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Investors now delight in Abuja outskirts

 

Buoyed by the high cost of rentals in Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, which has slowed down returns, investors in the real estate sector have shifted their focuses to the outskirts for ease of sales and returns.

The outskirts has thus become a new mecca for developers resulting to new developments in these areas with no fewer than fourteen locations identified as the most fast developing areas.

The areas so identified by players are: Karu, Kuje, Old Nyanya, Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Lugbe, Lokogoma, Kiyami, Kasanna, Wumba, Duboyi, Waru,Apo/Dutse District.

The Guardian investigations revealed that these locations have become a construction hub as property developers, and estate surveyors and valuers are seen at sites constructing mass housing units.

Although, these areas, are noted for huge traffic in the morning period and close of work in the evening, they however have some positives as they boost of cluster of social, educational, commercial and public institutions springing up daily.

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Before now it takes about 15 to 20 minutes drive from these districts to these areas but the shift has resulted to heavy traffic build ups in the morning and evening.

Explaining the shift, Site Supervisor of Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), Suleiman Saidu, the outskirts are particularly attractive to servants cannot afford rental fees in Abuja city, hence their preference to the suburbs.

He explained that a one bedroom apartment rent goes between N300, 000 and N350, 000; N650, 000 to N700, 000 for two bedroom bungalow, while 3 bedroom apartment goes for N800, 000 to N950, 000 per annum.

“So, APDC is constructing 1,000 housing units in Dei-Dei axis, a suburb of the capital city.

Managing Director, Queenville Real Estate Group, Princess Eno Essien affirmed the existence of massive housing estates in Orozo,Jikwuyi,Karishi axis.

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She added that standard properties are being developed in the outskirts of Abuja, and their prices are affordable for low-income earners, adding that workers are making use of it.

According to her, government approved Zero equity contribution for housing loans below N5 million, stressing that as citizens, we are entitled to housing loan to get houses.

An estate surveyor and Valuer, Eric Okafor, argued that public servants who have access to bank mortgage facility have resorted to new districts for the purchase of houses.

He also added that those who ordinarily wouldn’t want to leave the city centre, would be left with no option than to relocate to the new area where cost of living is cheap.

Okafor maintained that houses are really on the increase, and rents are low as well as outright purchase of the properties in suburb adding, prospective buyer have choices to make there.

He argued, some public servants who access to mortgage facility resort to the new areas to build houses, adding, those who wouldn’t want to leave the city centre, now left with no option than to relocate to the new districts.

‘There are no road networks in the districts as per the massive housing estates.

The FCDA can only provide roads leading the entrance of the place, while developers or, allottees have to do the remaining road network in their domain.”

However, a prospective tenant must have to cough out N500,000 for one bedroom; N700,000 for two bedroom M1 million for three bedroom, while 4bedroom duplex goes for N1.5million per annum.

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Ferdinard Enyi is a House Agent, said in Wumba for example, price tag for one bedroom is N450, 000; two bedroom N600, 000; three bedroom N800, 000.

“Similarly, in Kiyami one bedroom goes for N400, 000; two bedroom N550, 000,and three Bedrooms is up to N650,000 per annum.”

However, buying houses in the districts vary in amount depending on the bargaining power of the buyers and property owners. At time, there are cases of ‘special purchase’

In Lokogoma district, for example, one bedroom sells for N8million; two bedroom flat cost N15million; three bedroom is N22million and four bedroom duplex goes for N30 million.

These prices depend on whether one buys from the allocating authority or from the third party.

Cornelius Essen

Nigeria mortgage economy: Need for active insurance industry

 

Like action and reaction, insurance and mortgage are equal and opposite and this is why, in advanced economies of the world, an active insurance industry is highly needed for the mortgage economy. While mortgage lending is a risk, insurance, by its function, acts as a hedge against risk. It is a cover.

To develop a healthy mortgage industry, therefore, there is need for a mortgage insurance functioning as a policy that protects a mortgage lender or title holder in the event that the borrower defaults on payments, dies, or is otherwise unable to meet the contractual obligations of the mortgage.

