Reporter

Affordable housing possible in Nigeria

It is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to get a step on the housing ladder. Available statistics on Nigeria’s housing deficit paint a grim picture; presents limitless opportunities.

Available data (for 2014) from the World Bank and the National Bureau of Statistics agree that Nigeria has an estimated housing deficit of over 17 million units.

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With a population of almost 180 million, according to data from the United Nations, an annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent (2015) and an annual urban population growth rate of 4.7 per cent, we need to stop talking and start building.

Nigeria’s abysmal ranking on the mortgage finance scale show that the several mortgage financing initiatives by successive governments in the country have failed. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s real estate market contributed only 6.82% to the real GDP down from 8.37%.

However, stakeholders agree that the country’s real estate growth is impressive; with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) projecting, in its report – ‘Real Estate: Building the future of Africa’, – that Nigeria’s real estate investment will rise by about 49%, from USD9.16 billion to USD13.65 billion in 2016.

Investors are impressed with the outlook and have made significant inroads in tapping into the opportunities presented by the country’s housing deficit. Housing is a basic human need as a first important level of need similar to food and drink; therefore, it is at the center of wellbeing, People must have food to eat, water to drink and a place to call home before they can think about anything else.

To encourage more of this type of investors, Nigeria’s policy makers need to ensure that access to long-term finance is guaranteed to enable investors attract consumers from the upper end of the market that play in the prime real estate sector. The gaps in government-run infrastructure would also need to be plugged to guarantee efficient urban development.

The government would also need to promote favorable macroeconomic policies which will in turn encourage private sector investors to partner with her in providing low-cost mass housing. These policies must result in low interest rates, stable exchange rates and low inflation to encourage investors move into mass housing projects and low-income earners move from rented housing to their own affordable mortgage-enabled homes The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) initiated the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to facilitate the provision of houses to Nigerians and bridge the housing deficit.

Many civil servants have benefited from the NHF scheme, although some are yet to benefit; people clamor for the review of the scheme. In order to broaden access to affordable housing and also solve the problem of prolonged processing time for mortgage loans, Platinum Mortgage Bank created a product called PLATINUM FASTTRACK MORTGAGE.

This product allows eligible Nigerians have access to their homes through mortgage within 48 hours of meeting the conditions. The procedure is simple. Any Nigerian above 21 years with a verifiable and regular source of income, a tax payer who meets all the condition of the loan which includes equity and repayment plan gets the key to a house of his choice in 48 hours. Platinum Mortgage Bank Ltd is a flagship in the banking and Mortgage sector; one of Nigeria’s leading primary Mortgage Institutions that met the CBN’s stipulated deadline for recapitalization and raised its authorized capital of five billion Naira.

Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited has been re-positioned to provide excellent home ownership products and has assisted numerous Nigerians in their quest for home ownership in various estates across Nigeria through the National housing fund as well as other mortgage loan windows of the bank. Powered by a visionary leadership, Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited is poised to provide your dream home through affordable mortgage backed housing schemes. We are implementing our corporate mission which is to improve the welfare of Nigerians through the provision of efficient stress-free and quality house delivery services at affordable cost.

Joseph is Head of Corporate Affairs, Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited, and is based in Abuja.

Sunday Joseph

Fresh concerns over physical development as States shun cities, towns master plan

These are not the best of times for town planning practice as most of the State governments have relegated the issues of cities and towns master planning to the background, and abused physical developments.The Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law of 1992 stipulated that every State should embark on preparation of physical development plans at regional, urban and local scales to guide the efficient growth of its settlements. But the reverse is the case as most of them have ignored it, leading to rapid manifestation of slum conditions.

Conference of Directors and Heads of Town Planning Organisations in Nigeria recently confirmed the development and decried the generally poor level of regulatory and institutional instruments that are available to support town planning practice in Nigeria, and observed that most settlements do not have physical development plans to guide their growth and where available their life periods have expired.

They had agreed that preparation and implementation of a mutually agreed National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) should be adopted as one of the tools for integrated physical planning and effective delivery of development benefits to the people of Nigeria.Most States are not adhering to the recommendations and have continued with business as usual. Attempts were made by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to bridge the gap.

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UN Habitat has worked with many states to prepare structure plans for major cities. “All the plans were prepared with strong public/ stakeholder participation to ensure that the priorities and needs of the residents are well understood and adequately provided for in the plans,” according to Kabir Yari, Manager, UN Habitat Support Office in Nigeria.

