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Loan from China: Tony Elumelu urges IMF to provide alternatives

Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heir Holdings has charged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development partners to provide alternatives to loans from China. In his reaction to IMF’s warning to Nigeria to be weary of China loans, Elumelu, who was on a private visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja, said nature abhors vacuum; hence the IMF, World Bank and other development partners should provide alternatives that would create jobs.

He stated: “If you do not want Nigeria to take China loan, provide the alternative. Like I keep saying, they should also support the development of entrepreneurs, they should look at ways to help us eradicate poverty in a manner that is sustainable.

“For me, one of the surest way to eradicate poverty is to ensure that our youths are gainfully employed through entrepreneurship and make sure development agencies- IMF, World Bank and co- help and support Nigeria to improve on her infrastructure, road transportation and access to electricity.

 

“These are things that will help us improve on security in Nigeria and increase prosperity through employment, which is the most important thing. “So, the advice is good, but nature abhors vacuum.”

On his advise to the Buhari administration as it commences a second tern next month, Elumelu, who congratulated the President on his victory at the poll, said it was time to work, adding: “On the economy and the next level, let us just continue in what we are doing, improve on them, increase capacity.

“I operate in the power sector, we are the biggest generator of electricity in Nigeria through Transcorp Power and I know first hand what efforts government is doing. But we need to do more, we need to convert gas to power, we need to compliment what is going on already in agric space and as you know, there is peace and prosperity in that sector, but we need to add a little zeal to it to be able to attract investors. “I think the elections are over and we need to move forward as a team and as a country, so that our people will be better for it.”

Source: The Guardian

IMF criticizes Nigeria govt over mismanagement of excess crude account

The International Monetary Fund has criticised the government of Nigeria for mismanaging the Excess Crude Account and not saving enough for the rainy day.

The Director, African Department at the IMF, Abebe Selassie , in an interview with Nigerian  journalists after presenting the regional economic outlook on the sub-Saharan Africa at the ongoing joint annual spring meetings with the World Bank in Washington DC, explained that though the country had done well with the Sovereign Wealth Funds managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, it decried the poor handling of the Excess Crude Account.

Selassie said, “There have been two Sovereign Wealth Funds in Nigeria. There has been the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. The NSIA has been run transparently and based on standard best practice and it has been doing a good job.

“The concern that we have is about the ECA, because if you recall that the ECA economically was set up to save resources when oil prices are high, and to be drawn on when oil prices are low. We do not think that the ECA has been doing effectively enough job that way.

“Because you see, when oil prices fell, the economy was very hard in the last couple of years, we feel like much better job could have been done, saving enough more in the ECA when oil prices were at $100 and $120 per barrel.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the ECA in 2004 to promote savings and every dollar above the annual oil benchmark was deposited in the account. The Obasanjo government built up the ECA to $20bn at the end of its tenure in 2007.

However, successive governments since after Obasanjo have grossly abused the ECA and treated it like a slush fund that could be spent by the President and the governors whenever they wanted.

For instance, the withdrawal of about $Ibn and another $496m from the ECA by President Muhammadu Buhari without the constitutionally required legislative appropriation sparked outrage from some states and opposition political parties recently. The funds were said to have been used to intensify the fight against Boko Haram and acquire military aircraft from the United States.

Using the management of the ECA as a basis, the IMF had ranked Nigeria second-worst performer on the Sovereign Wealth Funds user index only ahead of Qatar in the Fiscal Monitor report also released on Wednesday.

Though the IMF said the index was compiled using the corporate governance and transparency scores of the sovereign wealth funds and the size of assets as a percentage of 2016 GDP of the countries considered, Selassie clarified on Friday that IMF considered the ECA and not the fund managed by the NSIA (which was put at $2.15bn as of May 2018) to arrive at Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund ranking.

The IMF also urged Nigeria to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement noting that when completed, the trade deal would establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5tn.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to sign the AfCTA, saying the country could not afford to go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions.

