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Experts advocate strategic innovations to boost estate agency practice, kick against foreign competitors

 

Against the backdrop of the unhealthy competition from foreign players in the country’s estate agency practice, members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, have advocated strategic innovations as a way of remaining relevant in business and to boost the sub-sector of the economy.

This was the outcome of the one-day seminar on Prospects and Challenges of International Competition in the Business of Real Estate, organised by the Estate Agency and Marketing Business Division of NIESV in Lagos last week.

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Leading the discussion, Mr. Bode Adediji, Chairman, Bode Adediji Partners, and past President, NIESV, noted that the sector is presently faced with so many challenges among which are the impact of recession, ignorance and complacency and lack of capital for investment and marginalisation as well as international competition among others. And surviving in a situation like this according to him, would require practitioners to make clients have greater degree of trust in the services rendered to them, just as there must be expertise and confidence in the services rendered to customers.

The former NIESV boss who said it has become obvious that the most crucial and disruptive aspect of the international competition is particularly reflected in the premium and eyebrow segment of the real estate market, added: “Domestic practitioners must, as of necessity, understudy the composition and modus-operandi of international competition so that the required change in the conventional attitudes, practice and emphasis can be effected pragmatically and not merely symbolically as is prevalent now. “Recapitalisation, innovation, technology among others, are sacrosanct, if the local firms hope to survive the audacity and the scourge of the foreign competitors in Nigeria.”

Mr. Gboyega Fatimilehin of Diya Fatimilehin & Co, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, who spoke on The Need to Raise the Bar in Line with Best Practice, attributed the incursion of foreign players in the industry to the nation’s increase in Gross Domestic Product, technology disruptions and the observed investment opportunities in the country.

Advising NIESV to consolidate for growth by putting in place continuous training and workshops for members to build competence as well as confidence in their operations, Fatimilehin stated that for the Nigerian real estate industry to be competitive and attract investment, real estate practice must have higher standards, stressing that this will remove constraints in the market and allow local practitioners to compete with the global real estate firms that have entered Nigerian market.

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NIESV’s President, Mr. Rowland Agbonta, in his remark, said the recent pronouncement by the court that lawyers have no business in property transaction has brought a new ray of hope to practitioners, stressing that it is high time that quacks in the profession were fished out and punished. According to him: “Agency practice has become an important area of real estate business and so everything that needs to be done to protect that arm of the profession must be put in place.”

In his remark, the Chairman, Faculty of Estate Agency and Marketing, NIESV, Sam Eboigbe, said the seminar was to draw attention of estate agency practitioners nationwide to the professional embarrassments of surrendering the larger chunk of its cake to foreign competitors. “The battle for the soul of estate agency has been largely local in nature and the faculty some years ago, championed the establishment and the approval of a body called Association of Estate Agency of Nigeria. This became necessary as a result of the poor public perception and image of estate agents, which has negatively impacted the profession and institution.

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The question now on the lips of concerned colleagues is, will there be another association that would be dedicated to foreign competition? he asked. Earlier, while speaking, Mr. Joe Idudu, a former president of NIESV expressed worries that the industry has become an all-comers affair for those who ordinarily don’t have business in the sector because of its lucrativeness.

He posited that the incursion of foreign players in Nigerian real estate has worsened the ability of local players to survive in the country. In a lecture titled: A well structured partnership, a case study of a flourishing firm of estate surveyors and valuers, Idudu challenged members to be innovative in structuring their firms, imbibe the culture of honesty and sincerity of purpose in dealing with clients and colleagues in the profession.

Kingsley Adegboye

 

Nigeria’s Infrastructure Development Matters to Japan – Yutaka Kikuta

 

The new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta, arrived in Nigeria recently to assume duty. In this interview, he speaks about the importance of the up-coming Tokoyo International Conference on African Development holding in Tokyo, between October 6 and 7; the trade relations between Nigeria and Japan among other other bilateral trade issues. Iyobosa Uwugiaren provides the excerpt:

Can you tell us more about the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)?
The TICAD is not one of the donor-conference being organised by Japan for African countries; it is a high level summit/international conference on African development initiated by Japan in 1993, which is being co-hosted by Japan, UN, UNDP, World Bank, and African Union Commission (AUC). It is held every five-year till TICAD V (2013) and every three-year since TICAD VI (2016) and this year TICAD VII will be held in Yokohama, Japan. It is a kind of African-ownership discussion by African leaders with international partners and organised by Japan and other international organisations. TICAD is a process of engagement among African leaders and other international organisations on how to implement series of TICAD’s meetings, ministerial meeting to review and plan how to implement the decisions of previous TICAD and prepare for the coming meeting.

