021,855 as of November 25, equivalent to 2.61% of the total world population, ranking it the highest in Africa and 7th globally.

Nigeria’s population has been rising in leaps and bounds, and this was not matched with economic growth, exacerbating poverty in the progress. At independence in 1960, Nigeria’s population was 45m, 55m in 1970, 73m in 1980, 95m in 1990, 122m in 2000, 158m in 2010, and now above 200m. Nigeria’s population at the present growth rate is expected to shoot to 262m by 2030, 329m by 2040. In 2050, Nigeria population will rise to 401m displacing United States and China as the third most populous country in the world.

The average population density is widely believed to be over 200 people per kilometre out of which Lagos has the highest population density of about 2607 people according to 2006 census. It is also predicted by 2050, 77 percent of Nigeria’s population will be urban, up from the current 51% residing in mega cities such as Lagos, Benin, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Sokoto.

Just as corruption is a national signpost, Nigerians are also very fertile reproducing. Birth rates that was 1.9% in 1960 rose to 2.6% in 2019. Every second, the nation records four births, adding about 20,000 Nigerians to the landmass every day.

Are poor people more prolific in reproducing?  This seems to be the case, when one considers that countries with the highest fertility rates in the world are all in Africa- the poorest continent. Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world leads the pack, followed by war-torn Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Ironically, the lowest fertility rates are in developed countries such as South Korea, Spain, Japan, and United States where households have relatively higher disposable incomes. In   several countries of the North, death rates have outpaced birth rates, national population are shrinking, and towns in Spain are become desolate due to low population.

The fastest shrinking population according to United Nations are in Eastern Europe-Bulgaria, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Hungary. The population are expected to shrink by 15% or more by 2050.

Why is Nigeria’s population rising sporadically over the years? Reasons include cultural factors that support early marriages, preference for male child causing continuous procreation in search for a boy, extended family system that encourages large families, and traditional expectations for child bearing; religious beliefs that support polygamy and prohibits contraception even among married and encourages dependence on God rather than personal incomes to sustain families; low literacy rates negatively affecting uptake of sex education, population education, health education and reproductive health education; and economic factors fostering  dependence on children for old age security.

Nigeria is a big child factory and the girl child is the greatest victim. girlsnotbrides.org/ campaign in Nigeria reports ‘that 44% of girls in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday and 18% are married before the age of 15.  According to UNICEF, Nigeria has the third highest absolute number of child brides in the world – 3,538,000 – and the 11th highest prevalence rate of child marriage globally.  Child marriage is most common in the Northwest and Northeast, where 68% and 57% of women aged 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is particularly common among Nigeria’s poorest, rural households and the Hausa ethnic group. A 2017 World Bank study estimates that child marriage costs Nigeria USD7.6 billion in lost earnings and productivity every year’.

The crux of the problem is that national, state, and local governments have not been able to match provision of social services such as health, education, water, and housing and infrastructure development such as roads, railways, and energy with increasing population growth due to inadequacy of funds, poor governance, and graft. Nigeria’s rising population has been marked with low economic growth and decaying social services and infrastructures thereby under developing Nigeria.

A large population is not necessarily a development challenge if its productive with low mortality. Nigeria’s rising population is not productive and the resources available cannot cope with the numbers on ground even if shared more equitably. The median age of Nigeria’s population is between 18-19, implying most Nigerians are youths in school, out of school, or unemployed.

A school of thought, however, argues that Nigeria’s problem is not its population size as it is blessed with natural resources adequate to sustain a good standard of living if the society is egalitarian and welfarist and funds are used for the good of the greatest number. While this is true, the reality is that developed countries are working to control their population despite their enormous economic resources.

Nigeria’s first population policy was developed in 1988 during the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida with late Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti as Minister of Health. Its principal provisions were to ’ reduce  the  number  of  children  a  woman  is  likely  to  have  during her lifetime, now over six, to four per woman by 2000 and and ‘reduce the present rate  of population growth from about 3.3 per cent per year to 2.5 per cent by 1995 and 2.0 per cent by the  year  2000″

The revised edition National Population Policy for Sustainable Development (NPP) 2004 seeks to achieve a reduction of the National population growth rate to 2 percent or lower by the year 2015 amongst others. All these lofty declarations were not respected, and targets were missed.


A 2016 study by Professor R. Murdi and Dr S Darkyes of the University of Abuja reveals ‘that 69.6% of the population have large family size of six and above’, listing factors militating against fertility decline to include among others, poor dissemination of national population policies creating lack of awareness on the policy by most of the population, religious prohibition, occupation especially farming that requires large family size, level of education as well as income level of the population.

