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BUILDING COLLAPSE IN NIGERIA: CAUSES & REMEDY

 

The spates of building collapse in Nigeria in the past years have assumed a very worrisome dimension as many lives are lost and huge investments wasted. A building, once properly constructed is expected to be in use for a very long time. Although every society has its own problems and Nigeria is not an exception yet the very recent challenges of buildings collapsing in various locations have been giving the various arms of government and the people of Nigeria sleepless nights in view of the enormous loss of huge investments in housing.

In Recent times, Nigeria has witnessed issues of building collapse resulting in death of hundreds of its citizens. Most prominent of these include the Jabi Building Collapse of August 17th, The Synagogue Church of all nation guest house collapse of September 2014 and the Reigners Bible Church building collapse at Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria amongst many others with a combined death of over 300.

Below are some underlining and avoidable causes of these saddening occurrences which if properly taken into consideration can bring about a stop to this menace.

1. Structural Design Handled by quacks
Building designs are usually handled by qualified structural engineers who are normally trained and certified by relevant professional bodies like NISE and COREN. This is a fundamental aspect of every building and construction process. Absence of these means a lot can go wrong from the very beginning and cause structural damages that can lead to loss of life and other un-intended consequences.

2. Absence of Soil Test
The importance of soil test in any building and construction activity cannot be over emphasized. Soil test enables the builders to determine soil strata, foundation type and where to lay the foundation for the building proper.
Places like Lagos has swampy grounds and many estates are built on recovered grounds. These means that the foundation of such buildings needs to be strong and carried out after a proper soil test. Absence of this has led to many avoidable building collapses that we have witnessed in this part of the world in recent times.

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3. Lack of adherence to building specification by personnel
Every building and construction project has sets of design specifications that professionals ought to adhere to. Some of these design specifications includes Architectural Design, Mechanical and Engineering Design, Structural Design and the Survey plan. Adhering to the specifications contained within these documents will ensure that the building comes out exactly the way it should and is not subjected to abuse by future builders.

4. The use of sub-standard building materials
This is a very important factor which is all about actual implementation of all that is contained within the building and construction design documents. The lure of shortcuts and greed to make quick gains, has lead to the rise in the use of sub-standard building materials by building contractors which has contributed to a great extent, in re-occurrence of building collapses in recent times. This can be checkmated through the implementation of proper quality control by project site supervisors.


5. Professional Negligence
By professionals we refer to the builders, the town planers, the estate surveyors, the architect, the engineers, the quantity surveyors and all who are trained and directly involved in the entire construction process. Professional negligence hinders work progress, causes improper documentation, non-compliance to all necessary requirement and ultimately compromises standards.

A scenario where the design and materials needed for the projects are all in place but the workers find’s themselves making one mistake to the other due to absent of trained /skilled professionals and lack of synergy between all involved in carrying out the building process depicts a good example of professional negligence.

Synergy between building professionals is very vital as it will bring to reality the ideas of the client. It will also ensure proper checks and balances required to carry out proper work and that workers in the lower end of the construction process use the right materials and in the right ways.

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6. Bad Construction practices
All that we have listed above so far, amounts to bad construction practices it now left for Building professionals to adhere to the standards of the industry and for the industry regulators to do their job, in ensuring that every building and construction projects in this part of world, follows all the rules within its book. Doing this will not only ensure we all live in safety, but save the nation of needless and preventable lost of life’s that we witness on a daily basis in this part of the world.

Commissioning 200 Housing Units for IDPs in North East – Dangote Foundation

 

In another rare gesture from a private sector operator to help government in the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in parts of the insurgency ravaged areas in the North East, the Aliko Dangote Foundation has concluded preparation to commission a multi-billion naira housing estate

The commissioning of the 200 housing units for IDPs in Borno according to the CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou is coming even as the Foundation has also completed the construction of a state-of-the-art hostel in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

The 10 block of hostel has the capacity to accommodate 1,440 students conveniently.