The agency assisted Anambra, Nasarawa, Osun, kogi, Niger States in the development and adoption of structural plans in major cities. For instance, Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi (Anambra); Lafia, Doma, Karu, Keffi (Nasarawa); Osogbo, Ikirun, Ila Orangun, Ilesa, Ile Ife, Ede, Iwo, Ikire and Ejigbo (Osun); Lokoja, Okenne, Kabba and Dekina (Kogi) a as well as integrated development plan for Minna and Suleja (Niger).

Preparation of urban profiles in ten urban centres, provision of three one-stop youth centres and urban upgrading in the old city of Katsina and formulation and adoption of 20-year Structure Plans in the three participating Cities (Umuahia, Aba, Ohafia in Abia State is still in preliminary stages.

Specifically, the town planners are worried that situation has degenerated. Yari who was a past President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) told The Guardian, “Lack of development plans for major urban areas means that the cities will grow in a haphazard and inefficient way. “This makes accessibility difficult, cause in efficient use of land resources and conversion of good agricultural development to urban development. In addition the urban form becomes locked, needing alot of resources to upgrade to planned settlement.

“It is always more cost effective and more efficient to plan in advance, ahead of development. This ensures the development of compact, connected and integrated settlements that are efficient and safe and pleasant to live in. It therefore strongly recommended that all urban areas should have physical development plans to guide their growth.”

According to him, the challenges are many. They include lack of appreciation of the importance of planning, dwindling financial resources for states and local governments and lack of implementing most of the plans already prepared.NITP second Vice President, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde said, “The moment there’s no balance in development as prescribed by the plan, there will be a tilt toward where development is taking place, which explains why migration takes place from rural to urban, from less developed states to more developed state.

He lamented that the policy makers are not paying attention to planning. “Policy makers and administrators often think that planning is about pieces of paper. What they do not realize is that dreams (of beautiful settlements) first start in the mind as a vision, then they are put on paper to test the feasibility. If you win on paper, you are likely to win on ground.

“A people get the kind of settlements that they deserve. It is necessary to underscore the high level of ignorance, even at the policy level, and that’s where the problem is. There is need for more awareness to put planning, especially physical planning in its rightful place. Organized cities are deliberate; they are not coincidences. It is planning that makes them organized.”

Collaborating the views, Abubakar Sani, a past President, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) revealed that only Abuja has and followed master plan for its physical development. “Even where attempts are made to have a master/structure plans, such plans are abused by the governments, only used as a tool to punish the opposition. Master plans are made to guide physical development but here in Nigeria, our leaders only call for master plan when problem arises. Master plans prevent foreseen problems not to cure problems.

“The master plan for Kaduna is obsolete, even though an attempt was made to renew it but it is not completed. Lack of master plan to guide physical development is like physical development through trial and error. Thereby leading to waste of resources, lives and properties. Town planners are trained to forecast challenges of physical development and provide guidelines for mitigating such challenges. However in Nigeria we just want to see physical development without preparing for it.”

Another town planner, and ATOPCON past President, Moses Ogunleye, lamented that the commitment to implement the master plans have not been there. “Even before it expires, less than 30 per cent of the proposals of the plans are not implemented.”

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The NITP Public Secretary, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru stated that the situation always affect physical planning as there is no instrument to control development, “it leads to development of blighted areas and non availability of basic infrastructure facilities and utilities.”

He called for political will among the administrators to produce and implement physical planning policies and plans; synergy between professional bodies like NITP and government agencies as well as public sensitization and stakeholders’ engagement on physical planning issues. Ashiru exonerated the town planners in the public service and link the problem to inadequate manpower, funding and bureaucracy. “They can only suggest to government on what to do and enforce it, they work in line with the government directives,” he added.

Guardian

Obaseki’s affordable housing: Emotan Gardens’ first phase of 86-units ready by year end – EDPA boss

 

In what has been described as a revolution in Edo State’s housing sector, the first set of homeowners in Governor Godwin Obaseki’s affordable housing project, Emotan Gardens, will move into their property at the end of the year.

Emotan Gardens Executive Chairman, Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), Isoken Omo, disclosed this in a chat with journalists and assured prospective buyers that 86 units of the houses, which constitute the first phase of the project, will be delivered before the end of 2018.

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She said, “Emotan Gardens is a 1, 800-unit gated housing estate which will be done in phases and clusters. The first phase is actually a show phase with about 86 units in it. When it is finished, people can live there. While they are living there, the other phases will be built. In the end, everything will be joined together to become a full estate.”

She explained that the construction of the 86 units is ongoing and assured that it will be ready at the end of the year, noting, “By then people will live there. There will be infrastructure and not just the houses will be ready. We will have roads, lawns, water and electricity there.” According to her, “The sales for the properties opened at the Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) convention, in Toronto, Canada. All the slots are available. Because it is being delivered in phases, it will work in two ways so that we will deliver on our promise. For example, if you don’t have all the money, and then deposit some amount and tell us when you want it ready, it gives us enough time to build up capital.”