The way forward is for Nigeria’s three tier of governments to see its spiralling population as a national challenge and address it as such.  We cannot successfully tackle and overcome poverty if we continue to proliferate like rabbits. Governments of developed countries with low fertility rates give incentives to encourage early marriage before 30 years and childbearing, likewise, we should adopt the same approach in the reverse version. There should be benefits for raising small families and penalties for raising large families. Nigeria should understudy how countries such as Russia, Hungary, Estonia, and China are achieving negative growth rates, and imbibe lessons.

Government should no longer pay a lip service to population control programmes. A national emergency should be declared on Nigeria’s rising population and all hands should be on deck to seriously stem the tide.

Agencies saddled with implementing national population polices such as the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), National Council on Population Management (NCPM), and Population Technical Working Group (PTWG) should be strengthened technically and financially to enable them effectively discharge their statutory roles. Capacity of state and local governments agencies should be built with enough financial resources and manpower to implement health, education, religious, and gender provisions in population issues.

The traditional and mass media should be harnessed in creating conducive attitudes supporting implementation of population programmes. Nigerians should realise that there is nothing fanciful being labelled as Africa’s most populous country, whereas its huge population is a liability living in poverty rather than an asset. The ‘most populous nation’ tag should cease to be a national pride. It is no good being big for nothing.

Source: thenationonlineng

Port Harcourt Real Estate Scammer, Others to Appear in Court

Kelly Nworgu, the boss of De-Villa accused of duping over 400 prospective land subscribers in Port Harcourt.

The suspected fake Real Estate Developer, Kelly Nworgu, the boss of Estate Developer, Livelihood Homes, popularly called De-Villa Homes who have allegedly duped over 400 prospective Land buyers of millions of Naira in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital will soon be charged to Court by the Rivers Police Command.

The Police Command says it has concluded investigation on the alleged duping of residents of Port Harcourt over land transactions with fake real estate agents called de-Villa homes.

The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Nnamdi Omoni has confirmed to Journalists that the boss of De-villa, Kelly Nworgu, has shown that he diverted money paid to him for land sales to other uses and failed to deliver on the agreements.

He said over 400 victims of the fake land sales are demanding for the return of their investment from the fraudulent land speculator.

“He faces charges of Advanced Fee Fraud. As we speak it is clear that he won’t be able to meet his obligations to land subscribers and the number of his victims keep rising. So far, over 400 persons have presented their documents claiming that they paid money to him without given parcels land.”

The sureties to Kelly Nworgu had withdrawn their sureties on him after they were detained in the police cell for 3 weeks, while Kelly Nworgu failed to appear before the police in honour of his signed bail bonds after he was granted bail.

Nnamdi Omoni also clarified that a traditional ruler of the community in which the said land was allegedly purchased from had admitted to collecting N40 million from Kelly Nworgu, will also to be arraigned in court with one person identified as Onome, an aid to Kelly Nworgu who assisted him for money laundering.

On the type of charges he will be confronted with, the Police say he will be arraigned in court later this week for 419 on charges of Advanced Fee Fraud.

The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP, Nnamdi Omoni also called on the youths to emulate hardworking men and shun the urge for quick money.

The PPRO while receiving an award from the RSU faculty of law, urged the undergraduate to emulate men who have distinguished themselves from the society through hard work and not quick money and tow the path of honour.

Omoni explained that the award meant a lot to him as the law students honoured him with an award.

The suspected fake real estate developer was arrested in October 2019 when traumatized prospective clients wrote a petition to the Rivers State Commissioner, CP Mustapha Dandaura, complaining that they were deceived to pay several millions of Naira through tempting promos and consistent advertisements on radio for non-existent parcels of land.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

Buhari Appoints 9 New Permanent Secretaries

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of nine new Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service.

They are Mr Musa Hassan from Borno state, Mr Ahmed Aliyu from Niger state and Mrs Olushola Idowu from Ogun state.
Others are Andrew David Adejoh representing North-Central Zone, Mr Umar Idris Tijjani representing North-East Zone and Dr Nasir Sani Gwarzo representing North-West Zone.

Others include Mr Nebolisa Victor Aniako representing South-East Zone, Fashedemi Temitope Peter representing South-West Zone and Mrs Evelyn Ngige representing South-South Zone.

Acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said the date for the swearing-in and assignment of portfolios to the new Portfolios would be announced in due course.

Source: Blueprintng

Housing Starts Highest in 10 years: Homes England

Building work began on 16,955 new homes in the six months to the end of September under programmes run by Homes England.

