Housing News

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Delta To Sanction Officials For Illegal Approvals

Delta State Government has declared that all illegal structures on waterways, should be pulled down, promising to come hard on any official that flouts the directive.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa warned officials of the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to ensure that they visit sites before approving buildings, and avoid issuing building approval certificates to property developers without visiting such sites to know whether they are on roads or waterways.

According to the governor, “an official of the Ministry who engages in such activities will face sanctions as this administration has set out to demolish structures on the waterways, especially in Warri, Uvwie and environs”

He spoke in Asaba when he received the Final Preliminary Report Of The Committee To Study And Advise Government On Measures Required To Tackle And Control Flooding Of Effurun/Warri And Its Environs In Delta State.

“Henceforth for any building plan for approval, those who are in charge of the approvals must go to site; people must be alive to their duties and not just sit in their offices and approve building plans because, for our people who are building on natural waterways, the structures will be pulled down.

The Governor further said, “If there is any marked building, the people must stop the construction and it must be enforced; It is our desire to reduce the level of flooding in Warri, Effurun and its environs.”

Earlier, John Onwualu, an engineer, had in his presentation, observed that “a large part of the flooding in Warri, Uvwie and environs is caused by blocked drainages, overgrown weeds on water channels, and developers building on the waterways, otherwise, there are natural waterways in the area.”

Source: guardianng

“The Housing Affordability Gap is Equivalent to 1% of Global GDP”

 

The McKinsey Global Institute take on housing affordability

Housing affordability is currently one of the most complex policy challenges our societies in Europe are faced with. As part of our work to identify solutions to this challenge, and in light of the launch of the ‘State of Housing in Europe’ 2019 report next autumn, we inaugurate a series of interviews with institutions and international stakeholders that have been looking at affordable housing, publishing influential reports and generating valuable data.

Our first guest in this series is Dr. Jan Mischke, a Partner at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey’s business and economics research arm, based in Zurich. Jan leads the MGI work on competitiveness and growth in Europe, and on infrastructure broadly defined on a global basis. In addition to in-depth analyses of more than 10 countries and a series of reports on Europe, he has led global efforts on affordable housing, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

  • Why would you say it’s important to look into housing affordability?

Access to decent, affordable housing is so fundamental to the health and well-being of people and the smooth functioning of economies that it is imbedded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is also an economic factor. For California, for instance, we estimate that the state loses 6 percent of state GDP due to the housing shortage from missing investment and consumption crowded out by elevated housing costs.

  • Can you name one phenomenon/issue which shows a problem with housing affordability? How does this manifest in data/trends that can be monitored?

We focus on the gap between what households can afford to pay for housing out of their income vs. the cost of decent housing as primary metric for assessing the issue. On this basis, worldwide, MGI has estimated that some 330 million urban households live in substandard housing or stretch to pay housing costs that exceed 30 percent of their income. This number could rise to 440 million households by 2025 if current trends are not reversed. The housing affordability gap is equivalent to $650 billion per year, or 1 percent of global GDP. In some of the least affordable cities, the gap exceeds 10 percent of local GDP. Over time, the evolution of income vs. housing cost can serve as a very simple indicator of trends.

  • If you have to choose one element as major cause of lack of affordable housing, which one would it be?

Affordability issues often start with the cost of and access to serviced land and the respective zoning rules that would allow expanding housing supply. This can make housing markets highly inelastic, with households taking up ever higher debt as house prices skyrocket without much expansion of supply. In London, for instance, house prices increased more than 5-fold over a generation from 1990 to 2015, but annual housing completions edged up only about 40 percent. Inefficient construction then adds to the problem.

  • Can you name one or more solutions which could help tackling this?

Policymakers have a number of tools to increase supply, incl. transit-oriented development, or making better use of underutilized or vacant sites incl. public land. Seoul, for instance, allows floor-area ratios that are up to 20 times higher in better-connected neighborhoods than in more distant areas. Other cities can follow this approach. Analysis in San Diego, for example, found that increasing the density of residential developments in a half-mile radius around public transport nodes could expand the city’s housing stock by close to 30 percent. And our forthcoming research on modular construction suggests that this methodology, well applied, could deliver 20 percent cost savings vis-a-vis traditional on-site delivery.