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Youssoufou who made the disclosure at an event in Maiduguri, Borno state stated that the housing units is one of the many critical interventions the Foundation had mapped out for execution in the North Eastern part of Nigeria to restore life to the area and help IDPs live a normal life again.

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State while reacting to this development said Dangote is the single largest benefactor of the IDPs after the Federal and state governments.

The Governor stated tha Dangote’s contribution does not only stop at feeding and clothing the IDPs which he has been doing over the years, it also stretches to resettling and rehabilitating them, a feat no other private organization has been able to match.

Just recently the Aliko Dangote Foundation flagged off its 2018 Ramadan Food distribution in the state with the distribution of food items worth N150 million to some 200 households from Dalori Community in the state. The items include: Rice, Sugar, Salt, Spaghetti, Semolina, Wheat Meal, Maize and Millet.

On the 10 blocks of hostel constructed for the ABU, the Group Executive Director, Stakeholders Management and Corporate Communication of the Dangote Group, Engr. Ahmed Mansur, said the Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the Foundation was not resting on his oars, as he plans to up his stakes in the act of philanthropy.

Engr. Mansur said no date has yet been fixed for the commissioning of the newly built 10-blocks of hostel and that they have and would
continue to contribute enormously to the educational sector in Nigeria.

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He quoted Dangote as saying that Dangote Group had spent well over N4 billion in building classrooms, scholarship programmes and upgrading infrastructure across various University among others.

“We have just recently commissioned the Dangote Business School in Kano, the only Business School in Nigeria that is well equipped. We will also be commissioning similar projects in University of Ibadan, we have done quite a lot in the education system and we are looking to do more.

“Investing in the young people to us means, we are all working together to build a better Nigeria. In equipping Nigeria youths and prepare them for the 21st century challenges, we established the Dangote Academy in Kogi State, which provide specialized training and management skills for the youths particularly considering the large man power needed in the manufacturing industries,” he said.

He added: “Our ultimate goal is to promote rapid industrialization of Nigeria, using our own local talents.”

National President of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association, Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora who expressed gratitude for the students’ accommodation further described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a ‘dedicated philanthropist.’

He said the intervention by the Foundation was crucial and timely as the University’s infrastructure was already overstretched.

It would be recalled that only recently, the Foundation donated a well-equipped secondary school valued at N120 million in Lagos.

The Foundation donated a World Class Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano, while building another one in the University of Ibadan, which is due for commissioning too.

Funding was also provided for the construction of a 500 capacity student hostel complex of the University of Science and Technology, Wudil in Kano.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation has instituted several scholarship schemes in its business units across Nigeria. Only last week, the Foundation donated 150 fully equipped patrol cars to the Nigeria Police to aid in combating crimes.

Mr. Dangote had said that the motivation behind his public spirit gesture was because he does not only want to be “known as the Africa’s Richest Man, but the biggest African philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.”

Victor Okeh

Family Homes Fund drives affordable housing with 500,000 Houses

 

Family Homes Funds, the largest affordable housing focused fund in sub-Saharan Africa – a collaborative fund chartered by the Federal Ministry of Finance Inc and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, has launched a recruitment campaign through international recruitment firm, Price WaterHouse Coopers. Boasting a projected capital base of N1 trillion by 2023, the primary objective of the fund is to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians within the low to medium income bracket.

At the core of this incandescent partnership is the visionary objective to support the delivery of over 500,000 homes, parallely fulfilling an underlying 1.5 million jobs creation target. Hence, the launch of an extensive recruitment campaign designed to secure high cadre human capacity to ensure optimum quality and on-schedule delivery of the affordable housing programme, one of the critical areas of the social intervention programme activated by the Nigerian Government.