The latest figures for the government body tasked with delivering affordable homes exclude London and properties that are part of the Help to Buy scheme.

The level of new housing starts between April 1 and September 30 is the highest in 10 years and an increase of 7 per cent on the same period of 2018.

However, completions over the same period were 14,792, which was a decrease of 7 per cent on the same period last year.

Of all the new housing starts,12,310 or 73 per cent were for affordable homes, which marked an increase of 24 per cent on the same time last year.

Among these, 5,157 new housing starts were for affordable rent, which was down by  9 per cent on the 5,698 started in this period last year.

A further 3,886 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, which include shared ownership and rent to buy, an increase of 5 per cent on the same time last year.

Of all the homes completed in the six-month period, 10,295 or 70 per cent were for affordable homes, a decrease of 7 per cent on the same six months in 2018.

Modular housing developer Project Etopia’s founder Joseph Daniels says: “There is a long way to go to plug the hole in England’s housing deficit, but Homes England is chipping away at it at an ever-growing rate, reaching a 10-year high for starts on new homes.

“In particular it is making much-needed inroads in affordable housing levels, which represents more than 70 per cent of its work.

“The 24 per cent growth in affordable home starts, compared to the same time period last year, indicates that Homes England is succeeding in driving delivery forward in that area of the market.

“Its efforts bode well for the coming year with a bumper rise in completions expected to follow.”

Source: mortgagestrategy

McKinsey, Tufano Outline Reforms Nigeria Must Undertake to lift Growth

Time is running out for Africa’s most populous nation, which has only managed to lift 4 percent of its population from poverty over the past two decades, to reconsider its growth agenda.

Emerging Markets (EM) from China to Vietnam have far outperformed Nigeria in that period, having seen poverty levels slide 60 percent and over a billion people taken out of poverty, according to global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company.

While Nigeria has stuttered, 11 recent outperformers like Ethiopia, India and Belarus have achieved 5 percent growth rate in the last 20 years, according to a report presented by Fiyinfolu Oladiran, a partner at McKinsey & Company, at the BusinessDay CEO Forum, Tuesday.

The presentation by McKinsey revealed Nigeria has everything to be a leading economy across the world, thanks to its young growing labour force, high adoption of technology and abundant natural resources. However, economic growth has not been sufficient enough to drive development as a vibrant labour force remains underutilised and uncompetitive while basic infrastructure continue to fall short of rising population.

“Despite relative improvement in the World Bank ranking, Nigeria is still a poor place to do business in,” Oladiran said.

Finding a way to drive productivity and most especially to grow large companies may hold the key to improved economic fortunes. According to Oladiran, large companies build ecosystem with robust value chain which will spill over to small businesses.

In Nigeria, only 42 companies measure up as large companies with a minimum of $500 million in annual revenue. That compares to 309 in South Africa.

Oladiran advised that Nigeria increase its share of large companies to boost economic growth.

Peter Tufano, dean of Saïd Business School at University of Oxford, England, said the best investment for Nigeria is to invest in human capital because in the next 30 years there would be opportunities for Africa in the global leadership space.

“Unlike some countries with an elderly working population that needs retraining, Nigeria’s young population gives it needed advantage,” said Tufano, who was the guest speaker at the CEO Forum.

From its extensive work with some of the most successful emerging markets, McKinsey recommended eight big moves that could result in a turnaround for Africa’s most populous nation.

The eight big moves include building a more able bureaucracy, improving capital productivity drastically, developing centres of competitiveness, leapfrogging the technology ecosystem, unlocking the full potential of the oil and gas sector, accelerate agriculture transition and address current and future mobility issues.

To foster a more efficient public service, Oladiran suggested the need to digitise priority processes through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the short run while in the long run adopt e-government for all public services within the next five years.

On improving human capital, he said there is need for private sector-driven reskilling programmes with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) jobs on the short run while on the long run there is need for nationwide technical and vocational education and training programmes.

“There is need to increase availability of quality and affordable power at industrial hubs on the short run and special economic zones with time-bound objectives linked to national strategy on the long run,” Oladiran said.

To leapfrog the technology ecosystem, McKinsey & Company advised the government to scale up broadband through partnership with private sector on the short run while on the long run improve digital transformation of private companies.

In order to leverage on the power of parity, McKinsey & Company wants the government to spread the use of digital to raise financial inclusion and empower female entrepreneurs on the short run while on the long run raise women’s skill through education for the future world of work.

Regarding the full potential of the oil and gas sector, the government was advised to accelerate investments into the sector while at the same time diversifying government revenue from the sector on the short run. On the long run, the government was asked to expand infrastructure that can fast-track investment earnings from gas and petrochemicals.