Selassie said, “From our perspective, we think that the AfCTA will help the region integrate; it’s been the dream of our leaders dating back to independence days and we think that it’s a very important initiative and beyond politics, it will have a positive impact economically.

“Like all trade agreements, like all integration measures, there can be adverse effects but these can be identified and policies are introduced to address those. We have to look at the big picture. Coming to Nigeria specifically, we think that Nigeria will also benefit as the largest economy from joining the AfCTA and being a full participant of that. In my view, looking at how dynamic Nigeria is and looking at the business people Nigeria has, the wealth of talent and entrepreneurs that it has, I don’t think you have to fear anybody else in terms of competition.”

The Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, had on Thursday called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy, saying it was the right thing to do.

According to the IMF 2019 Article IV Consultation on Nigeria, phasing out implicit fuel subsidies while strengthening social safety nets to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable will help reduce the poverty gap and free up additional fiscal space in Nigeria.

Selassie, who reiterated the same position, noted that removing subsidy was important because the lion share of the benefit of the subsidy went to the rich people.

Source: Punch

Shenzhen joins top 5 most expensive cities for owning a home

Hong Kong has retained its title as the world’s most expensive urban centre to buy a home, while neighbouring Shenzhen, the tech of capital of China, has joined the ranks of the world’s five most expensive cities for the first time, according to a survey of 35 cities around the world by real estate consultant CBRE.

The average cost of owning a home in Hong Kong rose 5.5 per cent last year to HK$9.4 million (US$1.2 million), which translates to US$2,091 per square foot for a typical abode measuring 574 square feet (53 square metres), or about 40 per cent more than second-placed city Singapore, CBRE said.

READ ALSO: HISPANICS LEAD RECENT HOME OWNERSHIP SURGE IN U.S

Meanwhile, Shenzhen located across the Hong Kong border in southern China and home to some of the country’s biggest technology companies Huawei, ZTE and Tencent, ranked No 5 globally even as house prices contracted 0.1 per cent last year to an average US$680,283, or US$726 per square foot.

“Upon becoming a Special Economic Zone in 1980, the growth of Shenzhen has been unprecedented, with its population increasing to more than 12 million. It is now one of the world’s wealthiest cities,” CBRE said, adding that the city produced 90 per cent of the world’s electronic goods.

The survey findings underscore the challenge for Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, as affordable housing is a mainstay of her administration’s policies. She has proposed a vacancy tax to force developers to add more housing to the city’s supply, and enlarge the proportion of subsidised homes to help lower-income households.

“Last year, Hong Kong saw 17,790 private housing completions but this was not sufficient, given the current pressure on demand in relation to the size of the city and the limited land available,” CBRE said.

Hong Kong’s home prices rose 1.6 per cent in the first two months of 2019, after dropping by 9.2 per cent from August to December, according to data from the city’s Rating and Valuation Department. Property prices were bolstered by stock market rallies in Hong Kong and in mainland China, as well as the dovish stance on interest rates by monetary authorities in the US and in the city.

Hong Kong

Homebuyers came back in droves in March with 649 lived-in homes selling for more than HK$10 million each in March, almost double the number of transactions at that price point in February, according to Hong Kong Property, a local agent.

“We’ve seen home seekers eager to enter the market, even though some homeowners have raised prices,” said Richard Lee, CEO of Hong Kong Property. “It is hard to see home prices collapsing in the city, unless the global economy tumbles.”

Various surveys, studies and reports have placed Hong Kong as among the world’s three most expensive cities at least since 2015. CBRE’s study, which began in 2015, canvassed residential property prices from January to August last year, before Hong Kong’s real estate bull market faltered.

Shanghai, China’s largest commercial city, was in third place while Vancouver ranked fourth.

Shenzhen’s economy surpassed Hong Kong’s for the first time in 2018, growing by 7.6 per cent to 2.42 trillion yuan. Economic growth in Hong Kong rose by just 3 per cent to HK$2.85 trillion.

