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JUS IN: Two Storey Building Collapses in Warri

An uncompleted two storey building, still under construction, in the Marine Quarters axis of Warri, collapsed to the ground on Friday, leaving a huge heap of rubbles.

Although there was no casualty, as there was nobody within the walls of the building as at the time of the incident, at about 1:00pm, the collapsing structure left impacts on two nearby living quarters.

According to sources who were seen at the scene of the incident, labourers working on the building had suspended works in the meantime as a result of the rains, which had been more constant in the last few days.

While those living around the area were seen thanking God that no life was lost, a welder working on the site was also captured evacuating his welding machine and other equipment.

Although it was gathered that the owner of the collapsed building was out of town, a neighbour in the area informed that he (the owner of the building) had refused to engage other professional hands for the construction, saying “he’s both the engineer and the labourer”

In a chat with Nation, the Chairman of Marine Quarters, Mr. Olusegun Awodeyi, stated that residents in the area had warned the owner of the building that the foundation and other parts of the building are not firm enough due to “substandard materials” used for the construction.

Awodeyi said rather than make use of good and standard materials, the owner of the building once said “we should go away that he knows what he is doing as an engineer”.

He, however, charged the Delta state government to come and take a critical look at another house reportedly belonging to the said owner of the collapsed building to avoid another “building collapse” and possible deaths.

“We don’t want a situation where someone will have to die in this area, government needs to come quickly to take a look at another building belonging to the same man. It was just God who prevented death from this one that has already collapsed”, Awodeyi said.

Source: thenationonlineng

Sustainable infrastructure the way ahead for India

Infrastructure development, including the construction of roads, bridges, ports, power plants and water supply, are key drivers of economic growth. It facilitates developing countries to boost their manufacturing, services as well as trade.

The fast-paced infrastructure development in India has not only helped the country in becoming one of the fastest growing economies of the world, but also aided in bringing in substantial investment.

Smart Cities Mission has given a boost to infrastructure development. With infrastructure geared towards Smart Cities, the focus is on sustainable infrastructure, which also becomes the need of the hour considering the fact that the planet is suffering from eco-anxiety — due to climate change and diminishing natural resources.

Sustainable infrastructure not just protects the environment, but also adds long-term value to the facilities. It enhances the quality of life for citizens of the country.

Sustainable growth helps in protecting vital natural resources along with promoting efficient use of financial resources.

Pollution is one of the major problems dogging India, whose air quality in India is horrendously bad right now. The problem became so intense that the government had to stop construction at almost all sites.

An increasing number of vehicles, along with industrialisation and a decreasing number of trees, have added to carbon emission.

Sustainable infrastructure can play a role in reducing energy consumption, which helps in minimising carbon dioxide emission. The usage of renewable energy sources directly helps in improving air quality.

Sustainable infrastructure also helps in reducing solid waste. Since the focus has now shifted to solid waste management, companies manufacturing construction materials are coming up with renewable building materials which are easy to recycle.

Various solid waste reduction practices such as construction byproduct management, recyclable management, recycled material usage and waste mitigation have been incorporated.

Owing to rampant exploitation of natural resources, it is high time that we switch to sustainable infrastructure development. This will help reduce dependence on natural resources.

Through building re-purposing, sustainable infrastructure projects will help save natural resources.

Sustainable projects also help to reduce soil erosion as well as water runoff. They assist in preserving indigenous wildlife and open land.

While developing a sustainable infrastructure project, the focus is on less energy consumption. Although the cost of sustainable engineering is higher as compared to traditional building methods, the developer can recover the initial cost due to reduced utility and maintenance expenses.

Apart from bringing down energy consumption, there is a reduction in water consumption too owing to the fact that civil engineers practising sustainable infrastructure design also incorporate water saving- technologies. These projects have water-free urinals — no flush toilets and low flow shower heads.