McKinsey & Company also urged the government to prioritise high value crop value chains into national champion in the short run and on the long run drive full end-to-end private sector-led agricultural economy.

To address current and future mobility issues, it said the government must target investment through PPP and other methods on the short run while unlocking financing and delivery models on the long run to close an annual $100 billion infrastructure financing gap.

The government’s short- and long-term approach to economic growth will be decisive, with the World Bank predicting Nigeria to be home to a quarter of the world’s poorest by 2030.

Also at the BusinessDay CEO Forum, Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo said he was optimistic on Nigerian economy as he foresees it moving in a northward direction.

Osinbajo, who was represented by Louis Odion, senior technical assistant to the vice president on print, stated that the advent of technology holds huge opportunity for a country like Nigeria.

He assured that the current administration remains committed to working with the private sector for economic growth and development.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure you that the Buhari-led administration is committed to working with the private sector,” Osinbajo said.

The annual event had in attendance government officials, investment bankers, policymakers, chief executive officers (CEOs), economists, researchers, analysts, academics, and private equity firms.

Source: Businessdayng

Stakeholders Raise Concerns Over Influx of People into Lagos Without Identification

Stakeholders in the security architecture of Lagos have raised concerns over the influx of people into the state without proper identification, saying the development is already impacting on peaceful co-existence of residents, as well as brewing suspicion.

This is as the state governor; Babajide-Olu has said that the state government would be adopting technology in the fight against crimes and criminality so as to keep the state save for residents and businesses.

At the 13th security town hall meeting held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, on Tuesday, with heads of various security agencies and experts in attendance, the stakeholders also raised concerns about the continuing ‘invasion’ of Lagos by motorcycles and tricycles, just as they pointed to the activities of transportation unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), as adding to further raise the level of insecurity in the state.

“The steady influx of people into Lagos without any form of identification is brewing suspicion amongst its residents. This is putting a strain on the long established relations that has ensured peaceful co-existence amongst the diverse people of Lagos, said Abdurrazaq Balogun, the executive secretary of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), the organisers of the town hall meeting.

According to Balogun, intelligence so far gathered revealed the human influx and mutual suspicion is more pronounced in such areas as Ikeja, Agege, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Sangotedo, Abule-Egba, among others.

Similarly, a former commissioner for transportation, and the environment in Lagos, Muiz Banire, pointed to the issue of abandoned and uncompleted buildings, which serve as hideout for criminals. Banire called on the state government to consider taking over long abandoned property and vehicles, to discourage the practice.

Chairman, board of trustees of the LSSTF, Hassan-Odukale, noted that the issue of crime required joint effort, adding, however, that the LSSTF would not stop promoting the fight against crimes.

“After 12 years, our Trust Fund is still very relevant as we continue to provide critical support for the police and other security agencies. This is because our esteemed donors have continued to contribute to the Fund. This continuous support is not only a vote of confidence in LSSTF but recognition that our collective resolve to continue the fight against crime is an absolute necessity,” said Hassan-Odukale at the event whose theme was “transformational security.’

Hakeem Odumosu, the Commissioner of Police in the state, who reeled out figures of arrested armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, said his command was deploying plainclothes policemen on the roads to check cases of traffic robbery and apprehend perpetrators.

Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who spoke the new role for the LSSTF, revealed the government’s plan to build a one-stop technology hub where data will be collated for efficiency in the handling of security issues.

“The trust fund will be taking a higher responsibility and new initiatives will take place. We are going to build a smart city project. We will use technology to ensure that the state remains safe. We will build data rooms and install lots of security cameras across the state. Other security apparatus will be complementing the work of the police.”

He said Lagos was also working with the neighbouring Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo to strengthen borders and state-to-state security.

“In partnership with all the states in the South-western region, a regional security outfit code-named ‘Amotekun’, has been established to combat banditry and kidnapping. This group will work interstate and all modern gadgets and facilities will be provided. It will make it impossible for anyone to abscond to the neighbouring states after an offence in one state.

He further explained that his administration was revamping the Lagos Command and Control Centre, with focus on the youth of the state to ensure that they are placed in a position to voluntarily shun cultism.

“Very importantly, we are fully aware of the nexus between young people and security, and therefore very much focused on putting young people at the centre of our security strategy.  To this end, we are engaging the youth and educational institutions, right from primary school level, in order to empower them to shun criminality, and to help them build skills to be active and responsible citizens.” Sanwo-Olu, therefore, called for support for the various law enforcement agencies to help them discharge their duties more effectively.