This is why the new the Mortgage Guarantee programme, a new initiative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is quite instructive. This is a kind of mortgage given to a borrower by a lender, where an identified third party will take responsibility for the loan if the borrower defaults. The programme is structured in such a way that once the borrower defaults, the third party receives a claim from the lender, pays the lender off, and assumes responsibility for the mortgage.

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Besides incentivizing mortgage lenders, a quality mortgage guarantee programme is also used to provide credit loss protection to lenders in case of borrower’s default and, according to CBN officials, a robust primary mortgage market is a synergy of several components, all working together to effect affordability and access for intending buyers.

Investopedia, an encyclopedia of investment initiatives, identifies three aspects of mortgage insurance. These are private mortgage insurance (PMI), mortgage life insurance, or mortgage title insurance. What these have in common is an obligation to make the lender or property holder whole in the event of specific cases of loss. Private mortgage insurance may be called ‘lender’s mortgage insurance’ (LMI) if the premium on a PMI policy is paid by the lender and not the borrower.

For these reasons and more, an active insurance industry is needed for the growth and development of a functional mortgage industry. The mortgage industry in Nigeria is still a fledgling and fingers are frequently pointed to an insurance industry that is not as active participant as it should be.

For some reasons, in this country, in spite of everything the people have learnt, policy is still shaping the industry whereas, in advanced economies, it is the other way round—industry shapes policy because people in the industry are the ones implementing the policy every day.

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The mortgage industry in United States, for instance, has been robust for decades and it is with continued activity. One is not however, saying that Nigeria should replicate what happens in the US here, because Nigeria has its own unique characteristics which must be recognized and respected.

What the mortgage players in Nigeria should do however, is to make the US system a base-line because that system represents the global standard. Adenike Fasanya-Osilaja, a mortgage and finance consultant advises that “we have to start learning that system and adapt it to meet our own unique cultural system and unique needs”.

Nigeria needs to lay a very good foundation for mortgage industry growth to ensure that what happened in America in 2006 with sub-prime mortgage crisis does not repeat itself here. The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) is a big possibility that can change and shape the mortgage system in this country and could also be an umbrella for the industry.

One of the high points of NMRC, as a secondary mortgage institution, is its long term, low rate global funds and, because the mortgage industry here is not yet buoyant, NMRC, whether it is succeeding now or not, can be a significant tool for achieving these attributes of a working mortgage industry.

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Fasanya-Osilaja believes that the mortgage industry should be shaping NMRC and not NMRC shaping the industry, advising that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the NMRC, should be listening to the voice of the industry. “Experience has proved to me that the CBN is quite ready to listen and learn. The problem here, however, is that the industry has been rather passive”, she noted.

This industry has to be standardized so that global players, from global perspectives, could view the local industry from the perspective of NMRC and mortgage banking association of Nigeria (MBAN) and see something to hold on to in their investment decisions. Despite the current challenges, the Nigerian economy could conveniently support the growth of the mortgage industry as the country is one of the fastest growing economies in the world where talent resource is amazing.

The mortgage consultant advises further that Nigeria needs to understand there is time for competition and also time for association and each is as critical as the other. “The only thing that will stop this industry from growing is over-regulation by people who are not in the industry and therefore will not understand the effect of their policy on the actual market”, she said, emphasizing the urgency of an active insurance industry to drive the needed growth in the mortgage industry.

As a step forward, mortgage insurance could come with a typical ‘pay-as-you-go’ premium payment, or may be capitalized into a lump sum payment at the time the mortgage is originated. For homeowners who are required to have PMI because of the 80 percent loan-to-value ratio rule, they can request that the insurance policy be canceled once 20 percent of the principal balance has been paid off.

Chuka Uroko

Using mortgage finance to tackle housing deficit

 

The housing sector is one of the indices for measuring the standard of living of people across societies.

It also plays a more critical role in a country’s welfare than is always recognised, as it directly affects not only the well-being of the citizenry, but also the performance of other sectors of the economy.

Consequently, governments designed mortgage finance to enhance its adequate delivery as housing provision requires huge capital outlay, which is often beyond the capacity of the medium income/low income earners.