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Family Homes Funds has taken proactive steps to meeting its affordable homes target by delivering 400 housing units in Grand Luvu, Nasarawa state at a competitive rate of N3.5million only; a major partnership milestone which satisfies 10% of homes presently under construction across Ogun, Kano, Delta, Nasarawa and Kaduna states. In addition, the fund is in concluding parts of negotiation talks with development partners to kickoff construction of 30,000 homes by November.

The fund envisages human capacity gaps in tandem with construction growth, imperative to fulfilling an earmarked 8000 homes by December 2018. With over 13,000 created jobs through concurrent constructions and an estimated 360,000 more in the coming year, the project has met with success at its infantile stage.

The Grand Luvu project, a supplier of 8000 of these jobs has seen the employment of graduates like Kabiru Usman, a 26 year old who was engaged in training within the construction value chain guaranteeing him sustainable income to support a young family. Unskilled and unemployed youth like Hassan have not been left out, receiving inclusive training and employment in masonry, emerging from chronic socioeconomic dependency on his extended family.

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The Millennium City project in Kaduna directly accounts for the employment of 200 artisans including carpenters, bricklayers, masons, iron benders, electricians etc. Unemployed youth like Abu Imitaz, a graduate of accounting from Kaduna Polytechnic secured a job as site accountant while Yusuf Ishaq an unemployed bricklayer has a stable source of income at the Kaduna construction.

The Family Homes Funds which spent 9 months on the drawing board to enable a solid foundation for success, aspires to create affordable homes for low income earners while ensuring its investments provide opportunities for this demography to consistently earn decent wages. It is poised to achieve these objectives through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and a crop of reliable Development Finance Institutions.

Koko Ombu, HousingNews, Abuja

FHF invests to provide homes and create jobs

Family Homes Funds (FHF) through International recruitment firm – Price Water House Coopers has launched a recruitment campaign to secure top quality capacity to deliver an ambitious, affordable housing programme as a key aspect of the Government’s Social Intervention Programme.

By 2023, the Family Homes Funds – a special purpose investment vehicle having the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated as founding shareholders – aims to have supported the development of over 500,000 homes and 1.5m jobs for Nigerians on low income.

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Towards that goal, the Funds has recently completed the construction of 400 homes with an average cost of N3.5m in Grand Luvu, Nasarawa State – part of over 4,000 homes under construction in 5 states namely Ogun, Nasarawa, Kano, Delta and Kaduna. A further 30,000 homes are at advanced stages of negotiation with development partners and will commence by November 2018. As the new company builds capacity through the ongoing recruitment campaign, it will achieve a program of 80,000 homes by December 2019.

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Creation of new jobs is a critical element of the Funds programme. Ongoing investments are already making a real difference with over 13,000 jobs created and about 360,000 to be created from current development pipeline. The Grand Luvu Project in Nasarawa State has created about 8000 jobs.

Showcases of Edo-BEST, housing estate, others in Canada – Obaseki

In a concerted effort to get the buy-in of the state’s Diaspora community, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, will be showcasing the revolutionary Edo Basic Education Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme and the 1800-unit Emotan Gardens project, among other growth and development enablers at the Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) Convention in Canada. Obaseki The four-day Toronto convention, the 27th in the series, will hold from August 31 – September 3.

It is arguably the single largest gathering of Edo professionals in the Diaspora, making it a key stakeholder in the state’s affairs. Governor Godwin Obaseki, will lead the state government’s delegation to the Toronto convention and will be showcasing a bouquet of projects, which needs the input and buy-in of the Diaspora community.

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Among the star projects listed to feature in the governor’s discussions is the Edo-BEST programme, for which approval has been given for full roll-out in three oil and gas producing local government areas, comprising Ovia North East, Orhionmwon and Ikpoba-Okha. A pilot phase is running in select local governments across the state. However, more investment is needed for full roll-out across the state. An initiative of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration, the Edo-BEST programme, will develop a highly-skilled teaching workforce by training, supporting and motivating Edo State teachers to succeed in the classroom of tomorrow; enhance the Edo State Basic Education curriculum thereby empowering children to compete effectively in the world of work.