Source: housingeurope

How to Budget for Your First Home

Budgeting for your first home – what you need to know

Picture walking into a R2.3m townhouse and feeling like you are at home. But, then someone reminds you of the ‘hidden’ costs inherent in property purchases.

Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head at Hippo.co.za, says that data from the FNB Home Loans’ affordability index shows how financially trying the current economic environment is becoming. This is compounded by the steep increases in municipality and utility costs across the country.

Nagtegaal explains the cost of electricity has increased by 86.99% since the start of 2008 and is the biggest culprit of the disposable income index. Only 12.4% of homeowners are under the age of 30 in South Africa. This is due to the weak economy and the slower pace at which young people are entering the job market.

Number crunching made easy

Nagtegaal provides key advice for potential buyers:

“There’s no guarantee that a reputable bank will grant you a 100% bond, so you’ll need to do your research about the deposit required to make the bond affordable, as well as calculate what the transfer fees might be,” she says.

With information at our fingertips, thorough research online can help potential buyers understand bond costs. “It doesn’t have to be a complicated exercise. Online calculators, such as the one offered on Hippo.co.za, could help you calculate bond affordability, bond repayment terms and attorney costs,” she explains.

The platform also allows you to compare bank options based on the minimum loan that you qualify for. For example, on a property of R1-million, with a deposit of R200 000, paying 10% interest over 20 years, your monthly payment would be around R7 720, with total once-off costs amounting to around:

• Bond registration costs R25 607;

• Property transfer costs R27 760; and

• Bond initiation fee of R5 985

Banks will charge a bond initiation fee for processing home loan applications. This is payable on a once-off basis upon the registration of a bond and will most likely be added to the home loan account. While some banks work on a base fee plus a percentage of the loan amount, others charge a flat rate.

Insurance cover

Nagtegaal points out that it is important to look at varying insurance companies on offer.

“With the excitement of moving into your new home, don’t forget to look into and compare the different types and brands of insurance on the market,” said Nagtegaal

Some banks require prospective buyers to take out life insurance when purchasing a home of up to R1-million. Nagtegaal adds that it can be devastating when one member of a married couple dies and his or her partner is forced to sell the home because they are not able to afford the monthly bond payments.

“Your bond originator may have a partnership with a reputable life insurance company that can offer clients competitive rates,” she advises.

Homeowners insurance is an important aspect when budgeting for a property. “Your bank will specify that you must have homeowners’ insurance in place to cover any potential structural damage to your property, which can be included in your monthly bond payments. While it does vary in amount according to the value of your home, you should also investigate insurance to cover the contents of your home,” she explains.

It is important to specify expensive items of furniture and electronics that will otherwise be difficult to replace. If one has a similar policy in place at their rented property, be sure to also change the address on the insurance documents after moving into a new property.

“Levies, municipal rates and taxes, electricity and an alarm system for your home, these also add up. Overall, owning your own home is arguably one of the biggest achievements of adult life,” says Nagtegaal.

She says prospective homeowners should do their homework to make sure they are not left out of pocket due to unforeseen expenses.

 

Source: reimag

Court Restrains ARCON From Conducting Qualifying Exams

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has restrained the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) from conducting and or conducting any qualifying professional examination by whatsoever name or form for the registration of architects in Nigeria. Justice Muawiyah Baba Idris made the order upon hearing of a motion of ex parte dated May 30, 2019, and moved on July 30, 2019, by S.N Mbaezue of Paul Ananaba & Co, counsel representing some concerned architects.

In the motion filed by the concerned architects and some of them that passed the qualifying examinations conducted by the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and supported by a 45-paragraph affidavit, the applicants had urged the court for an order of interlocutory injunction against the defendants.

They named ARCON, its president, NIA and its president, as defendants. In his ruling on the motion marked M/6824/19, Justice Idris granted the reliefs sought by the applicants and adjourned hearing on the originating summons till August 8, 2010.

The court also ordered that the summons be served on NIA (2nd defendant) and NIA president (4th defendant). In the originating summons, the concerned architects had urged the court to determine whether by the provisions of Sections 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Architects Registration Act, CAP A19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the roles of ARCON extended to the setting up and conducting of qualifying examination for architects in Nigeria.

The applicants also asked for a declaration that the function of ARCON was the regulation of architecture only in Nigeria, which included the registration of architects who had sat and passed the qualifying examination. They further sought a declaration that the only body required to carry out and conduct qualifying examination for the registration of architects in Nigeria NIA.