On the first phase, Isoken explained, “We have different types. We have four 2-bedroom in a row; 3-bedroom row of houses, 2 and 3-bedroom semi-detached; 3-bedroom semi-detached; blocks of flats; 4-bedroom stand-alone bungalows, terrace houses, 3-bedroom with a maid quarters.

“We have commercial plots and residential plots. Within the commercial plot, we have shopping malls. Within the estate, we have made provision for school, hospital, police station and all those things you need in a community.”

Explaining that there is provision for those who want to build for themselves to buy plots of land, she said, “You can buy a plot of 450 sqm land or 900 sqm land. There is a design guide but it is not rigid. The guide is to ensure homogeneity.”

On the prices for the houses, Isoken said, “The house starts from N5.7 million for the cluster of 2-bedrooms and it goes up to N7m, N8m, N9m and so, according to the housing type. But N5.7m is the entry price. We expect 25 per cent down payment at expression of interest, and then you complete the necessary forms, including the Know Your Customer (KYC) form.

She explained that the KYC form is to “ensure the money is not laundered, and that it came from a clean channel. The onus is on us to check that to ensure we don’t fall foul of the laws. After this, we process the form, then you pay the deposit and we send you your Letter of Offer with terms of payment.

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“There are different payment options. We have outright purchase; 18-month payment plan for payment in tranches, and mortgage arrangement. We are looking at different mortgage options that people can tap into which will be affordable.”

Isoken assured prospective buyers that the model house and other houses on that row are nearly completed, while painting work is ongoing, adding, “The inside of the model house is ready. We are painting others on that row. Some are at the roofing stage, others are at the block stage. By December when we are ready to deliver, all of them will be ready. At the same time work is ongoing on the greenery.”

Flaws in Lagos homes scheme, Subscribers protest

 

Seven years after the Lagos Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) was mooted to encourage home ownership of First-Time Buyer (FTB) to purchase decent and affordable homes through the provision of accessible mortgage finance, the scheme seems to be in limbo.

The tale of woes associated with scheme are dotted all around the metropolis in terms of abandoned projects, left unattended to since three and half years ago. They include Michael Otedola estate, Odoragun, Igando, Gbagada, Ibeju-Lekki, Sangotedo and Agbowa-Ketu. Despite all the draws and certificates presentation ceremonies held for winners of various housing units under the scheme, there has been an increase in the number of people asking for refunds.

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One of the subscribers, said that after emerging winner and satisfied all basic requirements, including paying the initial deposits, he was finding it difficult to meet other financial requirements. Another allottee, expressed dissatisfaction with the scheme on the ground that, the government has reneged on its promise to hand them keys to their apartments, despite satisfying all necessary requirements, including the payment of the mandatory 30 per cent asset deposit.

But Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who inherited the scheme had in an attempt to address some of these issues and ease the tension of the recession slashed the price.For instance, the flat two-bedroom flat, which was N7.2 million was reduced to N3.5 million, while the one bedroom was reduced to N2.3 million. Also, the room and parlor unit was also reduced to N1.5 million,He also broke down the payment to a yearly payment. Later, he broke it down to a monthly payment scheme to allow residents apply for the scheme specifically when rent-to-own scheme , which commenced December 9, 2017.

Yet with additional 1, 000 additional housing units injected into the pool of housing units earlier provided by the state government, the houses were yet to be fully subscribed, even with the introduction of raffle and other strategies.Subscribers are apprehensive that they are yet to be given keys to their homes. Some of them, who spoke to The Guardian cited infrastructure challenges as many of the apartments are not ready. According to them, some of the estates may appear ready but their insides still lack basic home amenities.

But the Lagos Commissioner of Housing, Gbolahan Lawal said the issue of infrastructure is being sorted out as the governor has been briefed on the matter.According to him, there was an agreement at the inception of the scheme, by the then governor, Babatunde Fashola , who agreed to build a road and when it was not done residents of the nearby estates like in Otedola took the state to court but the matter was resolved amicably out of court.

The commissioner assured prospective home-owners that they will celebrate the next Christmas in their new homes, saying allocation of the houses will start in October.On the Rent-to-Own Housing Policy, Lawal said the state government had shortlisted some would-be beneficiaries , while Lagos Mortgage Board was working on perfecting their documents.

Meanwhile, the State’s Building Control Agency in collaboration with the Physical Planning Permit Authority and the Ministry of Information and Strategy have issued 150 fresh notices to private developers in Oyingbo area, urging them to regularise their building approval permits. The exercise was a continuation of the programme started earlier in the year, which aimed to inform owners of converted buildings and those without planning approvals to apply for permits to make them legitimate and legal.