It also comes with the benefit of improved community health. With improved air quality, reduction in carbon emission, less energy consumption and usage of renewable energy sources, sustainable infrastructure has tremendous health benefits.

Sustainable infrastructure also reduces the risk of damages through unforeseen natural disasters.

Apart from this, the developer of a sustainable project might get insurance discounts through preventive disaster measures, which further offsets emergency equipment expenses.

Minimalist designs allow property owners to add features as and when needed. The design of sustainable projects is such that it facilitates future additions. The floor plans of sustainable projects ensure that space lends itself to multi-purpose utility.

Sustainable projects also include framework, which includes additional floor levels, as well as accessible wiring conduits that facilitate future improvements.

Apart from providing a better place to live, sustainable infrastructure development also adds to employment prospects. Employment opportunities are created at every step. Job opportunities are aplenty — right from construction to its maintenance. Apart from being the direct source of employment for local labour, it is also a source of income generation for small businessmen who supply materials for construction.

Sustainable infrastructure attracts investment, which ropes in companies providing employment opportunities to local labour and help in controlling rampant inter-state migration.

Source:  DNA. Read the original article)

Tackling Affordable Housing Crisis in Nigeria

Cost of renting apartments in major cities of Nigeria has continued to be on the high side. Prior to the Muhammad Buhari administration, those touted to have made money in questionable ways usually look at the real estate as where to dispense the money.

That helped to increase the number of housing inhabited and thereby reduce the deficits in the sector. Many experts, when they want to solve economic or sectoral problems, often take cue from how such problems are solved in other climes and try to match them with local situations.

Nonetheless, Nigeria’s case is not like that, rather the body movement of Mr. President has frightened the potential investors in real estate. The EFCC has been beaming its searchlight in their direction. This results in the unprecedented housing deficits that live with Nigerians in major cities.

This unprecedented rate of urbanization has led to increased demand for good and affordable housing. It has not only made house scarce in the cities of Nigeria but also added to the unaffordable apartments that litter the cities without occupants.

A recent survey revealed that of 200 cities polled around the world, 90 per cent of them were considered unaffordable when applying the widely-used standard of average house prices being more than three-times median income.

Addressing the housing affordability challenge in Nigeria, requires systematic changes. City governments must streamline their regulatory landscapes and enable transparent land acquisition, emphasize property rights over title, develop a rental regulatory framework to protect tenants as well as landlords, encourage mixed-income and mixed-use housing developments, enable more innovative financing models in developing new homes or upgrading existing homes and encourage skill-building in the construction industry.

The private sector must embrace innovative mechanisms to finance development and help establish the creditworthiness of those looking to improve their housing situation. Employers need to work with communities to provide affordable housing for employees, or help with housing costs through loans, subsidies or mortgage deals. Private developers need to invest in sustainable design concepts to create energy-efficient housing to improve productivity, prefabricating components and using alternative materials and advanced automated equipment.

The non-profit sector also has a key role to play in working with housing providers to implement alternative tenure models, while supporting advocacy efforts of government in formulating policy and providing technical support, information and know-how to developers and homeowners.

Affordability is not just about the ability to buy or rent a home, but also about being able to afford to live in it. This definition of affordability goes beyond meeting expenses related to operations and maintenance, taking into consideration transport, infrastructure and services.

If a home is economical enough to buy and maintain but located too far from work or school, it cannot be said to be affordable. In Nigeria for instance taking Lagos as a sample survey, there could be houses littering the environment of Lekki and Ajah but because those working in Alausa cannot live comfortably and meet going to and fro Alausa every day, it means the houses are not affordable.

The factors contributing to a lack of affordability vary from city-to-city, but broadly include housing costs rising faster than incomes, the supply of houses not keeping up with demand, scarcity of land, and demographic changes such as population growth, ageing and shifts in household composition.

To understand the challenge more holistically, the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently launched a new report it termed, Making affordable housing a reality for cities.  The report provides a comprehensive overview of affordable housing challenges across the housing value chain.