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Tell us the uniqueness and importance of TICAD?
It is unique in true sense of the world. It is a strong long-term commitment by Japanese government to fostering peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnership. It started in 1993 and stresses the importance of Africa’s ownership of its development, as well as the partnership between Africa and the international community for African development. Let me also stress the openness and transparency of the meeting over the years in the exchange of views amongst the conference delegates, by all international partners involved, not only African countries but also international organisations, private sector, partner countries, including Asian countries like China; and civil society organisations. But the ownership is on the African leadership side; how African countries can develop in future and how international partners, including Japan can assist.

What role is the Nigerian government playing in this international meeting?
I need to draw attention to the importance of the TICAD. Nigeria is playing an important role. President Muhammadu Buhari attended the previous one that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2016. Japan is part of the process to see how we can develop Africa as a whole. However, the role of Nigeria is its decision, how it can be part of the conversation and implementation plans for the future development of Nigeria.

Was Nigerian government invited for the TICAD?
Of course; we have sent invitation to the government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs and we have received a kind of positive signal from the government that it will send a very high-ranking political officials for the meeting, and we are very much encouraged.

What are the expectations from the meeting?
Like I said earlier, the Ministerial Meeting is a kind of review meeting concerning what was committed in the previous meeting, in Nairobi, Kenya; and also, to discuss the agenda for the next year TICAD. It is a very important meeting in the TICAD’s process. The involvement of Nigeria in the process is very important, and it is for the future development of the country.

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Share with us your areas of engagement with the Nigerian government since you arrived the country?

This is my fourth month since my arrival. I arrived Nigeria on May 24, 2018 to take up this position. My engagement has been on three pillars: the first is economic; the second pillar is development and the third is enhancing the people to people exchange. In terms of development, we are supporting Nigeria in infrastructure development such as water, electricity, transportation, information communication technology, software development and others. I strongly believe that helping Japanese companies in Nigeria to develop is in the best interest of Nigerians. They can create many jobs; they can enhance and transfer technology development to Nigeria. The philosophy of Japanese government is that we work for the receipting country. In the development, there are many commitments that have been made by TICAD’s process.

In that process, we have our economic, development and skills acquisition cooperation/plans for each African country. In case of plans for Nigeria, we have mainly three pillars in our assistance towards Nigeria. One is infrastructure, the second is health and the third is a kind of emergency human-career aide through a long-term sustainable aid to the people. So, based on their philosophy and their discussion in the TICAD’s process, we develop our assistance plan for each country. The second pillar is the people to people exchange. Before I came here, I heard a lot about Nigeria by Japanese people. But my perception about Nigeria has since changed after my arrival. We should make effort to convey the real image of Nigeria to the Japanese people.

The information about Nigeria as economic and political powerhouse in Africa, its rich culture, music, movies and other are very scarce in Japan. It is only negative things like Boko Haram activities, crimes and other bad things that are available there. But after my arrival here, I found out that though Nigeria has its own challenges; I don’t deny it: Nigeria has a lot of challenges; Japan also has its own challenges, but Nigeria is charming and has great human resources, talented people, and young creative people. I will like to convey all these beautiful things to the Japanese people. I will also like to convey to Nigeria, the beauty of the Japanese people.

We need to develop a mechanism for information sharing between the two countries. With population of approximately 200 million people and its abundant natural resources, Nigeria is a great country. For us, Nigeria is an extremely important country to promote our diplomacy towards the African region. In this regard, it was my honour to come to such a great country and serve as an Ambassador representing the Government of Japan. If I look at its cultural aspects, Nigeria is a prominent cultural giant in the areas of literature, music and film, while it is also an information hub. It is famous for influential authors such as Prof. Wole Soyinka who is the first African writer awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, talented music artists with Nigeria being the origin of Afrobeat, and its film industry known as Nollywood, which is often compared with Hollywood or Bollywood. Therefore, it is my pleasure to be able to work in such a culturally rich country and strengthen the bilateral relationship through cultural exchange.

What is the trade relationship between Nigeria and Japan like?
We attach great importance to the relationship between us and Nigeria because Nigeria is a very important country to Japan strategically as well as economically because as you well know, Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa. 70 per cent of the GDP of the African continent is shared by Nigeria, and the population as you well know. Now Nigeria is allocated number seven in the world, and in the future, it will be India, China and Nigeria. Everybody knows that. Relationship including trade relationship or investment is important for Japan and Nigeria. Nigeria is a unique country to Japan; many people think that Japan sends a lot to Nigeria or any part of the world; but, we import a lot from Nigeria. Japan imports a lot more than we export to Nigeria; so, the trade balance is in favour of Nigeria. Every year, this trend is continuing in favour of Nigeria. And one of the greatest commodities we import from Nigeria is natural gas.