Despite its recognized economic and social importance, housing finance often remains underdeveloped.

The low levels of lending reflect the small numbers who can afford mortgages because of the high cost of houses in relation to incomes.

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It also includes the perceptions of risk that are based on, amongst other things, the informal nature of most title deeds and property.

The National Housing Policy of 1991 created a two-tier housing finance structure with Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) at the first tier and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the supervisor and regulator, at the second tier.

The Mortgage Institutions Act (No. 53 of 1989) prescribed the regulatory/supervisory framework for the establishment and operation of Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs).

Later, the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act of 1991, “BOFIA”, as amended, transferred the licensing, supervision and regulation of PMBs and FMBN to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Under the process, the PMBs are to mobilise funds for their lending operations.

Some of such loans (mortgages) can be off-loaded to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to sustain continuous liquidity in the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme.

This flow has unfortunately been constrained by the provisions of the Land Use Act, which restricts access to legal title to land.

To encourage the penetration of the mortgage finance and homeownership, the National Housing Fund Law (Act No.3 of 1992) was promulgated to create an alternative and continuous flow of funds from which loans could be granted to contributors on affordable repayment terms.

The law stipulates compulsory contributions of two and a half per cent (2.5per cent) of basic salary by employees earning N3, 000.00 or above in the public and private sectors, which attracts attract yearly interest at compound rates, refundable to contributors on attainment of 60 years of age or on retirement from employment after 35 years of service.

The loan attracts a fixed interest rate of not more than six per cent and repayment is for a maximum period of 30 years while maximum amount loanable is N15 million.

In its strategic move designed to make homeownership more accessible and affordable for Nigerian workers, FMBN recently approved the implementation of a Rent-To-Own Housing Scheme, an innovative affordable housing product, which provides an easy and convenient payment plan towards homeownership for Nigerian workers.

The scheme is specifically designed to make it possible for Nigerian workers to move into FMBN homes as tenants, pay for and own the properties through monthly or yearly rent payments spread over periods of up to 30- years.

To further increase affordability, the properties will also attract a single digit interest rate of 9per cent on the price of the property on an annuity basis.

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The product will cover properties with the maximum value of N15million.

The rent-to-own housing product targets Nigerian workers who are contributors to the NHF and will be implemented in phases. About 3,000 houses are planned for the pilot phase.

To deliver on the rent-to-own housing scheme, FMBN will partner with reputable estate developers for the construction of quality, cost-effective housing stock nationwide.

Payments for the houses will be domiciled with the CBN through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Properties that are planned for the rent-to-own scheme are existing estates that are funded by FMBN nationwide and non-funded estates.

FMBN Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Dangiwa stated that the programme is targeted at increasing access to affordable housing by Nigerian workers who fall into the low- medium income brackets.

In addition, he stated that the implementation of the scheme will totally eliminate the burden of equity contributions by workers for housing loans, complement the existing products of the bank by widening the home ownership bracket, increase housing stock, and help the bank to utilize abandoned estates that are to be transferred to the scheme.

To further deepen the housing finance, the private investors are also being enlisted to boost affordable social housing delivery for Nigerians.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Alhaji Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu, Chairmen & CEOs of Dangote and BUA Groups of Companies respectively plan to partner the FMBN.

While on a joint courtesy call on the bank’s Board of Directors, they entered into partnership agreement and lent their support to the proposed N500billion recapitalization of the bank, stating that it is a much needed development that will help power FMBN’s efforts to more effectively discharge its mandate.

The Chairman, Dangote Group commended FMBN for the renewed aggressive drive to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

Additionally, he said that his company is ready to collaborate with FMBN towards lowering the housing deficit by increasing the tempo and scale of social housing provision across the country.

His words: “Count me as a friend of FMBN. We are open to collaborating and supporting the good work that your bank is doing towards ensuring the provision of affordable housing to medium and low income earners in Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Chairman, BUA Group of Companies, Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu also said that he is committed to a close partnership with FMBN.

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“I am committed to forging a partnership that will add value to FMBN’s work and look forward to further engagements in this regard,” he said.