It identifies factors that affect housing affordability beyond the direct costs of purchase and maintenance to include but not limited to location, housing type, access to social infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment and the state of financial markets. It also recommends a systematic approach to addressing the affordable housing crisis, while highlighting how a range of cities are finding solutions.

For the government of Nigeria to address the housing challenges in the country, it must be able to tackle land acquisition that has to do with tradeable quotes, a situation through which developers are permitted to construct new housing on the periphery of a city in return for opening up additional land for cultivation beyond city boundaries.

There is the Land Use Act which if pioneered well could give government the privilege to partner with the private sector and non-governmental and community housing groups to develop some social housing units in neighborhoods that need renewal. Proceeds could be re-invested in social housing, community facilities and public space. Housing assistance is linked to participation in education, training or local employment.

There is this another system which is called repurposing of vacant property which is prevalent in Los Angeles. Los Angeles recently passed a law allowing motels to be converted into “permanent supportive housing” for the homeless, regardless of current zoning requirements.

This is typically quicker and cheaper than new construction, as it involves only adding small kitchens to the motel rooms. The idea of improving housing supply by pooling publicly owned assets into an “Urban Wealth Fund” is also creeping into the country. This means government partnering with the private sector to deliver projects. Sharing risks and benefits aligns the interests of these stakeholders and can streamline infrastructure development, planning and land-use regulations.

Also if government can regulate construction productivity in the country and make labour cheaper through inflation control, then the few constructed housing will be affordable to people. Shortage of professionals and building materials to give construction sector the most necessary skill is also one of the factors that challenge the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Government of Nigeria should review the activities of technical schools and accredit other training providers, strengthen coordination between training providers and construction employers, and provide funding to upgrade training equipment and premises.

By making the country’s skills training more useful to the construction industry, and more attractive for young people, they would have addressed some percentages of affordable housing problems. Government’s inability to use Polytechnics, Schools of technology for research into manufacture of building materials is one of the problems.

The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), has done a lot of things in the direction of providing some raw and some finished building materials in the recent past but it seems government did not latch on that to progress.

Source: sunnewsonline

Failed Gas Deal: British Firm Seeks Seizure of $9bn Nigerian Assets

The request is part of a long-running saga over a 2010 deal in which the Nigerian government agreed to supply gas to a processing plant in Calabar that P&ID – a little-known firm founded by two Irish businessmen specifically for the project – would build and run, Reuters reported on Thursday.

When the deal failed, P&ID won a $6.6bn award at arbitration, based on what it could have earned during the 20-year agreement.

The company said the total owed had ballooned to $9bn because of interest accrued since 2013.

Nigeria has tried to nullify the award, saying it was not subject to international arbitration but British courts rejected the argument.

P&ID is now asking the Commercial Court in London to convert the arbitration into a judgement, which would allow them to try to seize international assets, according to Reuters.

A source close to President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted by Reuters as saying that the government was fully aware of the matter and the government “is not sleeping”, adding they were optimistic the matter could be resolved in the courts.

There are also proceedings pending at a US District Court in Washington, D.C.

“This is a problem that the Nigerians are not facing up to in any serious way,” said Andrew Stafford, Q.C. of Kobre & Kim LLP, which is representing P&ID.

Experts said it would be difficult for Nigeria to fully extricate itself.

“Under UK legislation, state immunity does not operate to protect a sovereign state where it has entered into an arbitration agreement,” said Simon Sloane, a partner with UK law firm Fieldfisher.

He added that going after state assets following arbitration had become a well-trodden path over the past 15 years and it would be difficult for Nigeria to avoid paying compensation.

While assets that are used for diplomatic purposes – such as the Nigerian High Commission building in central London – were off the table, commercial assets were up for grabs.

In 2008, a UK court ruled that proceeds of oil sales from Chad held in an international account intended to repay World Bank loans were fair game for seizure.