“Shenzhen has one of the highest expected GDP growth rates for 2019 of over 8 per cent and the population is set to continue growing. A shortage of residential land has led to an increase in urban housing estates, but housing completions last year totalled 41,731, lower than the average annual completions over the last decade,” said CBRE.

South China Morning Post

Court authorizes FIRS to sell companies’ properties towards tax clearance

An Abuja-based Federal High Court has ordered the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to sell two landed properties belonging to tax debtors.

The tax debtors, Tradecraft Nigeria Limited and Zaibadari Company Limited, together owe the Government a total of N35.9 million.

Specifically, Zaibadari Company Limitedis owing N18.8 million in tax debts, just as  Tradecraft Nigeria Limited is owingN17.1 million. Together, this amounts to N35.9 million.

It is, therefore, in a bid to recover this debt, that the Federal Inland Revenue Service sought and obtained the Federal High Court’s approval to sell the company’s properties.

They issued demand notices – The FIRS said it had issued demand notices to the two firms and given them 30 days to pay tax arrears. Both firms failed to to comply with the directive.

 Federal Inland Revenue Service

Both companies did not pay the tax arrears – And despite the Warrants of Distraint that was issued to the two companies, they both failed to pay the tax arrears.

The Courts response to this – On the 23rd of March 2019, Justice A. I Chikere said the following:

“DESPITE THE SERVICE OF PROCESS ON THE RESPONDENT’S COMPANY, IT REFUSED, NEGLECTED, AND FAILED TO STATE ITS SIDE OF THE CASE NOR HAVE COUNSEL APPEAR ON ITS BEHALF TO STATE ITS CASE. A PARTY WHO HAS OR HAS EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT ITS CASE BEFORE THE COURT AND WHO FAILS TO DO SO CANNOT BE HEARD TOO COMPLAIN.

“THE COURT IS BOUND TO BELIEVE THE AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF APPLICATION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE RESPONDENT IS A TAX EVADER AND IN DEFAULT OF ITS TAX OBLIGATION TO THE APPLICANT.”

Zaibadari’s landed property to be sold – Justice Chikere ordered for the sale of the company’s landed property located at plot 551, Wuye B03 FCT, Abuja. This will help cover up for its N18.8 million tax debt.

Tradecraft’s landed property to be sold – Justice Chikere also ordered for the sale of its property at at Plot 1151 Wuye B03 FCT, Abuja, to cover up its N17.1 million tax debt.

Source: Nairametrics

Inspection scores decline in US-funded housing for poor

Research inspection has shown that living conditions are deteriorating in taxpayer-funded apartments for the poor, but landlords can still count on payments from the federal government

According to an Associated Press analysis of federal data, inspection scores have been declining for years at apartments assigned to low-income tenants. Meanwhile, few owners face serious consequences.

Most failing inspections involved urgent health or safety violations, which can range from electrical hazards to rats.

READ ALSO: FHA TO BUILD LOW COST HOUSING UNITS IN STATES

 

 

inspection

Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest inspection failure rates for rent-subsidized private apartments since 1999. Maryland and the District of Columbia fared worst in public housing.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman Brian Sullivan says the agency is making inspections tougher, which lowers scores. He also acknowledges that older properties do not always get the repairs they need.

Source: News 1130

Ogun Builds Befitting Homes for Investors to Live in, Play, Thrive

The Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) has used modern engineering to beat a naturally treacherous terrain at Isheri North, off the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, where it built MTR Gardens, a sturdy high profile housing facility. The concept is to get people to invest in Ogun state, live, play and thrive there. Bennett Oghifo reports

This top-of-the-range MTR Gardens and others of its ilk like the Orange Valley Estate in Abeokuta, the mix-use New Makun City and the projects in Agbara Estate have put Ogun State ahead of others in housing delivery, thanks to OPIC, its private sector-driven housing development agency.