Source: Businessdayng

Ghanaian Government Releases GH¢40 Million for Mortgage Financing

The government of Ghana has released about GH¢40 million to help the private sector in closing the gap on the housing deficit in the country.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen said this money has been made available to some selected banks in the country at a very low-interest rate as government’s support towards mortgage financing.

He was speaking at the opening of the Ghana affordable housing finance forum in Accra.

He said, “Government has released an amount of GH¢40 million to the commercial banks as part of funds to cushion the support of the financial sector in providing a low-interest mortgage.

The funds have been made available to some selected banks only after careful due diligence by the ministry.”

Currently, Ghana needs about 2 million housing units to be able to solve the housing challenge it is facing.

Meanwhile Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea said the state funds alone cannot solve the housing needs of Ghana.

He said the government needs more investors to add up to the funds provided by the government to support affordable housing.

“There are many opportunities for us to deal with these housing deficit and I can tell you, state funds alone cannot be adequate in solving the problem. Other private sector players must come on board to support the effort of government,” he noted.

Source: pulseng

Wooing Chinese Investors For Greater Lagos

>Last week, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu returned from China where he led some cabinet members on an investment drive. During the trip, Sanwo-Olu held talks with investors, financial institutions, multilateral bodies, institutions and government agencies in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing for collaboration towards the actualisation of the “Greater Lagos Agenda.” JOSHUA BASSEY examines what transpired.

With an estimated 22 million people, Lagos obviously stands out as the most populous city, not only in Nigeria but also on the African continent.

With the huge population comes the challenges of provision of infrastructure, traffic and waste management, transportation, employment, security, among other urban-related issues that continue to put immense pressure on governance.

Across the world, governments are seeking collaborations with investors to meet the growing needs of the people.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is no stranger to such developments. Since assumption of office six months ago, Sanwo-Olu has made relentless efforts to attract local and foreign investors in the quest to address the challenges associated with the burgeoning population of the megacity state. His election seemed to have boosted global confidence in the capacity of Lagos to realise its potentials as one of Africa’s leading economies.

Into the elections that heralded him into office, he preached T.H.E.M.E.S, an acronym for his government’s programme. T.H.E.M.E.S, which stands for Traffic Management & Transportation, Health & Environment, Education & Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment & Tourism as well as Security & Governance, is a dashboard created for driving and measuring the Greater Lagos Agenda of his administration.
Beyond being a development framework for the government, it is also an accountability guide for the public. With T.H.E.M.E.S Sanwo-Olu has signalled the capacity to keep global attention on Lagos State quite positive, hence the trip to China where he displayed the audacity for his agenda.
The quest to turn Lagos into a 21st-century economy is one of the critical elements of Sanwo-Olu’s agenda. He also knows that a functional city supports business growth. With this awareness, the governor is reaching out to more developed economies and societies for models and supports for building Lagos.

Building Strategic Alliances

While in China, Sanwo-Olu reached out to his counterpart, Ma Xingrui, the governor of China’s Guangzhou Province on a Twin City Agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou Province.
What Lagos is to Nigeria, Guangzhou is to China. Therefore, there is a strong fit in the collaboration between the two cities. With 44.2 million people in its metro area, Guangzhou is the biggest city in China and has remained an important port in southern China for centuries.
Sanwo-Olu’s choice of Guangzhou for a twin-city partnership with the province which is acknowledged as the commercial centre of China could be as a result of his admiration of its Beta+ Global Global City ranking, and perhaps because the intensity of Ma Xingrui’s headache doubles his, judging by the size of Lagos population, estimated at 22 million people.
The partnership agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou is a deliberate step for Sanwo-Olu. He stretched his hands across the Atlantic to understand why some cities routinely attract the best companies, the top talent, and the most investment dollars.
Although his experience may have revealed that presence of the right mix of factors such as business activities, human capital, information exchange, political engagement, and positive experiences that help organisations and people to thrive makes one city more attractive than the other.