Experts also said that the involvement of a hedge fund, VR Group, which has a stake in P&ID, signalled that it was unlikely to let the issue drop.

Source: punchng

South Africa: Housing Protest Near Durbanville Leads to Road Closures

Protest action near Durbanville, believed to be related to housing, has led to road closures, Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said on Thursday.

Fisantekraal residents have blocked roads in and out of the area.

“The alleged reason for the protest is due to housing-related issues,” said Africa. He confirmed that protesters burnt tyres and put stones along the road – blocking the roads.

The intersection between the R304 and R312 has been closed.

Motorists have been directed to detours out of the area and, according to Africa, “all role players are on the scene”.

EWN reported that the City of Cape Town’s safety and security boss, Richard Bosman, indicated that the Mayco member for housing would meet with protesters.

He said he understood that that “indications from my staff on the scene is that there is some sort of unhappiness regarding housing”.

Source: News24

NEDC Moves to Resettle Displaced Residents

Buhari pledges to tackle climate change, insecurity, others 
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the North East Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Alkali, has pledged to prioritise provision of infrastructure to facilitate the return of displaced residents in the troubled region.

He made the pledge while fielding questions from reporters after the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), Tijjani Tunsah, presented his handover note to the commission in Abuja.

Amid the challenges associated with provision of infrastructure, the NEDC boss explained that his organisation would not shy away from meeting the immediate needs of the people.

His words: “Infrastructure could be in the form of roads, housing and whatever that will make them come back to their communities. There are people that may want their markets rebuilt, want their mosques reconstructed or even their houses erected again.

“That will give them the assurance that life is coming back. So, we will try to build back that confidence.”

Alkali reiterated the commission’s zeal to resettle the refugees, including those that fled the border towns into Cameroon, in time.

Promising to study the handover notes, the DG however pointed out that his agency would work on own template to achieve its mandate.

Earlier, chairman of NEDC, Paul Tarfa, stated that for the commission to achieve its goals, it must engage the communities in terms of infrastructure provision among others.

On the issue of repentant Boko Haram members, Tunsah revealed that some of them were being trained in various skills for their onward integration into the larger society.

Source: GuardianNg

Bankers Seek N2tn Pension Fund to Finance Homes for Contributors

The Bankers’ Committee Thursday canvassed for the release of N2 trillion out of the N9 trillion pension fund assets, for pension contributors to own houses.

The Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank, Hamda Ambah, told reporters Thursday that the decision was one of those taken at the committee’s meeting in Abuja.

According to her, the contributors of the fund will use the 25 per cent, amounting to N2 trillion as equity injection, to own houses.

She said: “Twenty-five per cent of N9 trillion is worth over N2 trillion and this fund can be used to stimulate demand for mortgage loans in our economy.

“It was agreed that the central bank would talk to fellow regulators and also work with government of various states to make the whole process of land transfer and titling a lot easier so that many more people across the nation can access mortgage financing thereby stimulate demand in our economy.”

The committee also commended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to retain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, saying it is good for financial stability and economic growth.

Besides, Emefiele’s retention will also ensure the continuity of export stimulation programme of the apex bank.
CBN Director, Banking Supervision Department, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi, also said the committee had resolved to commence disbursement of funds under the creative industry financing initiative.

Abdullahi said the committee believed the sector remained critical to job creation, poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

Giving more details on the plan to fund the creative industry, the Managing Director, FBN Quest Merchant Bank, Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe, encouraged interested applicants to submit applications to their banks for approval and disbursement.
He also urged them to prepare the business plan or statement on how much they required for their businesses.

On real estate financing, he said the committee would unlock the huge liquidity that various people have in the sector, adding that this would enable the banks to boost their contributions to the real estate sector towards adding value to the consumers.

“We have had good dialogue in the past and there is recognition in the Bankers’ Committee that it is time to execute a lot of the initiative that has been considered by the various sub-committees and acted on immediately.