The programme is expected to leapfrog the basic education delivery systems by leveraging technology in education provision and to gather and utilise accurate and timely data to drive policy and planning decisions. In the programme, every teacher will receive tablets loaded with digital lesson plans for every lesson needed for each day. Head teachers are given smart phones and provided with monthly data to enable them use the software in the smart phone to register all children and take attendance and manage teacher performance in each classroom every day. The other project is the 1800-unit Emotan Gardens, an ambitious real estate project, that seeks to rejuvenate the state’s real estate sector and provide affordable housing to residents and those in the Diaspora. The state government is developing the estate through the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) in partnership with MIXTA Africa, a renowned real estate and property development company.

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Executive Chairman, Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), Isoken Omo, in the build up to the convention, assured that a mix of engagement strategies would be deployed in the state government’s effort to meet the housing and other needs of Edo people in the diaspora. According to her, “The Edo State Government and her partners are upbeat about the Emotan Gardens and similar housing projects coming on stream soon. It is an opportunity many of our people have been waiting for to acquire decent housing through a very transparent process devoid of encumbrances.”

She explained that “the appeal of Emotan Gardens has been phenomenal, as would-be subscribers are just waiting for us to open sales. Governor Obaseki is passionate about this product and will be exhibiting it at the ENAW Convention.” Another sector expected to be featured by the government at the ENAW Convention is the ease of doing business, specifically in the built sector, following the signing of the Private Property Protection Law, which has abolished the activities of Community Development Association (CDAs).

 

Estate Developers innovate to stay afloat, smaller now profitable

Faced with a sharp fall in purchasing power, real estate developers in the country are having to look for innovative ways to keep their houses occupied. Despite a housing deficit now estimated to be in excess of 20 million, many Nigerians are not in position to buy into the new houses being developed in many parts of the country due a sharp decline in the purchasing power of the middle class even as many seek greener pastures outside the country. Nigeria is currently estimated to be losing about 12 doctors every week to Europe and America even as other professional also flee the country.

Not surprising vacancy rates in highbrow areas of Lagos and Abuja are in excess of 40 percent for both commercial and non-commercial properties leaving many developers struggling to offload new developments into the hands of consumers who are not in a position to buy. Even though developers insist that the wide housing gap offers opportunities for developers to sell their property if the pricing is right.

“These opportunities are not for those we call ‘unmotivated sellers’ who cling to old prices and are not ready to make the shift,” explained Udo Okonjo, the chair/CEO, Fine and Country West Africa, who also pointed out that even in the highbrow locations like Ikoyi in Lagos where residential vacancy rate is over 40 percent, demand is still strong for apartments when the price and size are right.

Players in the industry says that the new reality of the market is that developers are experiencing over supply in high end residential buildings and also in A-grade commercial office space but under supply in the low end of the residential market where demand is weak.

As a way out of the over-supply, under-supply challenge, some developers are ‘redeveloping’ into smaller units of two-bedroom and studio apartments for the short-let market. In the case of office space, smaller spaces are now being offered for co-working stations.
Players in the industry have told BusinessDay that short-let apartments are now gaining momentum due to the challenging economic environment.

“This increased demand has spurred savvy business operators to accelerate their expansion plans, seeking out strategically located residential buildings or vacant apartments in prime areas to be converted into short-let apartments to meet the flexible needs of people who require such accommodation,” explained Tayo Odunsi, CEO, Northcourt Real Estate.

Besides security issues and the strong desire by young professionals who want to live in exclusive locations to have a feel of luxury living, Erejuwa Gbadebo, CEO, International Real Estate Partners (IREP), notes an upsurge in demand by corporates who would rather pay for short-let apartments for their expatriate staff, who may be in the country for short periods of time.