The aggrieved architects, among other things, also asked for a court declaration that the professional qualifying examination to be conducted for the registration of architects in Nigeria was the Professional Practice Competence Examination (PPCE) and must be in accordance with the Constitution of NIA. It would be recalled that ARCON and NIA had been in dispute over who should conduct architects’ qualifying examination thereby leading to the non-registration of many architects who had already sat and passed the examination.

Source: dailytrustng

Nigeria’s Failing Economy takes its Toll on Industrial Estates

One of the starkest reminders of the misgovernance of the nation by past leaders was the seemingly deliberate effort to stifle the industrial sector that was expected to tackle unemployment.

As many analysts now agree, Nigerians’preference for imported goods has also weakened the few existing industries, making some of them exit the nation’s landscape for other West African countries.

One of the most stringent criticisms against Nigeria’s industrial policy is its inability to reform the sector and provide succour to the existing and dying industries. Hence, the ugly state of industrial estates created in the 70s to take care of rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and commercialisation in the country.

The industrial sector in Nigeria (comprising manufacturing, mining, and utilities) accounts for a tiny proportion of economic activities (six per cent) while the manufacturing sector contributed only four per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011. This is despite policy efforts, over the last 50 years, and, in particular, more recently, that have attempted to facilitate industrialisation.

But available data from the Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2017 revealed that national industrial utilisation is approximately 40 per cent, while in 2018, according to a real estate report by Ubosi Eleh and Company, many warehousing facilities were thrown into the market for outright disposal, few takers as firms and owners continue to seek creative ways to remain in business.

The development of new warehousing either as an investment or for additional storage space still remains limited. The major industrial areas in Ikeja, Oregun, Illupeju, Apapa, Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos, Idu in Abuja, Trans Amadi in Port Harcourt and Bompai in Kano have witnessed low warehousing activities as many of them have been converted to other commercial uses or completely abandoned. In the northern parts of the country particularly Kaduna, the demand for warehousing is virtually non-existent.

For instance, the headquarters of the Dunlop Nigeria Plc, once a beehive of business activities, has become a ghost of their old selves. The case of Dunlop property is a definition of the new role the Lagos industrial community has been given.

The same goes for Iganmu, another ancient industrial layout. Apart from the portion controlled by the Nigerian Breweries Plc, the area has lost its past glory.

With the collapse of the Central Bags Manufacturing Company Nigeria Limited and several other operators that clustered around it, the entire famous Akanbi Onitiri Street has become a shadow of itself.

While the faint industrial activities are still in some other areas, developers have converted most of them to other uses. The same decline could be seen at Ijora, Isolo and Mushin industrial settlements. Abimbola Street and its environs, were the hub of the Lagos plastic industry at a time between 1970 and 1990, when Aswani, a sub-industrial cluster in Isolo, was at the peak of its performance.

But, the industrial life at Abimbola Street and its surroundings has dimmed. Except for the resilience of Johnson Wax Nigeria Limited, an insecticide maker, and dozens of warehouses, Abimbola Street would have been described as a ghost neighbourhood.

With the likes of the comatose Femstar and Company (Limca and Gold Spot bottler) and several other ventures that made the street tick those days, the street has lost its boom.

These areas have suddenly given way to other uses.

The same goes for Abimbola House itself, which used to be a haven for many small-scale manufacturers. A large portion now houses a showroom belonging to the Tecncool Nigeria Limited, a distributor of LG products, and several other marketing companies that are serviced by a branch of Wema Bank Plc, which is situated on the ground floor.

At Matori, Iganmu, Oba Okran, Ijesha and several other industrial estates in Lagos, this is the new order.

For instance, on Kolawale Shonibare, a street on the industrial arm of the estate where the likes of Eleganza Group once commanded a huge influence, new residential buildings and hotels have sprung up.

In the 1990s, Eleganza, a company owned by a doyen of the Nigerian industrial sector, Razaq Okoya, was employing both skilled and unskilled labour from different parts of the country.

Its imposing property on the estate has been turned to other uses. Most of the collapsed companies, like what obtains in several other parts of Lagos, have been transformed to storage facilities for sundry imported goods.

In fact, the average wait time to conclude a lease of a warehouse has continued to increase basically as a result of low demand. Between 2015 and 2016, the average wait time was in the range of 60-90 days, towards the end of 2016, it had doubled to 150-180 days and in 2017, there were still many warehouses that remained in the market for upwards of 300 days or more.