In the last six months about 6,000 building owners have obtained their permits and there are plans to capture seven thousands registered permits by the end of the year.Speaking to residents on the importance of voluntary compliance with the physical planning regulations in the state, the General Manager of LASPPPA, Osifuye Olufunmilayo said, “It is good for building owners to get legitimate building plan on one hand and to also ascertain the structural stability of their buildings.

“Through that, we will be able to advise them on what they need to do in compliance with the provisions of the law that every building in Lagos state must be covered with approved building plan and for government to have confidence that all buildings in the state are structurally fit. We are happy that in the past one year, we have recorded zero building collapse in the state and our plan is to totally eradicate building collapse”. He explained that after the sensitization, owners of the buildings are expected to visit the agency and effect compliance.

“We are sensitising them because we don’t want to jump on any sector or part of Lagos state without prior information/ benefits owners of buildings would derive from getting approvals and improve the values of those lands when they want to transfer the title to another person. Through the exercise also we believed that it would help government to build an updated database for development.

“We will give both new and old building owners certain window but if they failed to show up, the enforcement will begin. Since government is the guidance of the environment, if they failed to comply, the buildings could be sealed. Some of them don’t know that floods could also affect their buildings and so we intend to educate them on this and the need to guide against it”.

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On the dynamics of the city, he said areas that are hitherto residential have transformed to commercial adding that in respect of the situation, some of the physical planning laws have be changed to mixed-use corridors.“People with former approvals for residential who have changed to commercial must come and regularize for the mixed-use zoning in respect of residential or residential and commercial to fill in the gap on the zoning for that corridor. There will also be the need for owners to do non destructive test to determine the structural stability of the building and its ability to withstand additional floors if you are adding”.

The Public relations officer for LASBCA, Titi Ajirotutu said the regularisation exercise started from the Opebi/Allen areas of Lagos with stiff opposition from residents. However, she explained that the people have however realized the importance of the exercise as reflected in the level of cooperation given to the regulatory agencies.

Real Estate growth constricted by economic uncertainties

 

Recent findings have shown that uncertainties in Nigerian economy are squeezing real estate sector as many housing developments have being put on hold.
Investigation showed that most of the top office and commercial developments scheduled for completion in Nigerian cities of Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt before the end of the year might not come to fruition due to paucity of funds, anti-graft war and consumers’ low purchasing power.
Survey also revealed high level of occupancy rates in already completed real estate’s offices and commercial projects, especially in Lagos and Abuja.

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According to the Principal Partner, Ubosi Eleh and Company, an estate surveying and valuation firm, Mr. Chudi Ubosi, the totality of the environment was not conducive for real estate investments.
He stressed that uncertainty and instability in the economy/ polity have further impacted negatively on real estate businesses/developments.

He pointed out that despite all the positive statistics sent by government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, the economy is still in recession and even contracting.
The unimpressive economic situations, Ubosi said have prompted developers/investors to put their real estate projects on hold.

According to Ubosi, uncertainty and instability in the real estate sector and the general economy were further worsened by the unguarded utterances and intentions of politicians as 2019 elections begin in next five months.
He said: “In an economy like this when businesses are not certain, when business are not expanding, when investors are not coming as expected as we head towards general elections in next five months, on-going projects have to be put on hold.
“This is impacting on developments of real estate.”

Also, analysts from Bismark Rewane-led Financial Derivative Company (FDC) said that lower reduction in private consumption and the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war have squeezed real estate sector’s growth in the last eight months.

According to the analysts, real estate sector has been feeling the pinch of lower private consumption and anti-corruption sweep, leading to delay in activities and growth in the industry.
They pointed out that lag between economic recovery and market recovery would still delay growth in the sector despite certain recovery in some areas.

Corroborating the analysts, Principal Partner, Kola Akomolede and Company, blamed government’s anti-corruption campaign and whistle-blowing policy, which, he said, led to evacuation, locking up and labelling of several properties as proceeds of corruption for high number of vacant properties in Lagos and Abuja.

Also, a report from Northcourt Real Estate, noted that government’s anti-corruption campaign and whistle-blowing policy have created significant paranoia in high-brow locations.
The analysts noted that despite various efforts to rejig the sector, the industry contracted by -3.88 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to -9.4 per cent in the first quarter.

On major trends in the property market, they said there has been slight improvement in vacancy rates in Lagos, noting that Yaba, Surulere and Magodo Phase II have recorded three per cent, four per cent and five per cent improvements respectively in vacancy rates.
This is not the same with major highbrow areas such as Victoria Island, Oniru, Lekki and Ikoyi with 35 per cent, 37 per cent, 39 per cent and 40 per cent rates of vacancy in residential property.