The Lagos Smart-City Agenda

From the Guangzhou Traffic Management Centre, managing the entire vehicular traffic and emergency management services are just a click of buttons. The orderliness on the roads of Guangzhou, a city with a major terminus on the silk road, perfectly matches the picture of Sanwo-Olu’s ideal Lagos.
The tour, after a demonstration of responsiveness to distress calls by emergency agencies, triggered an action that will make Lagos smarter. With about seven million people in five million vehicles and 200 commercial buses on Lagos roads daily, the governor must have reasoned that things must be handled differently to bring orderliness to Africa’s most populous city.
At the discussion about transforming Lagos into a smart city and collaboration with leading technology giants, Huawei and Ehang, as well as some reputable urban development organisations, including Zhuhai Holding Investment Group, the socio-economic importance of Lagos to the world, and Africa in particular, was the central point.
“We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public,” said Sanwo-Olu while assuring the companies of the readiness of Lagos State to take its rightful place in the comity of megacities by transforming into a smart city.
Even though Sanwo-Olu signalled to the potential partners that Lagos State Government may not have the big cheques to sign for the total transformation, now, he nevertheless informed them that “it is a journey we know will take us into the future we really should be as Africa’s most populous city and 7th largest economy.”
He assured that the “vitality of our 22 million people and political stability are valid collateral that should provide comfort in the collaboration we are seeking.”
One of the companies, Huawei, which has an impressive footprint in smart-city development in South Africa, Dubai and across Asia said through the head of its Nigeria office, Eric Zhang while taking the governor and team on a tour of the company’s  campus in Shenzhen, with the company’s global vice president, Enterprise Business Group, Laurent Fan, vice president, Government & Public Utility, David Zhang and, global public safety expert, Peter Goulding, said that “Huawei is excited that Lagos State is planning digitisation of its assets, processes, operations and public service facilities”.
“I am familiar with Lagos State and I know that the state needs this transformation and is capable of embarking on it. As someone who is very familiar with Nigeria and Lagos State especially, our company, Huawei is ready to work with Lagos on the transformation journey. I know that transforming Lagos into smart city is an exercise that will happen in phases, but the most important requirement is the government’s commitment, which you have demonstrated”, he added.
Likewise, the Ehang,the China-based world’s leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company’s delegation led by Shiny Biu, the company’s director, Strategic Cooperation said “the company is ready to partner with the state and is open to discussing the appropriate models that will fittingly serve the goals of the two parties”.
With Ehang, the governor thinks that “like other megacities in the world, Lagos State is still faced with some challenges that will require a very innovative solution. For instance, emergency situations will require an urgent and speedy response, just as when there are security challenges because the safety of lives and property are very important to our government”.
This may mean that Sanwo-Olu is considering collaboration in urban air mobility, including passenger transportation and logistics, smart city management and aerial solutions because Ehang is the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility industry.

Trade, Investment & Industry

To keep Lagos ahead and sustain its status as a foremost economy in Africa, the state needs to leverage its influence to attract quality investments, global businesses and large scale enterprises. Even though its GDP of $136 billion and nominal per capita income of about $5,000 suggest the prosperity of the state, indicators are unequivocal about the fact that the state is yet to maximise its potentials.
Perhaps this realisation may be Governor Sanwo-Olu’s push and propelling force. Hence, his methodical knock on Chinese investors’ doors to make Lagos the home of their businesses.  In China, he met and invited two Fortune 500 companies to locate plants and operations in Lagos State.
“As you know, Lagos is the largest city in Africa with a population of over 22 million people and the state economy is 7th largest on the continent of Africa. The state is central for easy distribution of products and a fertile ground for recruiting highly skilled workforce that will help further the innovation for which Gree Electric Appliance is globally reputed”, he told the company’s leadership, adding that “we are the major driver of Nigeria’s fifteen places improvement on the World Ease of Doing Business Index, and we will continue to drive the process for continual ascension of Nigeria on the index”.
The company expressed gratitude for the invitation, and interpreted the opportunity to expand into Lagos as a channel to increasing its share of the air-conditioning market to the region of 35% and annual production capacity from of residential air-conditioners (RAC) and central air-conditioners (CAC) from more than 60 million and 5.5 million sets respectively.
Like the Zhuhai-based Electric Appliances Inc., Gree, the board of Guangzhou Automobile Company (GAC Motors Group), led by Zeng Qihong as chairman, expressed willingness to come into the African market through Lagos.
Board members at the meeting include Feng Xingya, president, GAC Automobile Groups, Zhang Yuesai, director-general, Yu Jun, director-general of International Business and Kamel Zheng, regional sales director, African Region, and Zeng Qihong, the Group’s chairman who said: “the Group is considering expanding strongly into international markets”.
“With the governor’s invitation, we are quite confident and encouraged that coming to Lagos will be exciting. We will look into the process of establishing an operation in Lagos after our international business department has visited to carry out a visibility study of the market. But we are optimistic about coming to Lagos because of the market size and the significance of the economy to Africa” said Qihong.
It is anticipated that GAC Motors operations in Lagos will contribute to the development of the state’s economy and encourage technology transfer between the Chinese and Lagosians.  GAC Group is ranked 189 on the list Fortune 500 companies, with total revenue for 2018 being $53 billion and profit standing at $10 billion.
It is believed that when companies like GAC Motors and Gree Electric Appliance come to Lagos, they will contribute to the growth of the state’s economy and encourage technology transfer to the local economy.