Warehouse rates in Lagos are in the range of N1, 200 – N1, 800 per square metre and increases with proximity to the ports. In Trans Amadi Industrial estate, properties command rent in the range of N1, 500 per square metre per annum while Idu, Abuja attracts about N1, 800 per square metre.

Industry watchers attribute the collapse of the sector to electricity outages, transportation bottlenecks, crime and corruption. Nigerian manufacturing firms suffer acute shortages of infrastructure such as good roads, potable water, and, in particular, power supply.

Contrary to insinuations that urbanisation cut short industrial developments in urban centres, some built environment experts, and especially town planners pointed out that the encroachment by residential developments did not affect the growth of the industrial estates.

Town planners
Reacting, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Remi Makinde told The Guardian that what had become the sorry state of most of the industrial estates could be blamed on the poor economic situation in the country.

He observed that since about 20 years ago, the situation has been going down and many of the established industries had to fold up their businesses.

“At Ikeja industrial estate, we used to have Michelin and Dunlop tyres and the Nigerian Textile Mills. Regrettably, most of them have been taken over by churches after they folded up completely whereas the churches can’t employ such a huge number of people accommodated by the manufacturers and industries. These are industries employing thousands of Nigerians and feeding many families. The industrial estate in Apapa still maintains its status but bad roads and accessibility problems have run it down and Apapa is now a slum”, he said.

On solutions to the problem, he said there had to be a conscious government policy and amelioration project to revitalise industrial estates in the country. According to him, there would be a need for a conscious urban renewal scheme to upscale infrastructure in the estates for industrialists to move back to the country.

Makinde said irrespective of a master plan designed for an area and no matter how intelligently built, the economic situation would determine whether it would be successful or otherwise.

“ That is why master plans are being revised from five to ten years in accordance with the economic direction. The economic situation has changed so many things. A conscious policy by the federal, state and local governments will help to rejig the situation,” he said.

Corroborating his views, the Chairman, Lagos branch, Nigeria Institution of Town Planners (NITP), Bisi Adedire, regretted the abuse of the master plans for areas zoned for industrial purposes.

He, however, noted that complementary uses might be allowed in any master plan. According to him, many of the industries have moved out of that environment while some of them are no longer functional.

He stressed that when government wants to do a review of the master plans, some owners of the industries along the area complained that they are no longer interested in using the place for industrial purposes.

While some cleverly changed the use, others sold out for religious activities and they turned them to places of worship. Others cleverly said they wanted residential apartments for their staff, thereby out of the land that is supposed to be for industrial use, they now have residential houses inside the industrial complex.

“We now have a couple of legal changes but the government lacks the instrument for monitoring. Had it been there was adequate monitoring, it could not have reached this level.”

According to him, there is a model city plan for Ikeja, Lagos State embarked on the preparation of a model city plan for areas like Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Agege. Those of Ikorodu and Epe are still being worked out.

“Recently, I saw a filings station close to Vita foam, without approval, a lot of things like that.

“As a branch, we are embarking upon a project called ‘Change the City Project’, we are seeking the support of the government so that we have various groups.

“ Each of these groups will identify some of the challenges in the areas of housing, transportation and waste management so that we come out with a policy.

“We are asking the government to allow private individual consultants by engaging professionals in the monitoring of activities in the state.
“With that, all these haphazard developments will stop in these areas. The government cannot do it alone, that is what we are trying to put across”, he added.

Another town planner, former NITP Lagos branch chairman and past president, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Moses Ogunleye, explained that there is always proper designation in zoning land uses, as such no land use is expected to encroach on another, except the plan of the area has been reviewed or rezoned.

According to him, property developers are not allowed to build residential apartments in industrial areas. But he admitted that some industrial plots were being leased temporarily for places of worship, event centres and banking services.

MAN speaks
But the Chairman, Ikeja branch, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye, said the reason for the displacement of industrial estates was not basically an encroachment by residential occupants but the fact that occupants vacated the zone to other areas because of the issues they had in terms of meeting up with their production and business demands.

He said pertinent issues, which the association had also been talking about overtime, include the overall poor business climate, the high-interest rate, monetary policy, poor electricity, bad road network and insecurity in the locations.