In the residential segment of the property market, the analysts noted that affordability still remained a key issue despite improved design and finishing features.

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In the commercial segment, Grade-A office vacancy rates still remain high. Currently, average rent for the new commercial development still oscillated between $600 and $700 per square metre

According to analysts, take-up rate for these properties remained very low with landlords continuing to throw in sweeteners to attract and keep tenants. They stated that tenants and prospective tenants on the other hand would drive very hard bargains and have the upper hand in negotiations for obvious reasons.

Dayo Ayeyemi

Ogun battles for Kemi Adeosun’s replacement

 

The race for the immediate past Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun’s replacement has begun in Ogun State.
Adeosun’s resignation has created a vacuum in Federal Executive Council (FEC), which is expected to be filled by another person from her home state.
Each state of the federation has a statutory representative in the FEC.
Reports reaching us that the former Lagos Commissioner for Finance, Wale Edun and the Chairman of Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bode Mustapha who were top contenders for the ministerial appointment in 2015 may succeed Adeosun who got the job, thanks to Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s backing.

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It would also be recalled that the trio Edun, Mustapha and Adeosun were backed by different political forces during the battle for the ministerial job amid high-wire permutations and powerplay.
Informed sources said Edun was supported by former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, Mustapha was the candidate of Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo while Amosun influenced the choice of Adeosun, who had served in his cabinet as Commissioner for Finance in the first term.
As at the time Adeosun’s name was sent for the ministerial appointment, she had equally been re-nominated as commissioner for finance in the state.

Amosun settled for Adeosun, who is seen as a technocrat as against Edun and Mustapha who are politicians and would likely turn against him, an insider said.
Mustapha who was the Director General of Amosun Campaign Organisation in 2015, believed he ought to have been supported by Amosun, a development which made him fell apart with the governor.
An impeccable source said Edun or Mustapha may be considered as likely replacement for Adeosun, even though, he pointed out that Amosun, like in 2015, may constitute a huge obstackle.
The source noted Buhari may not conceed the ministerial appointment to Amosun this time around “because this is election year and he may want to appease some aggrieved party. The President is not obliged to pick any of them because he has the prerogative to choose anybody.”
“And it maybe pick another person entirely,” the source said.

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Responding to a question on whether Amosun can have his way this time around, “Don’t forget this is an election year. The President may use the ministerial appointment to settle some aggrieved party members. Another thing is that the President may not post whoever emerges to the Ministry of Finance.
“His support is not limited to Amosun alone. More so that the governor is no longer enjoying much support because of some crisis in the ruling party in the state over the consensus arrangement which he has adopted,” the source said.

The State Publicity Secretary of APC, Wole Elegbede declined comment, when contacted saying “those in government are in the best position to comment on the issue.”
On his part, the State Commissioner for Information, Dayo Adeneye responded to a phone call from a noisy environment which he claimed to be a funeral.

Peter Moses

It’s Official: Adeosun hands over to Perm Sec

Kemi Adeosun, the embattled minister of Finance, has finally handed over to the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mahmoud Isa Dutse.

It was reliably gathered that the former minister spent 12 hours in her office on Friday to reconcile documents and prepare handover note.

“She has been in office today since 9am. She hosted Head of Service today and some other visitors who came for solidarity visit. As I speak to you, she is still in office.

“Truly the atmosphere tells you all is not well, but we are surprised to see her in office discharging her duties,” said a source at the ministry.

According to the source, what appears unusual was the minister’s absence at this week’s Federal Executive Council Meeting at the State House.

“What is strange to us was her absence at FEC meeting on Wednesday. She chose to remain at home and receive visitors.

“Governors of Kebbi and Zamfara were all her residence on Wednesday. She came to office the following and today. The governor of Kebbi returned on Thursday and spent three hours in her office,” said the source.

The 51-year-old former minister is reported to have resigned following pressure arising from her questionable NYSC discharge certificate.

In November 2015, Adeosun was appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Finance by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Ms Adeosun was born in 1967 in London, England to Nigerian parents from Ogun State.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of East London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Financial Management from the University of London.

She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1994 and she was qualified for NYSC exemption on return to Nigeria after clocking above 30 years of age.

The story has been out there that Adeosun forged her National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, discharge certificate.

Although she was above 30 when she returned to Nigeria, she was not qualified to obtain an exemption because she got her first degree when she was in her 20s.

The fake exemption certificate that she obtained through a third party was what caused her fall.

She initially ignored the forgery report, but her handlers later explained that she was not guilty.