In his response, the FMBN Board Chairman, Dr. Adewale Adeeyo on behalf of the board and management thanked and applauded the two distinguished business moguls for their visit and good intentions to partner with FMBN.

He said that FMBN will work closely with them towards the consolidation and implementation of the partnerships.

Another boost to housing development is currently underway through a strategic collaboration between FMBN and leading labour unions, aimed at addressing in a structured and sustainable manner, the housing requirement of their members currently estimated to be about 3,750,000 housing units.

The FMBN in conjunction with the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) plans to commence the implementation of a national affordable housing delivery programme for Nigerian workers.

This includes fast-tracking the provision of safe, decent, quality and affordable housing to registered members of NLC, TUC, and NECA that also contribute to NHF, which the FMBN manages.

The pilot phase of the program aims to deliver 2,800 housing units in 14 sites across the country. This includes 200 houses in each of the six zones in addition to Lagos and Abuja.

FMBN Group Head, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Zubaida Umar said the key features of the housing program are the emphasis on affordability and the focus on low and middle-income classes of workers.

Planned house types therefore include fully finished semi-detached bungalows and blocks of 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedrooms.

She revealed that the designs of the houses are based on local and international social housing models that have been tested and proven to deliver housing units that are structurally strong, livable and at cost effective rates that fit the income of the targeted beneficiaries.

“To ensure successful execution of the program, the design and implementation plan was based on extensive deliberations and recommendation of housing experts.

They drew from the theoretical and practical experiences of housing stakeholders, varied inputs, and consultations with developers, private sector players, research and analysis of housing projects locally and abroad,” she said.

Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Estate surveyors plan to focus on mass housing delivery

 

Estate surveyors and valuers in the country plan to hold a forum on how the country can reduce its housing deficit through effective mass housing delivery.

The forum, known as the 6th National Housing Summit, and scheduled to hold in Abuja on October 8 and 9, is being organised by the Faculty of Housing, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers.

The faculty said it was worried about the lack of political will to solve the problem of housing in the country, hence, the need to take the forum to the seat of power.

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The Planning Committee Chairman, Mr Kehinde Abayomi, said the theme of the summit would be ‘Alternative building techniques for mass housing delivery’ and would focus, among other things, on a new innovation capable of producing up to 1,000 units of quality and affordable houses from foundation to the roof within one month.

Abayomi, who represented the Chairman of the Faculty of Housing, NIESV, Mr Chika Okafor, at a press briefing ahead of the summit, said stakeholders would also be educated on how to finance mass housing delivery.

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He stated, “The main reason for our steady housing problems in Nigeria can be traced to lack of leadership, vision and political will as well as a well-structured institution to drive government policies and programmes.

“We have private real estate developers, who among others, can collaborate with the relevant government agencies to build houses for a target group and such houses being allocated to be acquired based on need, but not sold in the open market based on highest bidders as it is the practice now.”

He stated that the target group for the innovation could be the low and medium income earners who desired accommodation.

The Secretary of the faculty, Mr Tosin Kadiri, said the summit would be specific about affordability and alternative building methods.

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A former Chairman of the faculty, Mr Casmir Anyanwu, said the summit was part of advocacy.

“The faculty is mainly about advocacy, pointing out the direction to go for both the government and the people,” he stated.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Low-income earners can’t afford govt housing units – Experts

 

Stakeholders at a seminar organised by the Ogun State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors have chided the federal and state governments for constructing housing units only for the rich.

The seminar held in Abeokuta and had as its theme: ‘Effective housing delivery in a developing economy.’

The President, NIQS, Obafemi Onashile, noted that there was the need for the government to evolve an effective housing policy, which would guarantee more affordable houses to the low-income earners and the masses.

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Onashile, who was represented by the Vice-President of the institute, Mr Olayemi Sonubi, said Nigeria, with a growing economy, needed more affordable housing units.

He noted that the government’s housing policy had failed because there was no systematic plan to build houses, adding, however, that it was not enough to build houses that the low-income earners might not afford.