“The industrialists vacated the places because they were not good for their businesses and so they have to look for better areas and so you have a vacancy for people to buy their warehouses and so convert them to residential buildings. If you look at Dunlop, they left and anybody could occupy where it had been before. In Acme road, Ikeja, many companies there, left also. They either moved out or relocated from the country, ” he said.

“They are displaced because the places are vacant and when they see good money offered to them, they get swallowed up. If you have a factory and you are occupying one-third of it and somebody offers good money to relocate, owners may be tempted to oblige. Now industrial zones have become something else.

“It should really give concerns to the government that a place meant for an industrial estate is being displaced. I believed the government knows why they are being displaced and should map out solutions that will bring them back”, he said.

Meshioye said it’s not enough to have industrial revolution plans and others, but must be seen to work to bring economic prosperity.

He said, “The high exchange rate for dollar to naira in recent times is not good for business. Only those who have a strong backup could manage to survive. Businesses have been impacted adversely and those that could not take the shock moved out of business.”

He declares that the government should formulate policies that would support industrial growth because if the established industrial estates had been functioning well, the nation would have experienced a high employment rate.

“Lagos in general and Ikeja, in particular, are industrial hubs. If things have been working in full capacity, there would have been high statistics for employment, high production of products, low prices of goods, reduction in crime rate, peace, innovation and more investment because investors would be comfortable with the environment, more taxes to government from employees/companies and other positive effects”, he stated.

Going forward, Mr Meshioye charged the government to work hard on the existing industrial policy.

“Government is putting in place low interest, this could be fine if industrialists could access it easily. Access to special funds by manufacturers would be very helpful. More support and the provision of infrastructure like good road network, stable electricity is key. Water is needed for a gradual reversal of the displacement.”

The government must ensure that an industrial estate is used for nothing else but the purpose for which it has been planned and things that would sustain industrial parks must be put in place.

“We may not need to bother about new industrial zones if those in place are maintained. In Lagos, industrialists are moving now to Sango-Ota, Shagamu zone and basically Ogun State. Nestle and Nigerian Breweries have relocated there. For Nigeria, it is a good development but Lagos is losing out. The government needs to provide industrial parks for industrialists and not just Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. We need bigger parks for big companies.”

Lagos State government 
But the acting Head, Regional Master Plan, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Ogunlewe Adebisi, said there were still industrial estates, stressing that residential estates could not come in industrial areas except where they shared boundaries.

He said: “We still retain Oregun, Ikeja and other industrial areas, but there are certain areas within Oregun dedicated for mixed-use. It is a new master plan. We took into consideration the existing development pattern, those sides we felt can be accommodated. In some cases, people bought residential areas and turned them to industrial use because they shared boundaries.

“But now that industrial development is not thriving again they want to revert. At times, it could have been a road that separated residential from industrial and some people because of the cost of land within the industrial area, they bought close to the industrial areas and use it for industrial purpose or lease, where there are warehouses or light industries.

“When activities are not thriving again, they want to revert and change the use. In the case of worship centres, there are other permissive uses within an industrial area. There are areas, where they allowed for a place of worship or institutional use. Personally, I will not like to see where an industrial area will be sold for a place of worship, because it is killing the economy.

“The government has not come up with a policy to forbid people from buying such property and when they want to buy they will not tell you that they want to use it for church and you give them the consent. Except you put the name of the church there that is when you will see the consent. But most institutional uses are permissible in an industrial estate.

“But the sale of an industrial area for church purposes should be discouraged because it is killing our employment opportunities. Because the number of employees a church could grant is lower than industries. We should wait for somebody else who wants to establish an industry to get. Right now, the government has no control over it, the land belongs to them, they got it from the government. There must be certain conditions too because there must be a distance.

“Most worship centres are industrial buildings or warehouses being converted legally because there is still no policy in place to check that. It is now a lucrative thing to build churches in industrial areas than residential areas because of the existence of infrastructures like roads and electricity”, he said.

Source: guardianng

LASG Warns Against Alteration of Estate Designs

The Lagos State Government has issued a warning to the residents of state-owned housing schemes to desist from modifying the approved designs of structures within such estates.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr Wasiu Akewusola, gave the warning during a meeting with representatives of the Residents Association of Abraham Adesanya Estate at the state secretariat.

According to him, it is in the best interest of all residents of government-owned estates to stop alterations of structures and buildings in such estates.