They painted those digging into the story as mischief-makers who wanted to pull down a woman of substance.

The NYSC headquarters also came up with a terse statement that she indeed applied for an exemption and that it was looking into the matter.

Some citizens had dragged her to the Federal High Court in Abuja which has fixed October 8 to hear the suit asking it to sack her from office.

The Chief Judge of the high court, Abdul Abdu-Kafarati, assigned the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/712/2018, to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu for expeditious hearing.

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The suit was filed by Francis Obalim, a lawyer who approached the court, praying for an order quashing and setting aside Mrs. Adeosun’s appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Her appointment, he said, circumvented the condition precedent and in contravention of mandatory Sections 12, 13 and 14 of the NYSC Act which is an integral part of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Unini Chioma

“You Can Enjoy Rental Income without Owning a Property”

Founder of Africa’s Property Investment Group, Mr. Chudi Kalu, in this interview with Mary Ekah, speaks about investing in the real estate business as the surest way to building and securing one’s future, providing insights and latest money-making tips in the property market in Africa, among other issues

How would you describe Nigerians attitude towards investment in real estate?

So far we have realised that people fear that the recession in the nation will stop them from investing in property. But that is not the case because a lot of people are already taking advantage of real estate investment because they know that the way to come out of any form of recession is when they enjoy consistent cash flow. So a lot of people are investing in real estate at this particular time.

That is why we have been holding a lot of seminars and workshops lately aimed at opening the minds of investors to how they can change their financial levels for better by investing in real estate, the opportunities that are available to people and how ordinary individuals can take advantage of the investment opportunities available within the real estate sector without having to break the bank. And I think that for real estate industry to grow in Nigeria and for property business in Nigeria to be activated properly, investors should come in; and we cannot always expect foreigners to invest in real estate in Nigeria, we the local people should take advantage of the opportunities around us.

You have had series of conferences and workshops on real estate lately, what is the driving force behind all these?

We at AFPING are trying to give everyone an opportunity to invest in high quality real estate investment. Presently we have projects in Surulere, Yaba, Ijesha amongst other areas in Lagos and elsewhere. We also have some UK projects that we are pursuing at the moment. Anybody can take advantage of these opportunities and you don’t necessarily have to live in the UK to invest in the UK. To this end, we have been doing a lot of coaching on real estate investment and how people can take advantage of the rental market. We are particularly focused on educating people on how they can enjoy rental income without owing a property of your own.

People keep wondering if this is possible. It is actually very possible if you understand how it works. Now because of the challenge of buying property in certain areas, a lot of people have lost money because of “Omo onile” and they bought property expecting that some of those property will appreciate but after 10 years, they probably do not know where the location of that property is and at the end they would realise that they must have been duped. So it is better to play within a particular market where you can easily take advantage of. Now how do you participate in the Lagos market for example without getting your hands burned? At least we can see the population.

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When I see the Lagos traffic, I get so excited and then some people wonder why I am so. I feel so because as long as there are people within town, rent will continue to go up. And what drives rental income for landlords is the number of people that lives in a particular area. And how do I as an individual participate in that game without actually owning a house is what we have been able to figure out at these seminars and workshops. When you go round that, you see a lot of property that are empty and also property that the landlords do not have the required funds to put them in good shapes because they probably do not have a regular income and yet the property is within a good location.

All one needs to do is to invest in such property and renovate for better rental charges while both the landlord and investor share the profits. So, as an investor, you do not have to buy the property to share in the profits, All you need to do is just to invest some money for its renovation and then in return get huge rental income. That is what we coach people on during the seminars and workshops that we have been holding lately and you don’t have to be an expert in the industry before you can earn rental income but all you need is to have a little fund on ground.

According to statistics, we have 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria and if every household pays a hundred thousand naira from the 17 million housing deficit that we have in this country that will be more than 17 billion naira annually. So I would say that the deficit we are facing in the housing sector is an opportunity and not a curse.

And it is those people who see the opportunity within that market that would take advantage of it. If they say we have about 17 million housing deficit, what it simply means is that you have 17 million families who are ready to pay only for kind of houses they can afford, so that means that if anybody has the houses that fit their needs, they would be willing to pay. So the deficit is an opportunity for only those that see it as a business opportunity and can then thrive on it.

So it is a missed opportunity for me if I do not invest in such market. So real estate is a big market not just for the developers but also for people who can see opportunity in that area and grab it and this can only be achieved when I use my money to do renovations on some of these properties on ground.

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Many people have properties but they are still poor merely because they are not thinking creatively nor taking advantage of the immense problem of housing deficit and then convert that problem to their own advantage; and that is what our seminars and workshops are all about. We are trying to teach people how they can take advantage of the housing problem in Nigeria. Every problem is clothed with opportunity and how you take advantage of that opportunity is what this is all about.