He called on the government to bring the interest rates on mortgage loans to one digit, because according to him, a two-digit mortgage loan regime would take a long time to pay back.

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Onashile added, “Mortgage loans should not attract more than five or six per cent interest, having such loans at 19 per cent is quite high.

“There is the need for the government at the state and federal levels to build affordable housing units that low-income earners can afford.”

In his keynote address, a former General Manager, Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation, TundeAwolana, an engineer, said not many low-income earners could afford the housing units being built by the government and private developers.

He stated, “Housing corporations are building prohibitive housing units, which can only be afforded by criminally-minded people.

“They are supposed to build housing units for low and medium-income earners. Some wealthy Nigerians are also building big houses their children may not like to inherit.”

Awolana called on professional in the built environment to rise up to the occasion in tackling the challenge of housing deficit in the country.

The Ogun State Chairman, NIQS, Mr Kayode Dipeolu, said the workshop was aimed at examining the effective delivery of housing units in the country.

 

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta

Trump’s tariffs threaten China’s economy

American and Chinese officials have made headlines in recent months for their confident predictions of trade war victory, but many longtime China watchers say the most important drivers and trends affecting Asia’s largest economy go well beyond tariffs. As the trade war escalates, it will not be easy for the Chinese government to use public spending to boost investments due to its mounting debt.

As the trade war between Washington and Beijing ramps up, analysts are divided over just how tariffs will impact China’s economy.

Some economists say the tariff battle between the world’s two largest economies — which advanced with a new round of tit-for-tat taxes on Monday — could land a significant hit on the East Asian giant, while others contend that China will manage around the White House’s offensive.

That argument may, however, miss the point about the future of the communist country.

American and Chinese officials have made headlines in recent months for their confident predictions of trade war victory, but many longtime China watchers say the most important drivers and trends affecting Asia’s largest economy go well beyond tariffs.
Slowing investment, mounting debt

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China has long relied on infrastructure investments to drive its economic growth.

Investments contributed to 44 percent of China’s nominal GDP in December 2017, compared to about 20 to 25 percent for countries like the United States, Japan and Germany, according to figures compiled by economic data provider CEIC.

China’s fixed asset investment is slowing, however, with investment growth falling to a record low in August. Economists including Nicholas Lardy from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, however, warn against paying too much attention to the historically low figure as China is currently revising the way it measures fixed asset investment.

Still, as the trade war escalates, it will not be easy for the Chinese government to use public spending to boost investments due to its mounting debt.

The world’s second-largest economy had a relatively stable level of debt until the financial crisis in 2008 when it spent a whopping 12.5 percent of its GDP to stimulate the economy.

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The country had encouraged loans to boost economic growth, with Chinese banks extending a record 12.65 trillion yuan ($1.88 trillion) in loans in 2016. That credit explosion stoked worries about financial risks, so authorities in 2017 pledged to contain the rapid build up in debt.

Since then, Chinese debt-to-GDP has steadily grown to about 250 percent — or about $28 trillion, according to DBS and CEIC.

However, the Institute of International Finance has put China’s debt at more than 300 percent of its GDP.

The International Monetary Fund issued a strong warning about the country’s economy in 2017, warning that debt-fueled growth is an unsustainable long-term solution.

Chinese authorities had been trying to rein in the country’s rising debt, with China’s state-owned banks told in April to stop lending to local governments. But as the trade war drags on, China appears to be using investments to boost the economy again.

The National Development and Reform Commission, a top Chinese economic regulator, announced earlier this month that it aimed to promote infrastructure investment.
Aging population, betting on consumption

While China is trying to improve productivity through automation and robotics, the effects of its aging population are taking a toll on the economy.

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“Demographic trends could subtract 0.5 to 1 percentage point from annual GDP growth over the next three decades in post-dividend countries such as China and Japan,” the IMF said in a 2017 report.

China’s one-child policy ended in 2016. Couples are now limited to two children, but there has been speculation that officials are mulling scrapping birth restrictions altogether.

But decades of limiting couples to having only a single child have led to plunging birthrates. That, along with a corresponding aging population and shrinking labor force, has implications for the country’s consumption trends.