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In line with the increased demand, short-let apartments are now popular in places like Ikeja GRA, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Osborne Foreshore, Lekki, Festac Town, all in Lagos. In Abuja, they could be found in such expensive locations as Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse, while in Port Harcourt they are found in Old GRA and Trans-Amadi.

“These are locations where house prices are quite high and the young professionals who cannot afford such prices still want to have a feel of such locations go for short-let apartments,” explained Azubuike Unigwe, Managing Partner, Unigwe and Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers.

Most expatriates, top executives and consultants to blue chip companies who wish to stay in town for a week or more, prefer these serviced apartments because of the comfortable ambience which most hotels lack. These apartments also offer some level of privacy which some hotel brands don’t give.

Analysts point out that another reason for the growth of shot-let market is the flexibility enjoyed by guests when compared to hotel rooms, explaining that it accommodates client’s guests, relatives, friends which are not allowed in some hotel rooms.

Another major reason is the affordability. findings reveal that short-let apartments are cheaper compared to hotel room rates. A two-bedroom serviced apartment in 1004 Estate in Victoria Island, Lagos costs N35,000 per night on short-let, while a standard hotel room costs an average of N60,000 per night within the same neighbourhood. A two-bedroom apartment at the estate sells for N45 million to N50 million.

In Festac Town where UPDC offers serviced short-let apartments at its The Residences, a two-bedroom apartment sells for N65 million, but the short-let goes for N30,000 to N40,000 per night. Golden Tulip Hotel, in the same ‘compound’ with The Residences charges between N50,000 and N60,000 per night.

In Ikoyi, a two-bedroom apartment lets for average of N50,000 per night, while at Parkview estate, Ikoyi it costs an average of N40,000 for same size apartment with clients expected to pay a minimum of one-week duration. This is a location where the minimum rent for a three-bedroom apartment is between N20 million and N25 million per annum.

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In the commercial segment of the market, developers are a lot more innovative and creative. This is one segment of the market where vacancy rate has gone up significantly because some corporate tenants have changed office location. Some that were in two to three floors have now scaled down to one floor because they have sent away a good number of their staff due to reduced business activities.

For retail, some retailers have had to move out of the malls completely. Some landlords have reduced rents. There are cases where landlords have asked tenants to stop paying rents altogether, but to just pay the service charge to enable them maintain the mall.

Gbenga Olaniyan, CEO, Estate Links, confirmed that some A-grade office buildings now offer smaller spaces like 200-500 square metres where a minimum of 1000 square metres were on offer before now, stressing that this was the only way to attract more tenants to such buildings and to increase occupancy level.

Tenants are also offered concessions in form of quarterly instead of yearly rents payment; reduced service charge, energy efficiency and reduced cost; and product differentiation aimed at attracting more tenants and increasing workers’ convenience and productivity in the building

CHUKA UROKO

Real Estate developers, investors and built environment experts storm Johannesburg, Sept 19

 

The summit’s aims to create a platform for African and global real estate data and transparency expects to share insights, best practice and solidify global and regional investor confidence in Africa’s high growth economies are some of the primary objectives of the 9th annual API Summit & Expo taking place in Johannesburg on 20 and 21 September 2018.

Speaking ahead of what has become known as African property’s multi-billion dollar gathering, London-based, Jeremy Kelly, of JLL, will present the African Chapter of their market leading Global Real Estate and Transparency Index (GRETI) to 600 of the continent’s leading real estate developers and investors.

Global thought Recognised as a global thought leader and advocate for transparency and data across global real estate markets, Kelly will lead the conversation on the importance of data and transparency which are vital in establishing market health and making better decisions.

“Our aim at the summit will be to draw attention to the importance of real estate transparency, not only in boosting investment, but also enhancing business efficiencies, raising living standards and safeguarding the environment,” says Kelly.

A unique perspective By drawing on specific regional and global parallels, Kelly will provide a unique perspective and context on how African markets can move up the “transparency spectrum” to the continent’s decision makers.