Akewusola said such reconstruction included restyling, extension of and additions to existing facilities and in some extreme cases increase in levels of buildings.

He said that these alterations were deviations from the terms and conditions stated  in the deed of sub-lease signed by the two parties and warned that it could lead to a penalty as stated in the law.

“Government-owned estates are designed and built by the state government in compliance with global environmental and physical planning rules to ensure durability and liveability. Contravention of such standards often results in dire consequences such as reduced durability of the structure both for the homeowner and the other people in the environment,” he said.

Akewusola urged residents to desist from any form of redesigning of any building as this might cause damage to not only the house but the entire environment.

He stated that there was the need for the residents to maintain the original structural design to prevent future disaster.

“A building is a permanent load whose capacity of erection can only be known and accessed by certified engineers. This capability, which is environmentally determined, had already been quantified before the building was erected. Any plans to overload the capacity may result in disaster,” he said.

He also said all unapproved remodelling contravened the physical and urban planning law of the state government, adding that the affected buildings would be demolished by the appropriate agency of the state government.

“The demolition of illegal and unapproved structures in government-owned estates will commence very soon without any further warning,” he said.

Akewusola added that the state government was aware of some residents who had turned such estates’ setbacks into marketplaces and cautioned that it would no longer be business as usual as the state would ensure that sanity returned to such estates.

According to him, the state monitoring team has improved on its surveillance activities to ensure compliance with set environmental standards.

He said the state government had also concluded plans to upgrade the drainage system in the area to combat incessant flooding in the estate, adding that the government would continue to be responsive to the challenges confronting the people in the estates and the state in general.

Source: punchng

Industry Leaders Plan Cement Innovation Confab

Industry leaders, experts and stakeholders have said there is a need to focus on innovation in the cement and concrete industry.

Stakeholders have therefore concluded plans to meet in Singapore in October to discuss innovation within the sector to find solutions to challenges in the industry including ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from production processes.

Global Cement and Concrete Association said ‘Innovation in Focus’ would be the theme of this year’s annual conference.

The association said it would have in attendance delegates from around the world including renowned global experts, industry CEOs, executives and other key industry stakeholders who would share ideas on innovation, the future of cities and sustainable construction among other major global trends influencing the future of the cement and concrete industry.

The GCCA said delegates would also listen to experts’ views on a wide range of other topics including technology developments; carbon capture, use and storage; construction techniques; process improvements; new binders; design and architecture.

It stated that a high-level session led by world renowned smart cities expert, Ayesha Khanna, and other speakers from Nigeria, India and Singapore would explore the future of cities, sustainable construction and the role of concrete.

The Chief Executive Officer, GCCA, Benjamin Sporton, said, “This conference is an important opportunity for the global industry to come together and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges we face. With its key focus on innovation, the conference boasts an exciting programme and demonstrates the cement and concrete industry’s commitment to driving progress in sustainable construction and innovation across our value chain.

“Success in meeting these challenges, including reducing our Co2 emissions, will require collaboration on global solutions. The GCCA annual conference aims to facilitate such collaboration, bringing together some of the best and brightest minds within the sector but also from the wider built environment. It is sure to be a key date in the industry’s calendar.”

According to the group, the Singapore event is the GCCA’s second annual conference, following the inaugural London conference of 2018, and is open to all member companies, the wider industry and other built environment stakeholders.

Source: punchng

Trade War is Raising the Risk of U.S. Recession, Goldman Sachs Warns

The trade war with China is having a greater effect on the U.S. economy than expected, and the risk of recession is rising, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Sunday.

In a note to clients, Goldman analysts led by chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius said a trade deal between the U.S. and China is no longer expected before the 2020 presidential election.

Goldman GS, -0.05%   said it now expects a 0.6% drag on the U.S. economy due to trade-war developments, up from earlier estimates of 0.2%. “Fears that the trade war will trigger a recession are growing,” Hatzius said in the note.

Goldman also lowered its fourth-quarter U.S. growth forecast by 20 basis points to 1.8%, saying the trade war is weighing down the economy.

“Overall, we have increased our estimate of the growth impact of the trade war,” Hatzius wrote. “The drivers of this modest change are that we now include an estimate of the sentiment and uncertainty effects and that financial markets have responded notably to recent trade news.”