The whole idea is to provide homes for every class of people working in Ogun State, particularly now that most savvy business promoters are taking advantage of the investment-friendly environment in the state.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun knew the people being lured to work in the state would need homes and fast too. So, he chose a professional housing developer, Mr. Babajide Odusolu as his Special Adviser and made him the Managing Director of OPIC, and nearly eight years after, most of the homes are ready for habitation and, interestingly, without the state spending a kobo.

The first phase of the MTR Garden is ready and it has exquisite two and three bedroom flats, complete with BQ. Prospective buyers also have options of shell homes they can complete to their taste at their pace.

The estate holds 150 units of three bedroom apartments in 25 blocks; and 36 units of two bedroom flats in three blocks. The three-bedroom is on 176sqms while the two bedroom apartment is on 78sqms; good space within and outside for parking and recreation. Owners of three bedroom apartments have three parking spaces and the two bedroom apartments have two parking spaces.

There is water in the estate and it is good to drink because it is extracted 520 metres deep within the earth crust and it comes out hot and fresh. It is redistributed effortlessly using unbreakable pipes to reservoirs in each block.

Buying apartments in the estate has been made flexible with payment made in installment and buyers/owners can move in after achieving 50 per cent payment. There is mortgage for those who want to take that route. A two bedroom flat is N24 million and three bedroom N32 million and the shell of both hang low.

The Managing Director of OPIC, Babajide Odusolu said they had an elaborate plan of what they wanted to achieve when they stated about eight years ago. The MTR Garden, he said was a major statement and that it was conceived in 2015 when the community where it was built told the governor they wanted some sort of reprieve from the ugly environment and from those dark figures who take undue advantage of it.

The governor sent Odusolu to see what could be done and he came up with the possibility of having an MTR Garden estate there and the community could not understand when they were told what the government intended to do with the swamp. But now, the good part is that the estate is there, standing on dry ground.

Odusolu said the sludge that was in the swamp was excavated and the soil was replaced and stabilised, and to keep the land dry, a huge drain was constructed to transport water to the river close by.

They are building over 1.5 kilometers of road network in the neighbourhood to increase the value of their property and it has been successful, he said. “When we started this project, property values were around N20,000 per sqm and that is probably because of its closeness to Lagos, but now you’ll struggle to find a property of N100,000 per sqm here, and a large chunk of it is because we have brought a lot of infrastructure and modernisation that has changed the environment.

“The whole essence of MTR Gardens is to show the new face of Ogun State. The fact that the state is ready to compete favourably with the very best that Lagos State had to offer in quality living.”

They stated this development from Abeokuta, the state capital, with Orange Valley Estate and people wondered who was going to buy the high profile homes. “We did Orange Valley in 2013, 2014 and it was hugely successful, and we went to Agbara where we did a lot of road improvement, about 20 kilometre of road infrastructure/urban renewal mainly.”

He said they thought it was necessary to address the needs of a lot of people who work in multinationals and live in Ogun state, adding that they have been able to do this with MTR Gardens that “was designed to have almost the same scale of what you have in 1004 Estates in Victoria Island, Lagos, but without the stress and the pressures Lagos has.”

The estate is powered through the national grid, generators and will later have its own one megawatt IPP before the end of the year. The second phase will have 600 housing units and the third phase, which will be done concurrently with the second, will be a commercial city that has a mall and office block and it will be built at a strategic place where it can be used by even people outside the estate.

“We are creating this holistic community for people in businesses/factory owners in the state who have no business going to live in Victoria Island or Ikoyi or Ikeja GRA, but they go there because that is where they can get the quality of life that they want. Ours is to create that here so that when they come off the plane, they will take a leisurely 10-minute drive here (MTR Garden) and from here they can operate anywhere they want. We will have broad band internet service here also.”

Odusolu said some firms have offered to take the whole units in the estate for use by their staff, but that they refused because the idea was to have an inclusive community. “The vision was that we create the quality of life, because when you talk about the economy, you must understand that the economy is driven by people. If we do not build what people need, they don’t stay. We don’t just want people to come and invest in Ogun state, we want people to invest in Ogun, live in Ogun, play in Ogun and thrive in Ogun.”