China has been trying to move toward economic growth that’s led by consumers, but data on consumption has been mixed. Monthly retail sales have been slowing, but quarterly spending, which includes education and travel, is on the rise.

China’s online retail giants, meanwhile, reflect a nuanced picture of consumption. In the second quarter of 2018, Alibaba saw sales rise by more than 60 percent from last year, even though rival JD.com faced slower sales.

Xin En Lee

Nigeria @ 58: Nigerians speak…

 

Belated and deflated, most of the people who reluctantly reflected on 58 years of Nigeria’s independence have this much to say.

We are celebrating fantastic failures – Engr. Jimoh Adeshina
Well, since you asked me, Nigeria is an independent country that hasn’t achieved anything tangible. Maybe we are celebrating 58 years of fantastic promises when politicians are campaigning for votes. All we receive after they win are unkept promises, failed projects, poverty, hardship and corruption.

With so many natural resources in every state, it baffles me that Nigeria is still having economic crisis. This country turns out diligent graduates every year with no hope of employment or fund to empower them to put what they have learnt to practice.

Health facility is zero. Good roads, infrastructures? There is no one we can really celebrate as a success story.

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Because of mismanagement and corruption, we have seen blue chip companies move from Nigerian to neighbouring countries from where they flood our markets with their products. Please, don’t spoil my day for me; it is bad enough the way the country is.

At least, we still have our freedom – Agboola
My answer is yes and no. Yes because Nigeria is a country that we can say we are truly independent even though the independence has been abused by our leaders.

We have made progress in other areas, like the communication project that brought us the cell phone in 2001. I don’t see anybody now writing letters and buying stamps every day.

Nigeria is one of few countries that now boast of a large number of television and radio stations. I won’t like to dwell on the negative side because I know that one day, a God fearing leader will emerge and the story will turn around for good.

Yes, we can celebrate freedom from military rule – Mrs. Lateefat Abiodun
Inspite of everything, let us be grateful to God that we did not continue under military rule. Agreed that politicians have plundered the country and saddened our joy, but that will be corrected one day. Because of democracy, we can question people in elected office; you can’t try that with military rulers.

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Moreover, we are not so far behind in the field of education and technology. I have heard that Nigerians occupy very important positions abroad in virtually all fields of learning and businesses.

We can still count some good things on our finger tips, like when Ebola broke out in 2014 and the way it was quickly arrested and checked. We can be proud of that and celebrate good health, if anything.

Solve problems, unite the country – Idris Atolagbe
Nigeria is 58 years old but we are still going through a lot of problems. If government wants us to celebrate, let them look into the problem of unemployment in the country and provide employment opportunities for her citizens.

The agitation for separate states and republics is because of marginalisation and inadequate care of the people. Government should do everything to unite the country and there will be no more struggles for secession.

Parents are sacrificing everything to pay for children’s education, but the situation where the children graduate but can’t find a job is very disappointing. Government should strive as much as possible to let the country grow like its age; they should build more companies and factories in the country and provide employment opportunities for the citizens; they should not use all our resources to better the lot of their children alone.

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We are celebrating 58 yrs of agony – Mrs Okechukwu
Nigeria is celebrating 58 years in agony, crisis and bondage forced upon us by our leaders; and while they are enjoying, the masses are suffering: many families can’t even afford three square meals a day.

Our problem is bad governance – Vivian Charles
Our problem is simply bad government. They don’t have good agenda for the citizens; all they care about is themselves and their families.

Ordinary electricity is still a problem after 58 years! They should repair our roads, provide us with good health facilities, water supplies and adequate security. Is that asking too much?

The rich should help the poor; life is not about one person alone and we should remember that God helps the one that help the needy. And you are not yet someone until you help someone that can’t return the favour.

A crawling giant and a failed state – Bimbo Adewolu
What are we celebrating? I do not see any reason to celebrate. As I speak, I don’t have electricity in my house. The economy is down. Our leaders are cheating us, I tell you. They can celebrate. For me, Nigeria is a crawling giant at 58 and a failed project.