Infrastructure Development

In a move to address the infrastructure deficits that have held down Lagos from its envisioned greatness, the state has started making impressive efforts that will make roads smoother, connections easier with bridges in the right places, address housing deficit through disciplined urban development programmes and ease intra-city community with the introduction of a multi-modal transportation system.
When all these are fully delivered, Lagos will be a beautiful example of what African’s can make of their continent. The anxiety to address extant infrastructural gaps was noticeable in Governor Sanwo-Olu’s interactions with development partners and multilateral agencies in China.
In Beijing, at the headquarters of the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC)), the governor who attended a project review meeting with a leading political figure and chairman of CRCC), Chen Fenjian, listed projects Lagos State would require collaboration and investments from the Chinese corporations to build to completion.
“In Lagos State, we have a number of projects that we are putting on the table for you to consider even though their award will be via a competitive and rigorous bidding process that will guarantee that the projects are delivered to specifications and in a timely manner too”.
“These projects include the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge in Lagos, our railway projects – Blue Line, Redline, Yellow Line and Purple Line, the Lekki Free Trade Zone access road, water, power and urban development projects across the state,” said Sanwo-Olu.
Also, at a different engagement with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the company working on the Lekki Deep-sea Port, which upon completion may contribute 70% of Lagos State GDP, Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasised the importance of the 4th mainland bridge to the government and people of Lagos State.
“Construction of the 4th mainland bridge is extremely important to our government because of the positive effect it will have on our lifestyle and Lagos economy,” said Sanwo-Olu.

Waste Management

Amidst the drive for functional infrastructure, industrial development and social security, Lagos still has its eyes on maintaining an ecologically balanced environment.
Even though this indication has emerged severally in the governor’s interactions with urban development corporations pitching their impressive footprints in Macao, Hong Kong and Hengquin for replication in Lagos, the discussion with Dyna Green Group, a Beijing-based company dedicated to the industry of recycling economy and renewable energy, affirmed the state government’s commitment to environmental cleanliness and ecological balance.
Muyiwa Gbadegesin, managing director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) let out the impression that the agency must have found an operational model in the activities of Dyna Green in their discussion of investment and construction, operation and management, technology development and supply of the core equipment. The scope of the bilateral talks also covered the processes for the treatment of urban household waste and medical waste, as well as providing the overall solution for urban waste treatment.
“This model and partnership will pretty work well for Lagos State. We generate about 14,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, which aside from when taking off the streets contributes to wellbeing, could also bring forth energy and other useful by-products if recycled”, said Gbadegesin.
Over the past three months, the state waste management strategy appeared to have undergone revival with the introduction of several initiatives and new waste-evacuation plan. Similarly, the government is looking to commission a recycling plant, and continue with overhauling of the transfer loading plants to strengthen the capacity of the agency to keep the streets of Lagos clean.
However, with the combination of population, income and urbanisation, Lagos will need a more sustainable approach to its waste management. The meeting of these elements in a fast-growing city and economy like Lagos compels a holistic waste management regime.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

With the array of needs that the Lagos State governor confronted investors, development partners, lending agencies and financial institutions with, one may begin to think about the capacity of the state treasury to execute limitless number of projects.
On the contrary, the state has awakened a collaborative model between investors and the government to foster its development initiatives and ideas. Inquest to sustainably build a greater Lagos, the government has revived its PPP model.
“We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public” Sanwo-Olu informed the investors.
Most importantly, the contributions of the state to Nigeria’s notching 15 places higher on the Ease of Doing Business Index is a testament to the efforts of the current government to make the state an attractive destination to investments, a notion reinforced by an extract “In Lagos, commerce is our mainstay” published by the state in the Friday, November 22, 2019 edition of the Financial Times of London’s Invest in Nigeria Report.
As Africa’s most significant sub-national government, boosting of a GDP of $136 billion, which is bigger than the economies of 46 countries and population size of 22 million, which makes Lagos the most populous city on the African continent, the state surely needs to grow sustainably.
The PPP model, therefore, may be a catapult that will take Africa’s 7th largest economy beyond its present position and help effect a greater growth above 4% expected in 2019.  Like other megacities, Lagos State has identified its social challenges and pursued the opportunities in their resolution through credible and dependable partnerships.
Like Governor Sanwo-Olu, the state commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, is optimistic that Lagos is walking the path of faster growth and development.
“Yes, we have some social challenges, but therein are opportunities for growth, prosperity, development. T.H.E.M.E.S offers a glimpse of openings for investors to sow into our fertile economy because it is our path to becoming greater”, said Omotosho.