How would the common man who could hardly save the miniature income earn benefit from this?

There is a scheme we have been doing for over four years now, where by certain people can put funds together to own high quality real estate investments. For example, there is a particular project somewhere in Ikeja that requires about N22 million. Now, if I come together with like 10 other people and together we raise N22 million, we all can buy and renovate that particular property and start enjoying cash flow from it. It simply means that 11 of us will share the profit based on the returns we get per year. That is what we are currently offering people right now, taking it to the market place, so that people can take advantage. We have already people buying into the idea and investing in real estate.

This also means that if I want to invest in a property in Lekki, I don’t need to have all the money for the property to invest in it, but it simply gives me an opportunity to invest in high quality real estate investment that may take me so many years of savings to be able to invest. So, we don’t just want to make opportunity for only those who can afford to buy plots of lands to make money, we also want those who have little means to also be able to invest in properties and make money. Why is it that it is easier for plumbers to own houses while a banker remains a tenant for a very long time? This is so because the plumber is thinking in terms of cash flow while the banker is thinking in terms of building and owning and so he waits for so long till he is able to save a huge amount to buy or build a house.

This is information that people in this sector may hardly want to give out so freely. So why and how are you doing this?

I have been using every platform available to me. I have been using the social media a lot to create awareness and I have been crazy about it and I know a lot of people that have taken this raw information and duplicate it for their own benefits and presently are having numerous properties around town.

This is to tell you that this actually works. It is better we cover this nation with success than preventing people from being successful because a lot of people have success but hide the secret of their success from others. The real estate market is too wide for me to hide anything. We have over 17 million people having housing problems in Nigeria; even I alone cannot serve half a million people. The market is too wide so there is no need for competition.

We hold seminars regularly on this. We just concluded one last week called the Rental Income Plan. It is all about helping people to understand how they can do these things on their own. People can be part of this by registering on our website, www.afping.com. We are thinking of holding these conferences at least once in two months, where we gather people in a class to learn. They don’t have to be real estate experts but those who are ready to take the opportunity in the real estate sector.

Husband and wives can also take advantage of this. We also do one-on-one training, leading people by their hand and helping them to explore the real estate market. And if someone says he doesn’t have the time because he has a regular job, then he/she can invest with us and grow with us. And investing in real estate is predictable, tangible and indestructible. That is why I am inviting everybody to do it and you don’t necessarily have to invest with me, you can do it on your own. I started doing this when I didn’t even have full information about the sector but for the fact that I had opportunities. So those whose eyes are opened to opportunities can take advantage of the real estate market.

How do you guarantee security for such investments and is the training free of charge?

Some amount of money is attached to the trainings because we bring in experts to coach these people. And the training one gets involved in also determines the amount one pays. When it is a class, that is a group of people, we give discounts. So the fee ranges from 50,000-750,000 naira depending on which class you want to attend. We also do executive class whereby after the class, you can pick a particular property and we would guide you by the hand, that means that we would follow you to where the property is, secure the property, negotiate the deal with the property owner and then show you by example how we do it.

And talking about security, we have, in the last seven years, been privileged to have sold more than 2,000 plots of lands; so what we do is that the same way we secure people’s property is also the same way we secure people’s investments. So you are not investing into any real estate project that is not insured. We are working with several insurance companies to ensure that people’s investments are secured and that they do not lose their investments in case of negligence on the part of the developers. So that is one of the ways we are guarding against people experiencing loss in their investments.

This Day

We need more flexible housing for 21st-century lives

The Great Australian Dream, underpinned by private home ownership, is a concept from the 19th and 20th centuries. Our housing stock was, and continues to be, designed and built for people who lived in previous centuries. The result is housing that discriminates and excludes, and that is becoming increasingly unaffordable. We need 21st-century housing that responds to the needs of 21st-century living.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report on 21st-century housing careers points to factors that are unique to 21st-century lives and which have direct  impacts on housing. The greatest of these impacts is the risk society, a term originally defined by sociologist Ulrich Beck. As the AHURI report observes:

Change within economic and social structures has eroded the certainties of the previous Fordist or industrial society and resulted in a process of “individualisation” where individuals and households are increasingly confronted by the risks – and opportunities – of a rapidly changing social and economic environment.

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These risks come in many forms: limited opportunities for ongoing employment, an ageing population and the uncertainty of old age, or separation and divorce from a partner. All these factors can significantly alter housing circumstances.