Source: This Day

Estate agents arraigned for dishonestly selling property

The police on Tuesday arraigned two estate agents who dishonestly sold a a four-bedroom apartment for N3.5 million in an Ilorin Magistrates’ Court.

Ahmed Saka and Zubairu Olasunkanmi are charged with four counts of Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Breach of Trust, Cheating and Obtaining Property by false presences.

The Prosecutor, Insp Isaac Yakub, informed the court that the suspects sold the house to the complainant, Mr Femi Awolade, knowing full well that the property had already been auctioned by the order of a Kwara High Court.

Yakub alleged that the defendants handed over fake documents to the complainant after collecting the said amount from him with a view of cheat him.

He added that the defendants refused to refund the money paid for the house to the complainant after he discovered that they defrauded him.

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 97, 312, 322 and Section 1(3) of Advance fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.

After the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Wahab Saka admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 each and two sureties each in like sum.

He adjourned the case until April 22 for further mention.

Source: PM News

Chisco drags Oyelowo estate administrators to court over property

Chisco Transport Nigeria Limited has dragged the administrators of the estate of Chief Joseph Akanbi Oyelowo, Mr Oladuuni Oyelowo and Mr Olatunji Oyelowo before a Lagos High court, Igbosere over the property situated at no 6 Ikorodu road, Jibowu Yaba.

The claimant in the suit no LD/5324GCMW/18 asked the court to declare that Lagos State Government is the lawful owner of the property situated at no 6 Ikorodu road, Jibowu Yaba, which it has been a tenant for years.

Chisco stated that by the virtue of the revocation of Certificate of Occupancy in respect of the property, the proprietary rights is vested in the state government.

It therefore averred that defendant has no right in law to demand rent or exercise any legal right over the property.

Chisco wants the court to declare that claimant cannot forcibly eject or remove it from the said property, without following the due process of the law.

In their statement of defence, defendants denied every allegation in statement of claim. They said that the defendants are not the administrators of real estate of the late Chief J.A Oyelowo the owner of the property comprising five bedroom detached and service quarters the subject matter of the suit.

Defendants averred that claimant has been paying its rent severally and consequently since 1995 not 1996. They noted that Lagos government has never raised any adverse claim of interest of the ownership as against the interest of defendant in the property.

Justice O. Harrison while ruling on the preliminary objection held that the suit is competent. She said, “the court has read the claims and the writ of summons as well as the preliminary objection filed by the defendants. The defendants contend that court has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The court finds that there is no relationship between the Lagos state government and the defendants.
“The suit is competent, the preliminary objection is hereby dismissed.”

She subsequently adjourned to May 20, 2019 for case management conference.

Source: The Guardian

Itsekiri RDC Inaugurates Agric Farm, 52 Housing Projects

The Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (IRDC), a major community-driven development council under the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, has inaugurated an integrated Agric Farm at Tisun Community, Town Hall at Eghoro and 52 housing projects spread across at least 20 communities in Warri North as well as Warri South-West local government areas in Delta State.

Amb. Austine Oniyesan, Chairman of IRDC, speaking during inauguration of the projects, noted that Itsekiri RDC had been providing scholarship to students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions and job opportunities to a large number of persons as well as creating wealth through skill acquisition programmes to the people.

Oniyesan who commended the NNPC/Chevron JV for solely providing funds for the projects, disclosed that the next project circle of IRDC would commence very soon after necessary project needs assessment with the 23 Itsekiri communities under IRDC.              In an address, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), Chevron Nigeria Limited, quipped that the housing projects were in alignment with the 2030 target of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which says everyone should have access to adequate, safe and affordable housing as well as basic services.

The Chevron PGPA boss who was represented by Mr. Sam Daibo, the PGPA Area Manager, and Mr. Tony Emegere, PGPA Superintendent, revealed that CNL was working with the RDCs on the GMoU Plus Model with a view to facilitating continuous development in the communities by focusing on sustainable economic empowerment programmes and employment generation.      