Projects Funding

There is an unmistakable sense that every letter of the acronym T.H.E.M.E.S is an investment opportunity in the thriving economy of Lagos judging by the government’s unfolding plans and engagement of the international investment community since May 29, 2019, when it assumed office.
However, the government, notwithstanding limited resources, is expected to have its skin in the game. For the large-scale investments in infrastructure development, industry establishment and power, investors’ dollar is expected to find succour in government’s cent, beyond the state guarantee.
Accordingly, Sanwo-Olu presented areas of intervention and projects to the China Development Bank, which granted $629 million loan for the Lekki Deep-sea Port construction, China Exim Bank that has provided over 60% of funding for Chinese companies executed projects in Nigeria, maybe in the region of $38 billion and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (SinoSure), the risk management leg of Chinese government’s investment outflow to creditors ahead of the Lagos projects.
As Nigeria’s most significant sub-national government and a major economy in Africa, the state of affairs in Lagos remains a major point of interest to stakeholders across the globe.
The centrality of Lagos to economies in the African sub-region and her place as one of the largest cities in the world are some of the reasons the state remains on the world’s lens.
Indeed, the world has been worried about the seeming lack of direction to take the state to a premium position on the socio-economic map of the world.
But Sanwo-Olu is selling his vision for a greater Lagos with vigour and commitment. His attitude in propagating his plans for the state, oftentimes, provides a peep into his heart of good intentions and purpose. Though a politician, he has come to public service with candour, and without a doubt, the journey to actualising the greater Lagos vision is on track.
Source: businessdayng

Debt Servicing: Nigeria Pays $1.12 Billion to World Bank, Others in 10-month

Nigeria’s public debt stock rose to N25.7 trillion in June 2019. Consequently, the payment for servicing the debt has continued to be a major source of concern.

Reports from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria confirmed that Nigeria spent a whopping $1.12 billion as external debt service payment between January and October 2019 (10-month).

Debt and its attendant cost

Nigeria’s total debt stock constitutes both external and domestic debts. According to the latest DMO report for June 2019, the country’s total external debt rose to N8.32 trillion ($27.1 billion), representing about 32.38% of the total debt stock while the domestic debt constitutes 67.68%.

  • The breakdown of the total external debt showed that the Federal Government accounted for the biggest external debt stock in the country.
  • As at June 2019, out of the N8.32 trillion external debt, the Federal Government accounted for 7.01 trillion while states and FCT accounted for only N1.30 trillion. This means the Federal Government accounts for 84% of Nigeria’s total external debt.
  • While Nigeria’s debt stock rose to a new height in the second quarter of 2019, the cost of servicing debt jumped by $1.12 billion (2019, YTD).
  • Experts have stated that while the country’s debt to GDP ratio may be sustainable in the meantime, the cost of servicing the debt eats deep into the country’s already depleting revenue.
  • Nigeria pays a lump sum to the several external organizations which grant loans to the country, and these include World Bank, African Development Bank, Exim Bank of China, Exim Bank of India and so on. Data from the Debt Management Office (DMO) shows that Nigeria paid over $60 million to the World Bank.


Meanwhile, IMF passes vote of confidence on Nigeria’s debt

In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that though Nigeria’s debt to gross domestic product ratio has increased to 28%, it remains lower than the average ratio recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.

Meanwhile, the United Nations specialized agency has disclosed that 40% of African countries are in a position where they can’t afford to pay back their debts.

According to the Managing Director of IMF, Kristanlina Georgieva, while the IMF is optimistic about some of its investments in Africa, it is also concerned about the debt stress levels on the continent.

 “Are we worried about debt levels in Africa? Yes, because 40% of the countries have gone into debt distress levels. In some cases, we are concerned about that but in other cases, we see that investment is going to pay off over time.

“Take the case of Kenya, we advise Kenya to be more cautious in building debt but we have seen good macroeconomic policy in Kenya.

“In cases where debt is dangerous like Zambia, we do say you need to get a handle on your debt. In Ethiopia, we say you need to renegotiate some of your debts because it is non-concessional for things that should be on a concessional basis.”

Nigeria’s debt stock is expected to rise further as the country still faces a huge fiscal revenue quagmire ahead of the implementation of the 2020 budget.

It is in this context that the Federal Government continues to intensify efforts to drive revenue. Some of the policies introduced by the government include increasing target for revenue-generating agencies, raising VAT by 50%, and reviews of various tax laws which are all included in the 2019 Finance Bill.

Source: nairametrics

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