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“We hope our presentation will be a catalyst for event participants to think about how they can practically contribute to enhancing transparency in Africa,” says Kelly.

While African countries upward movement in GRETI in 2014 and 2016 were notable – these were mostly off of a low base says Kelly.
Adding that: “In this year’s version only 10 of the 15 African markets have improved, which has been led by Nigeria and Kenya.” Data imperative in real estate However, despite this incremental movement up the transparency ladder by the continent’s markets, the most encouraging aspect of this year’s report for Kelly is the greater volume and quality of data collected by African firms such as Sagaci Research and Estate intel.

“Overall we continue to see advances made in areas such as the quality and frequency of valuations across many markets in sub-Saharan Africa, while market data availability has also continued to improve for select countries and sectors (such as logistics and hotels).” Data according to Kenya based, Charles Ballard, of Sagaci Research one of the firms credited for developing greater actionable insight into African growing retail sector is that data is “limited and or obsolete.” The challenge, he explains is that Africa’s youthful population, informality and rapid growth makes measurement challenging to measure but “particularly dynamic.” “Younger consumers tend to be less conservative and more open to trying new things – the rapidity with which Kenyan consumers adopted mobile money is an excellent example of this trend,” he says.

Launching of Estate data app they added that these developments make it even more critical for data to be up to date and transparent in Africa and not “inconsistent and fragmented”, which is one of the primary challenges encountered by Dolapo Omidire of Nigeria’s Estate intel.

To mitigate these challenges and use advances in Proptech and relevant data, Omidire will use the API Summit to gain insights and launch Estate intel’s new data app.
“The app will be home to the most extensive collection of commercial property data points in Nigeria.

We are confident it will change the way real estate decisions are made across the continent.” Forward-thinking and embracing new technology to drive data acquisition and development to improve data access and decision making is an area in which Kelly believes Africa can use to leap ahead of other markets.

“Africa has an opportunity at this point to utilise blockchain for land registries or transactions; ‘smart’ buildings and infrastructure for facilities management or repair; or new database capabilities for collaborative data sharing between market participants – to jumpstart the traditional methods of improving market data and building real estate markets that are fit for the future.”

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According to the host of the 9th API Summit & Expo, Kfir Rusin: “Increasing data flow and transparency are absolutely pivotal to the development and deepening of investment in the continent’s property markets.” Adding that “Being able to bring global and Africa pioneers together at the API Summit & Expo and aid them in leveraging our platform to elevate the importance of data and transparency as a key driver of investment growth is a primary objective of the conference.”

API events The Africa Property Investment Summit & Expo (API) is Africa’s largest and most premier real estate event. It connects the most influential local and international Africa property stakeholders, driving investment and development into a wide range of real estate and infrastructure projects and developments across the continent.

API Events deliver Africa’s most renowned events in real estate investment and development.
Our events across the continent have become the ultimate meeting places for Africa’s property market to learn, network and most importantly to do deals.

The company also hosts the API Awards – these prestigious awards provide a platform for distinguished developers, suppliers and owners in the African real estate industry, to showcase their best projects and services.

Housing cooperatives hold key to affordable homes dream

The housing situation in Kenya is deplorable. Only 16 per cent of Kenyan households in urban areas own the houses they live in, while the majority at 84 per cent rent. About 61 per cent of the urban dwellers live in slums. Such are the statistics that have necessitated the intervention of the national government, which plans to deliver 500,000 decent and affordable housing by 2022.

Conventionally, Kenyans have owned housing through mortgage financing, building their houses incrementally as funds allow and through housing unions and co-operatives. Kenya’s cooperative movement is ranked seventh worldwide, and first in Africa. It contributes 90 per cent of the housing stock delivery in Kenya.

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With over 23,000 registered housing co-operatives and more than Sh700 billion in savings, and an asset base in excess of Sh800 billion by the end of 2017, housing cooperatives are in a good position to help the government achieve its Agenda Four on housing. Housing cooperatives have taken up the mantle in providing affordable housing for low income groups. Those who earn between Sh15,000 and Sh49,000 per month constitute 71.82 per cent of the formally employed.