I’m not impressed – Banker Nsikak Attah
Obviously, Nigeria is not where she should be at 58 when you compare where we are now with countries that got independence about the same time.

Look at Ghana, for instance, Check out Brazil and Malaysia. But I believe the fact that we are still together is one reason to celebrate.

2 whistle blowers in police custody for alleged false information against Mortgage Bank Managing Director

 

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has arrested two whistle blowers for allegedly misleading it with false information.

HousingNews Correspondent reports that the alleged false information was provided against  Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Mbaka, foremost real estate developer and Managing Director of Platinum Mortgage Bank.

The male suspects, Prince Jeff Ove, 37, from Bayelsa, and Mohammed Sanusi, 39, from Kogi, were presented to newsmen by the spokesperson of the panel, Lucie-Ann Laha, in Abuja on Friday.

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Laha alleged that the suspects told the panel under oath that the victim, who was present at the news briefing, had looted and stashed huge sums of money in his Abuja home.

She said the bogus tip-off prompted operatives of the panel to raid Mbaka’s home, an effort that ended in futility as nothing of such was found.

“We received information from the suspects that the victim was a politician who looted a large amount of money and stashed it in his house.

“We have found out that the person is not a politician. I don’t think association with politicians automatically makes you a politician.

“We were told there was a large cache of money in his house. The panel has carried out a thorough investigation, turned the house inside out and we found nothing,’’ she said.

Laha, who apologised to Mbaka on behalf of the panel, said the suspects would be prosecuted to show that the Federal Government’s Whistleblower Policy was not an instrument of character assassination.

“The policy is meant to encourage Nigerians to assist anti-corruption agencies with credible information to apprehend those that have looted the commonwealth of Nigerians.

“Anyone who brings information to the panel and any other anti-corruption agency is assured of confidentiality and certain rewards.

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“Conversely, when Nigerians try to circumvent this policy by giving false information in a bid to malign other Nigerians, the law says we should reprimand them, which is what we are doing here today,’’ she said.

Speaking to newsmen, the two suspects said they were in turn misled by informants, and apologised to Mbaka amid pleading with the panel for forgiveness.

Ove said, “I was in Bayelsa when I got information that there was a fund that a politician kept in Abuja here.

“We came and someone introduced me to a friend, who also corroborated the information that has turned out to be false, and that was why I approached the panel to report.

“Once again, I apologise to the man, I am very sorry, I have learnt my lessons and I promise this will never happen again.’’

On his part, Sanusi said sometime in March, 2017, one Aliyu told him that he knew a house in Abuja where stolen money was being kept.

He said he never bothered to take the information to anti-corruption agencies because Aliyu had said he wasn’t too sure of its authenticity.

“But the brother of this very man (Ove) standing beside me here came all the way from Bayelsa and said he had a special power to enter the house and search it.

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“He said all I needed to do was to show him the house, and he made me to understand that with the power he acquired from India he would be able to know whether the money was there or not.

“When we got there, he told me that the spirit had told him that there was money in the house, and that we should give him a little time to work on it,’’ he said.

Sanusi said he never knew that Ove and his unidentified brother had already approached the panel to inform it about the money.

Festus Adebayo, HousingNews, Abuja.

Council Wants Efficient Building Code In Nigeria

 

The President, International Code Council-Nigeria National Chapter (ICC-NNC), Dr Maurice Ngwaba has called for efficient building code for Nigeria.

Ngwaba made this call at the ICC-NNC 2nd Educational Seminar in Lagos Wednesday with the theme: ‘Developing and Implementing Modern Building Codes for Resilience and Sustainability’.

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According to him, efficient building code will contribute to raising the quality of lives and safety of the property on built environment.

“Nigeria does not have efficient building code and building code processes.
“And this does not speak well of the country about to celebrate its 58th Independence Day on October. 1.
“ICC-NNC is not a statutory body and does not make, adopt or enforce codes.
“All these are functions of governments.


“However, as citizenry organised knowledge organisation, ICC-NNC, will progressively seek ways to support the building industry laws.
“This it will do to help improve the health, life and safety of Nigerians as well as share information that reduce risks of disasters and enhance the ability of communities to be resilience,” he said.