Without digging too deeply into the literature on Australian housing in the 21st century, it seems obvious that workforce casualisation and the gig economy are incompatible with 30-year bank loans for a fixed asset such as a house. Existing approaches to housing, from apartments to detached dwellings, are too inflexible. Instead, we need options for housing that are more flexible and can accommodate the risks associated with 21st-century living.

This might go some way to explaining the popularity of the Tiny House Movement. Tiny houses provide the flexibility required in 21st-century lives. They are mobile, can be packed away and stored, and are assets that can be liquidated much more easily than a house.

However, small living is not for everyone. There are design-led solutions for flexible housing that don’t require people to move into cramped quarters.

Two examples of flexible housing can be found in Brisbane.

One Room Tower (2017) in West End, designed by Phorm architecture + design with Silvia Micheli and Antony Moulis, is an addition to an existing inner-city house. Instead of adding to the house in the traditional manner, One Room Tower is a detached pavilion carefully designed with an open layout. The extra space can be adapted to provide many different uses to suit the needs of its inhabitants.

This innovative design, which provides much-needed flexibility, recently won a Queensland Architecture Award.

Another example is in the suburb of Clayfield. Two Pavilion House (2014) was designed by Kirsty Volz and David Toussaint. The house is split into two pavilions joined by a communal outdoor space and an internal courtyard.

This design provides flexible modes of occupation: it can be occupied as a single detached three-bedroom dwelling, or as a two-bedroom house with a self-contained bedsit. The result is a house that can be occupied by a multigenerational family, provide rental income, incorporate a home office, or a second living area.

It’s not just room layouts that provide the flexibility in these houses. They require careful consideration in the design process to develop. Things to be considered include: the sequences of access (entering and leaving a house and/or room); the adjacencies of rooms, so as to maintain privacy, security and adequate fire separation; and the provision of services such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, some of which can be shared.

Both of these houses provide for flexible living arrangements while still complying with the requirements of building regulations.

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A growing number of housing solutions are meeting the need for multigenerational housing, providing accommodation for ageing parents or adult children. Granny flats are a good example.

However, some of these solutions do not meet building regulations. It is a concern if these houses fail to provide adequate health and safety, fire separation, or security to protect belongings. Carefully designed, fit-for-purpose dwellings that safely provide options for multiple and varied occupancies are needed.

It is also time for some local authorities to re-evaluate regulations, and consider how these might safely match the need for flexible and adaptable accommodation.

Flexible, “loose fit” housing will provide greater diversity in accommodation. And, by doing so, it will be more inclusive of a broader cross-section of society – diverse housing for a diverse society.

Flexible housing also has the potential to be a design-led solution to housing affordability, by adapting housing to suit the needs of everyone in the risk society.

Existing housing stock is designed around the numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms that appeal to the market and so fails to be responsive to what people need from housing in the 21st century.

Kirsty Volz

Home Mortgage

Home Mortgage is a loan given by a bank, mortgage company or other financial institution for the purchase of a primary or investment residence. In a home mortgage, the owner of the property (the borrower) transfers the title to the lender on the condition that the title will be transferred back to the owner once the payment has been made and other terms of the mortgage have been met.

A home mortgage will have either a fixed or floating interest rate, which is paid monthly along with a contribution to the principal loan amount. As the homeowner pays down the principal over time, the interest is calculated on a smaller base so that future mortgage payments apply more towards principal reduction as opposed to just paying the interest charges. In order to estimate the total cost of your monthly mortgage payments, it’s beneficial to use an online mortgage calculator.

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Home mortgages allow a much broader group of citizens the chance to own real estate, as the entire sum of the house doesn’t have to be provided up front. But because the lender actually holds the title for as long as the mortgage is in effect, they have the right to foreclose the home (sell it on the open market) if the borrower can’t make the payments.

A home mortgage is one of the most common forms of debt, and it is also one of the most advised. Mortgage loans come with lower interest rates than almost any other kind of debt an individual consumer can find.

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Home mortgages range from 10 to 30 years and the two main types of home mortgage loans are fixed rate and adjustable rate. In a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate and the periodic payment are generally the same each period. In an adjustable-rate home mortgage, the interest rate and periodic payment vary. Interest rates on adjustable-rate home mortgages are generally lower than fixed-rate home mortgages because the borrower bears the risk of an increase in interest rates.

To obtain a mortgage, the person seeking the loan must submit an application and information about his or her financial history to a lender, which is done to show the lender that the borrower is capable of repaying the loan. Sometimes, borrowers look to a mortgage broker for help in choosing a lender. When the borrower and the lender agree on the terms of the home mortgage, the lender puts a lien on the home as collateral for the loan. This means that if the borrower defaults on the mortgage, the lender may take possession of the house, which is called foreclosure.

Investopedia

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