While Agenda Four on affordable housing envisages that cooperatives should contribute significantly towards housing stock delivery by 2022, it also calls for an integrated approach within the cooperative sector. I am happy to recognise the effort of the office of the commissioner in coordinating a common strategy that will see cooperatives demonstrate their viable model in development.

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Housing cooperatives have big chunks of land and savings by their members. They can support the agenda through unlocking their expansive land through partnerships with the government and other investors, providing financing, buying the houses under the programme through mortgage model and Tenant Purchase Schemes, aggregating demands from their members for uptake of the affordable housing and lobbying at the local level for pro-affordable housing policies and initiatives.

Francis Kamande

Kenya lauded for moving to make housing affordable

 

Kenya has been acclaimed for coming up with initiatives to meet the rising demand for houses and making them affordable.

The latest plan contained in the 2018/2019 budget presented recently involves the creation of a National Housing Development Fund, which is expected to offer alternative financing solutions for low cost housing.

The fund will be fashioned akin to a pension scheme such that employees will contribute 0.5 percent of their gross earnings each month to a maximum of 50 U.S. dollars and employers will match the amounts contributed.

Contributors will then book the houses, and since the percentage contributed is not sufficient to cater for the cost of the houses, they will start paying for the houses off-plan.

“Individuals in the affordable housing bracket will use the funds to purchase houses through tenant purchase schemes, while individuals with a stronger financial muscle will use the funds as deposits for mortgages or other forms of collateral,” Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, noted Monday.

The fund is the latest initiative by the government aimed at achieving affordable housing under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.

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Another plan announced in February involves the setting up a 160 million dollars mortgage refinancing company.

The Kenyan Mortgage Refinancing Company (KMRC) will get funding from the World Bank, the Kenya government and private sector led by commercial banks and cooperatives.

KMRC, according to the Treasury, would be a non-bank financial institution to provide long-term funding to mortgage lenders.

The company’s main objective would be to enhance mortgage affordability and offer long-term loans at attractive market rates in the country.

“The mortgage company is a step in the right direction towards making the government initiative of providing 500,000 homes per year until 2022 a reality. We expect the body to result to a rise in number of mortgage lenders, the number of mortgage undertakings, and thus increased uptake of homes by the low-income population,” said Cytonn.

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The government has also offered a 15 percent corporate tax relief to developers who put up at least 100 low-cost residential houses annually and there have also been land swaps that entail the exchange of public and private land between the government and developers.

Antony Kuyo, a real estate consultant with Avent Properties in Nairobi, said that with Kenya’s housing deficit growing annually at approximately 200,000 units, the government has no option but lead from the front.

“Over the years, the private sector has been at the forefront of providing houses amid growing demand, with the government only stepping in when it comes to legislation. But this model has not worked as thousands are living in informal settlements,” said Kuyo.

High mortgage rates of between 13 percent and 17 percent have made things worse for those in formal employment, with the East African nation only having some 20,000 mortgage accounts.

“The housing fund and the mortgage finance company are novel initiatives that would enable the country meet the over 200,000 deficit annually and provide affordable houses. Under these initiatives, I expect the housing part of the Big Four Agenda to be met,” said Kuyo.

However, while the initiatives have been welcomed, experts noted they would not get an easy ride, especially the housing fund.

“The housing fund is likely to face opposition due to possibility of primary contributors not benefiting as it is structured in a lottery form. And employers and employees have begun to oppose it given that both parties are already being subjected to a number of statutory deductions such as National Hospital Insurance Fund,” said Cytonn.

Li Xia

ILLEGAL LAND ALLOCATION IN THE FCT MUST STOP ~ HON GBEFWI

The Chairman, Sub-Committee to investigate the process of land allocation in the FCT Hon. Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi has strongly stated that the Housing Committee on FCT will ensure that it seeks justice to the issue of Illegal land allocation in the FCT as well as pluck out all forms leakages and corruptions going on within and around the FCT.