Ngwaba said that as new cities and developments spring up across the country, professionals would be relied on to engage in the planning, designing, and development of standardised property that would stand the test of time.

The Executive Director of Sustainable Programme, ICC,Mr David Walls, said that the International Code served as a model which could be adopted and amended to suit the locality.

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A representative of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Johannesburg, Ms Suma Mohutsiwa, said that the UL had been partnering with key organisations to test and ensure that whatever was produced in any part of the world met local standards.

She said that in doing this, UL sets up code committees and stakeholders to make inputs and ensure that due processes were followed to develop standards.

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Mohutsiwa said that UL works had helped the insurance companies and to reduce fire disasters in buildings that would otherwise have claimed many lives and property.

Our source reports that the Federal Government on June 12 approved a new national building code that will regulate construction with the aim of improving on measures to safeguard lives and property in the country.

OPIC’s 80% local inputs sourcing raises hope for low-cost housing

 

Nigeria is today the second most expensive housing market in Africa, after Angola, and one of the reasons frequently cited for the high house price in the country is the cost of building materials which are largely (about 60 percent) imported.

It is estimated that building material constitutes 20-30 percent of total construction cost, making the new initiative by the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) on sourcing building materials locally not only attractive, but also a source of hope for low cost housing.

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OPIC is now offering prospective buyers houses constructed with 80 percent locally sourced inputs. Apart from its capacity to reduce house price, the initiative is also part of efforts to boost the country’s economy, creating direct and indirect job opportunities for Nigerians.

The corporation is an arm of Ogun State’s Ministries of Housing and Commerce and Industry. It is a frontline property investment and development company in Nigeria, currently making efforts to create housing hubs along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway corridor.

The expansive New Makun City housing project at Sagamu interchange and the MTR Garden Estates at Isheri end of the expressway are testaments of the corporation’s drive towards providing affordable housing for home buyers and investors.

According to Jide Odusolu, managing director of OPIC, 256 housing units will be completed in the first phase and delivered to prospective allottees in the second quarter of this year. This is in addition to constructing several kilometres of link roads from Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the new estates.

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OPIC has earmarked N4.5 billion for capital projects to cover the development of housing units and link roads to both New Makun City and MTR Garden Estates; rehabilitate roads, repair and upgrade housing units in both Agbara Residential Estates in Agbara and Alamala Estates in Abeokuta.

There is high expectation that with this drive to open up local communities with good roads network coupled with the local sourcing of building inputs, access to housing will be a lot easier for a good number of people, especially the low income earners.

Building materials prices in Nigeria are way out of the reach of many would-be builders. There was however, a significant drop in the prices of these materials in the first half of this year (H1 2018).

BusinessDay had, in an earlier report, disclosed that in the material prices was a good reason for builders who had abandoned their projects at the peak of economic recession to return to site and those wishing to start new projects to move to site.

Michael Jideofor, a building technologist, notes that the twin evils of high inflation and exchange rates escalated commodity prices, including those of building materials, leading to meteoric and unsustainable rise in construction cost and stalling of many building projects.

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Depending on the brand, the price of cement, a major building component, has dropped to between N2,550 and N2,600 in H1,2018, down from between N2,700 and N2,900 in corresponding period in 2017, representing about 8 percent drop in price.

This means where a builder would have spent close to N300, 000 to buy 100 bags of cement in H1,2017, he would now spend about N260,000, gaining close to N40,000 which is enough for him to buy a tipper load of gravel.

But while the price of sandcrete (9inch) block has dropped to 210 in H1 2018 and to N170 at the moment, down from N220 in H1 2017, the price of aluminum roofing sheets (0.55mm) has gone up 7 percent to N2,700 in H1 2018, up from N2,500 in H1,2017.

The price of cables (6mm/coil) has also come down to N35,000 in H1 2018, down from N38,000 in H1 2017, representing -9 percent drop. Similarly, the price of paving stone 60mm (local), which is very much in vogue for builders, has dropped from N2,100 in H1 2017 to N1,800, representing -17 percent drop in price.

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