Uncertainty caused by the trade war could cause businesses to lower spending until tensions are resolved, the report said. “Relatedly, the business sentiment effect of increased pessimism about the outlook from trade war news may lead firms to invest, hire, or produce less,” wrote Hatzius.

The Goldman analysts said they expect President Donald Trump to carry out his threat to impose 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese exports starting Sept. 1.

Source: marketwatch

Corruption Hampering Buhari’s Multi-Billion Naira Social Empowerment Programme

• N-Power Suffering Ghost Participants Syndrome – Source
• Alleges Fund Diversion By Govt Officials
• Programme Has Over 700,000 Enrollees, Not Ghosts – Coordinator
• N-Power Volunteers In Ebonyi Narrate Success Story

One of President Muhammadu Buhari’s social empowerment programmes, N-Power, may soon be rested due to implementation setbacks said to have been caused by alleged corruption. N-Power is the job creation and empowerment programme of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the administration.

A reliable source close to the programme Said  that poor sustainability plan and gross mismanagement of resources by programme managers were threatening its continued implementation.The source, an economist and former Managing Director of a deposit money bank, highlighted what he termed “the ghost participants syndrome” as another key challenge plaguing the programme, describing the development as a situation where officials and those in the corridors of power send names of family members, spouses and friends to collect allowances meant for youths the programme intended to empower.

The source said: “Let me tell you in confidence, the NSIP Programme, particularly the N-Power, is doomed to crash very soon due to two major reasons. The first is the poor sustainability model of the programme, which proposes that the Federal Government would continue to finance the programme. Now, where is the money, when government itself is broke and borrowing money everywhere? That is why out of the sum of N500 billion budgeted for the programme since 2016 when it began, government has been dithering and has reimbursed only about 35 per cent of the amount cumulatively.

“The second reason is the ghost working syndrome besetting the programme, with officials fielding non-existing participants, just to collect money using their names. Privileged government officials are the real persons collecting the funds.”But reacting to the allegation of ghost participation in the N-Power Programme, the Senior Special Assistant on National Social Empowerment Programme to President Buhari and chief driver of the Programme, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, described the allegation as “untrue and very callous.”

She said that allowances under the programme were paid through the bank and only after a Bank Verification Number certification; hence it was impossible for ghost participation for purposes of defrauding the system.A development economist and presidential candidate in the last general election, Mr. Tope Fasua, however, echoed the concerns expressed by the earlier source, saying the N-Power programme was a jamboree and was susceptible to failure from the beginning.He explained that during the campaigns, which took him round the country, he made several enquiries as to the whereabouts of the N-Power beneficiaries but was always told they were not around.

This phenomenon, which, according to him, happened in quite a number of places, confirmed to him that the ghost beneficiary syndrome bogged the programme. Fasua said though the FG may have good intention, the programme appeared to be driven by corrupt operators. He advised that closer monitoring be undertaken by the government.Another development economist, Mr. Odilim Enwegbara, said the N-Power programme’s challenge stemmed from its conception, as it didn’t provide that it be designed and driven by economic experts for sustainable financing.

He bemoaned the situation where such lofty programme was handed over to friends of the President, not minding whether they had the capacity to drive it to achieve the core objectives.Enwegbara said, “For instance, the operators of the N-Power are yet to address the basic challenge of opening or securing access to markets for beneficiaries, as well as helping them in getting financing for start-up, which renders whatever training they may have obtained useless.

“Therefore, what we require is a complete review of the whole concept of the Social Investment Programme in the country. And this must be done and run by economists. Otherwise, let us be prepared for the doomsday of repercussion of unemployment.’’ Uwais, however, insisted that there were no ghost participants in N-Power, declaring that the programme had registered over 700,000 youths and only recently sacked some participants for absenteeism and negligence.She said: “Those disengaged were removed over time, not as a consequence of your report, but because we have monitors and encourage whistleblowers to report. There are no ghost N-Power beneficiaries.

“We run the successful applicants by NIBSS, to verify, before we submit the lists to each state for deployment. NIBSS is the custodian of the BVN register. N-Power beneficiaries submit their BVN with their applications. So, this assists in ensuring the authentication of their identities. NIBSS remains our enterprise project management office and are our first port of call for our beneficiary check, to-date. Please ask them directly if you disbelieve me.”