He made this statement in an investigative briefing session at the National Assembly earlier today. Present at briefing were some invited CEO’s of the company owning estates that were listed in the Punch Newspaper of 23rd August, 2018.

Speaking with HousingNews Correspondent, Hon. Gwaza stated that the committee has the interest of the citizens of Nigeria at heart and are only doing their legislative duty to make sure it carries out all the necessary investigation to put an end to illegal land allocation in the FCT and ensure that Nigerians buy a property with genuine documents in their hands.

“This invitation is a result of so many petitions and the need to protect the citizens of this country that have elected us to this office.” He said

He added, “…most times the buyers of these lands are at the receiving end. We are here to protect the buyers who are citizens of this great country”

“…and indeed we will not allow citizens carry on transactions when there are so many issues that have not been properly clarified.”

The CEO of the companies present at the briefing were invited to appear before the committee to submit the various valid documents that are processes of land allocation of the properties in question from site conceptualization all the way to developing the land and subsequent allocations.

Companies who had their relevant documents were asked to submit same while swearing an oath of submitting valid documents to the Committee.

In response to the submissions, Hon. Gwaza said “we are going to painstakingly go through all your submissions and if need be a carbon-dated forensic exercise will be carried out to make sure that the common wealth of this country, ‘land theft’ is not being perpetrated and transferred to innocent citizens that will never get title documents at the end of the day but will continually suffer from one court case to the other”

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Speaking with some of those affected, the Group Legal Adviser of ABC Shelters; Barr. Paul Abraham, stated that the development is a good one as it will help to tidy up the real estate industry. CEO, Bricklink Africa Plc. Mr. Mohammed Buhari also appreciated the efforts of the committee however expressed that the relevant authorities in-charge of allocations of title documents come up with documents relating to the lands in question.

Speaking on behalf of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), the President of REDAN Surv. Rev. Ugochukwu Chime thanked the committee on their determination to add value to what is being done in the real estate sector.

“We are here with our members not just in solidarity but with the aim of enabling the committee to do their work very well” he said

The REDAN President reacted on the manner in which the publication was made in The Punch of 23rd August, 2018; in such a way that it criminalized those whose estates were listed which is bad for the real estate sector and those involved while stating that some estates were left behind in this exercise.

“Perception is everything in real estate and if someone perceives that he will have problem in this environment, he will cease transaction …making investors wary of trading” He said

The Chairman of the Sub-Committee stated expressly that the briefing was in no way a witch hunt. “Considering the number of these companies, we are going to take them in phases and categorize them” he said

He added “Companies that have developed and sold properties totally will be in one category, companies that are still in the process in another while companies that just have bare parcel of land that will be another category in order for us to discharge this responsibility quickly.”

The REDAN President however pleaded with the committee that ample time be given to the affected estate developers to get the relevant documents which will make up their submission.

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“there is an urgent need to give people time to give you documents that will help you do your work appropriately” he said. “if that is not done, you may end up doing the wrong thing. They may even be guilty but bring fresh documents that will exonerate them” he added.

The Chairman approved that the investigation session be adjourned to 5th of September, 2018 by then all affected were expected to bring in their submissions on or before the said date, while the adjourned date will be set for hearing and proper validation of submissions made.

In an interview with HousingNews, Surv. Chime expressed that the REDAN will join hands together with the committee to find a way to make sure that the Nigerian masses are being protected on the issue of illegal allocation of lands and properties.

“The committee has agreed with us and we will work together to make sure that this problem is sorted out once and for all” he said.

He added, “the Lugbe crisis has been on for a long time but we have come to a very firm understanding that we need to sit down and make sure that we put in place some templates that makes sure that this doesn’t occur anymore.”

Wilson Ifeoma
HousingNews

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