                           

Brikinn said that between 2005 and 2018, the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, invested more than N20.6 billion on about 600 programmes that have provided scholarships, built new schools, medical facilities, housing and agricultural development infrastructure in communities where Chevron operates.                         

Source: Independent

Collaboration, New Tools and Real Innovation in Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry

People who believe Africa is truly rising share a similar conviction about the opportunities that abound, and the people’s willingness to harness those opportunities; which often come in the form of challenges. Of course, for great things to happen, the ingredients are often – a problem begging to be solved, someone willing to solve them and access to the right tools and resources to solve them. In Africa, the problems are many and so are the people – all burning with a desire to write their names in the sands of time.

In Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, there is an average of 1 entrepreneur in every group of 3 young people you meet; all of them striving daily to make their lives and those of people in their environment better. While their entrepreneurial friends in other continents seem to be tackling more advanced issues and going about their innovator journey differently, they and their colleagues back home are burdened with basic challenges like food, shelter, trade efficiencies and more.

For instance, while a population boom looms, a housing deficit looms as well, which implies that a large number of those yet unborn will be faced with homelessness or the inadequacies of the homes that exist.

One of the many gifts today’s innovators have is collaboration. Closely tied with collaboration is the gift of technology. Now more than ever people have the opportunity to learn and adapt efficiencies from anywhere in the world, taking learnings and improving them to suit the experience they want for their users. What this often means for users is that they get the best value for the best price, all thanks to technology and the opportunity to chart their own course, themselves. Let’s explain.

Six years ago, a Nigerian real estate firm opened shop in Nigeria’s capital, setting out to do things quite differently in the hope of solving the huge housing deficit that exists in the country. An easy option for them would’ve been to do real estate like everyone else, but they banked on technology and a collaborative approach to offer people real value for money. Despite the deficit that exists in Nigeria, there are a number of unoccupied homes in Nigeria, owing to the fact that they often don’t meet clients’ tastes or are too pricey for the basic things they offer. To be able to stand out, this real estate firm – Hall 7, gives to-be owners the opportunity to design their own homes, while they employ the very best tools to deliver those dream homes, with an extra techy touch.

In a short while, the firm has been able to deliver three massive projects that currently enjoy huge habitation and strong recommendations. One thing the firm takes pride in is the market it has created for affordable luxury homes. Nigeria has a growing middle class, and it is only smart that premium housing is made available within their financial reach. The way to do this, as Hall 7 has shown over the years, is to provide beautiful homes with usable tech, not pricey ones. The company has been able to clearly define what makes for premium housing and their offer of value over costs speaks to that definition.

Residents of her Bridge Peridot Apartments, one of its luxury projects, enjoy a daily reminder of the classy touch they paid for when they opted for a home there. Each time they step into their home, the lights glow up in a bid to announce their presence and welcome them to their haven. They go on to enjoy more automated responses from their home and the experience of your house being able to regulate itself and try to detect how to make you feel better never gets old and is only possible given how much technology inventions have evolved. As recipients of home automation glory, there are endless possibilities for Hall 7 homeowners, and as always with technology, future homeowners in any Hall 7 projects will find more useful to these tools that the firm has mastered.

Beyond the opportunity to create unique homes with brilliant finishing, new homeowners remain at an advantage considering the number of things which could be done today, that were impossible years back. Hall 7 has a Hexagon Courtyard as part of the Imperial Vista project, which spots two suspended floors, built with the best architectural calculations and complete quality assurance. Before these homes become brick and mortar, their owners get a chance to virtually tour them, have a feel of the future; and in less time than usual, hold their home keys or key cards in their hands. The seamless process and the chance to create these havens side by side with their owners is one reason for the wide acceptability and the continued fulfilled promise of value.

For the team at Hall 7, led by their CEO – Olayinka Braimoh, the future is really boundless and they can’t wait to create something new alongside their next homeowners.

By: Techcabal

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