Uwais disclosed that the beneficiaries on the programme currently included 500,000 graduates, 26,000 non-graduates, and 3,000 independent N-Power monitors. She stressed that operators had a system in place to check irregularities or corrupt practices. “We have independent monitors in all the local council areas in the country and they all have devices with a monitoring template. They report to us each month, across all the programmes. We have men of the Department of State Service (DSS) that have been trained on our programme.

They give us regular reports on activities in the field. “We have Actionaid also, who have selected Civil Society Organisations (with proven CBO affiliates) in every state. They also collate reports and provide regular updates to us. We continue to welcome feedback and are open to constructive updates, as this has to be a continuous process, especially because quite a number voluntarily resign after securing permanent jobs or starting their own businesses.”

Uwais, however, confirmed that there have been delays in funding. She explained that the development relates to fund releases that affect all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and States, and not the NSIP alone.

MEANWHILE, beneficiaries of the scheme in Ebonyi State say the programme has made significant impact on their lives, and those who benefit from the services they render at their various Places of Primary Assignment (PPA).Speaking from their PPAs via individual video recordings made available to The Guardian in Abuja, the beneficiaries, many of whom were enlisted in 2016, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for the scheme and implementation of the youth oriented job enhancement programme, which according to them, is making a difference in their lives.

Okuchi Okechukwu, an N-Power beneficiary deployed to Urban Community Primary School in Abakiliki, said beyond the knowledge and experience gained by being engaged to teach, she has also been able to deploy resources earned to improve her small scale business.I teach Primary Two pupils who are mostly from the Hausa Community. Since I resumed here, I have made a lot of positive impact on the lives of these pupils. I am most grateful for this opportunity. The program has changed my financial status and improved my bakery business. Thank you Mr President for this opportunity “, She said.

Ude Victoria, another N-Power beneficiary said the monthly stipends she receives as a beneficiary of the program have in no small measure boosted her soya beans trade.“I learnt how to make soya beans a long time ago, but due to lack of funds, I couldn’t do anything. Thank God for this N-Power job, which has helped me raise some money to invest in my business,”Victoria remarked.

For Igwe Jude, an N-Power Volunteer Batch A (2016) in Abakiliki, said the experience of being enlisted in the programme has been worthwhile, noting that the scheme provides a platform to sharpen his skills for higher responsibilities in future.“I teach Chemistry here in Urban Modern Secondary School in Abakiliki. This school is the biggest secondary school in Ebonyi State so they have a lot of students. When we came in, they didn’t have enough teachers, and so our deployment helped a great deal. It’s been a good experience because as we teach the students, we also learn from them as well,” Jude said.

Obodo Anthony, one of the N-build volunteers working in one of the automobile servicing companies in Ebonyi State, said within a short period of his internship as an automobile trainee, he has covered enough grounds, and is gradually becoming an expert in car maintenance services.

Source: guardianng

India’s Real state sector on growth trajectory: CREDAI-CBRE Report

India’s economic transition, workforce expansion and urbanisation will boost investment opportunities in real estate sector in the next decade, leading to significant growth in housing, office, retail and warehousing space, says a CREDAI and CBRE report.

In its joint report released at a real estate conference held here, property consultant CBRE said the sector would expand tremendously by 2030, led by new asset classes such as coworking, coliving, student housing and real estate invest .real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The report estimated that office space stock will touch one billion sq ft by 2030, with flexible workspace accounting for 8-10 per cent of the total stock.

The retail shopping centre stock is estimated to cross 120 million sq ft by 2030, while warehousing stock could touch 500 million sq ft by then.

By 2030, residential real estate has the potential to almost double from the current stock of 1.5 million units in key cities, the report said.

“As the Indian economy transitions and its workforce expands, it will offer vast development and investment opportunities for the real estate sector,” CREDAI-CBRE report said.

The growth of cities is going to further influence the country’s built environment, while technology, demographics and environmental issues will become the new value drivers, it added.

Commenting on the report, CREDAI President Satish Magar said, “India continues to remain a high-priority market for long term growth potential as is evident from the increased investment flows in the last few years.

“In the wake of positive policy reforms and emergence of a strong workforce, the momentum of India’s economic growth is steady and it will only grow stronger in the next 10 years,” said Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and CEO, India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, CBRE.

The factors which will further facilitate this growth trajectory are investment, improved governance, human capital upgrade, improved connectivity, infrastructure enhancement, strengthened institutions, policy reforms and integrated sustainability of the entire ecosystem, he added.

Source: economictimes

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