“Another initiative discussed is in the real sector, we want to release the trapped liquidity that various investments that people have in the real estate in land or in property. Recognising that there are some obstacles but ultimately we must find a way to navigate through,” he added.

Source: thisdaylive

BOI Named Africa’s Best Financial Inclusion Institution

The Bank of Industry has received an award for being the best financial inclusion institution at the 2019 Africa Banker Awards.

The event, which was a side event at the ongoing annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Malabo, awarded financial institutions for their feat in the industry.

The BOI received commendation for “succeeding in delivering financial products and services to wider parts of society, particularly to the most disadvantaged and low-income segments, ultimately contributing to financial inclusion, development and growth”.

Ecobank received the award for being the best retail bank in Africa while the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) was named the African Bank of the year.

Mitchell Elegbe, chief executive officer of Interswitch, was named the African Banker icon.

According to organisers, the award ceremony was organised to recognise the 400 personalities and banks that are “driving Africa’s rapidly transforming financial sector” and celebrate the achievements of those who are driving growth and development and creating new economic opportunities for citizens and communities.

The Bank of Industry (BOI) was reconstructed in 2001 out of the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB), which was incorporated in 1964.

It provides financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects as well as the expansion, diversification and modernisation of existing enterprises; and rehabilitation of existing ones.

Source: thecable

3 escape death as another building collapses in Lagos

A one storey building has collapsed at Shangisha area of Magodo, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

PM News gathered that the building was under construction when it caved in on Thursday with three people trapped in the debris.

The building collapsed at Kayode Aluko Olokun Close, Shangisha, Magodo.

The building was said to have collapsed around 3.00pm as the workers were working on the structure.

Officials of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, and others were on ground to rescue trapped victims.

A police source told PM News that the three people trapped in the collapsed building had been rescued and taken to the hospital.

In March, a three-storey building collapsed at Itafaji area of Lagos Island, with 20 people, majorly pupils killed with over 40 others injured.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

Smart Havens Africa Is Using Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Technologies to Provide Affordable Housing

The Ugandan social enterprise Smart Havens Africa is helping vulnerable communities acquire homes affordably and sustainably. In this way, founder Anne Rweyora, one of the engineers short-listed for the fifth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, hopes to bring down housing poverty.

Anne Rweyora is the managing director of Smart Havens Africa. She has set up the company to build low-cost, sustainable houses for vulnerable and low-income households in areas where homes are predominantly owned by wealthy landowners. The idea is to make home ownership more accessible to African women in particular.

Her motivation to create accessible housing got her shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize, along with 15 of her counterparts.

In an interview with BBC, Rweyora explained her motivation: “I lost my father and started experiencing how housing poverty affects all spheres of life when our relatives and my late father’s friends came to grab our property.”

“Over 69% of Ugandans are living in substandard housing. This is not only a Ugandan issue but an African issue. In South Sudan, where I worked, the issue was even worse. That’s where my energy and desire come from.”

Speaking on land accessibility, she said, “In Uganda the land tenure system is favourable. Smart Havens Africa gets this land, which is later sub-divided according to the home units. So, we are building these homes in communities where there are readily available facilities, health centres, accessible roads and water.”

The homes are equipped to use renewable energy and feature rainwater harvesting systems and bio-digestors. They build the houses using locally produced, green material, interlocking stabilising blocks.

“The design of the brick helps to cut the cost since our brick does not require plastering. This cuts the cost by almost 50%. The bricks do not require burning and firing, so it helps us to avoid air pollution and the deforestation of Africa’s forests,” Rweyora said.

The organisation seeks to lift up the communities it works in by providing skills and economic opportunities. They provide training and apprenticeship for women and youth who want to pursue a career in construction or real estate. They also support a local market where women, masons, apprentices, businesses and clients can operate.

Source: allafrica

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