I am from Fukushima; seven years ago, we had a massive earthquake, tsunami and even the nuclear power plant explosion and Japanese energy resources need to sustain economic growth. Here comes Nigeria, we import a lot of natural gas from Nigeria, especially after the great East Japan earthquake, the amount increased, and we see it every year. Each country Nigeria sells its natural, it is Japan; you take your natural gas to other countries like Spain, but Japan is the highest. I think very few Nigerian people know this–that Nigeria currently supports the energy resources of Japan for the sustainable economic development of Japan, so we are very grateful to Nigeria.

How do you think Nigeria and Japan can sustain this relationship?
That is where we are working very much on. One possible area is continuation of this kind of trade. Now, a number of Japanese companies that are interested to have their businesses in natural gas resources from Nigeria are discussing contracts. Other areas that Japanese companies like you see here are Yamaha; automobile makers like Honda, and big names are coming to Nigeria. This shows the number of Japanese companies operating in Nigeria has being on the rise for many years. In late 1980s and 1990s, there were lots of Japanese companies operating here, the number reduced for sometimes but since 2009, it is on the rise again. And here as you know, these two years, Nigeria’s economy was on minus growth ratio. So, naturally the number has not increased; however, after the recession of Nigeria the numbers are picking up, and if you see those companies – Sony and Yamaha, are big names, and we have the records that the numbers are even on the rise again, and many other big names are looking at how to start their business in Nigeria. Before I came here, I had a lot of interviews in Japan.

I met with the leaders of the big Japanese companies and I felt that they are interested to start their business in Nigeria. They have not yet decided to come into Nigeria, but they have the great interest on how to explore the actuality on ground. Even commerce or trading companies or even start-up companies are quite interested to have their businesses start up in Nigeria. I recently visited Lagos and met with companies, and I felt very good with the attitudes of Japanese companies. I felt that if we handle those obstacles or barriers correctly, Nigeria and Japan have a brighter future in terms of trade relationship.

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You know very well that political stability in Nigeria also determines economic progress. Is there anything the Japanese government is doing to assist the democratic process in Nigeria, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections?
We will be happy to assist in whatever way we can; but basically, I will like to say that ensuring that there is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful process is the responsibility of the Nigerian leaders and the people. It is not the kind of aide that we can give.

It is not the responsibility of Japan to ensure peaceful election in Nigeria. I will like to say that Nigerian people have their stake to democratic election. But, if there is anything we can help, for example, sending election observer team, we will be happy to do that. Basically, Japan will join the international community to keep a close eye on the process, and if there is any need, we will issue a kind of message to the leadership of Nigeria. But, I will like to say, basically, it is Nigeria’s job.

What do you think is the future of Nigeria?
Many ambassadors I met here explain to me how to see the glass: glass half full of water or glass half empty. But, I take the view that Nigeria has good potential for the future. Of course, you have many challenges, but you have great human and natural resources. You have the potential for the future and Japan is very happy to assist in any way. We are trying to help those who try their efforts at self-help, and that is Japanese philosophy; we just don’t give fish, we teach people how to catch the fish.

Since you came to Nigeria, is there anything you find strange?
No; actually, my previous post was New Delhi in India; so, I didn’t find any problem adapting myself to the life here. Rather, I find it enjoyable, especially for the people. Nigerian people have smiles and very good sense of humour. When I throw any jokes, I got great response from the people. I think the human resource is the asset you have for the future, and at the same time, increase in population in the future will cause great challenge — on how to feed those young generations; how you can keep the jobs for those young generations; that is a very important challenge to Nigeria. If it doesn’t go well, it could lead to social instability, crimes and unfortunately serious terrorist activities. So, I do hope, and I have the confidence that Nigerian people together with the assistance of the international community, will face those problems and find a solution. That is my view.

Iyobosa Uwugiaren

How Gov Bello reverses infrastructure decay – Commissioner

 

Infrastructure developments have always taken the front burner as a yard stick for measuring the performances of all levels of government.
In Niger state, how the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is reversing infrastructure decays as a means of development recently took the centre stage in the scrutiny of the administration’s scorecard as presented by the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure Development, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe Kagara, in a interview with the Niger state media strategy committee.

In the interview with news men the commissioner explained that the task of my ministry has to do with infrastructure development.
“We have three major components of the ministry. They are the civil engineering department, electrical and mechanical department and public building department. These three departments are saddled with the responsibility of infrastructure development of the state.” he said

Has the ministry delivered on its mandate? Yes, since the inception of this government in 2015, the dream of the Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, is to revitalise the already decaying system.
He came at the time when virtually all the infrastructural facilities in the state needed urgent attention.
And, unfortunately, we came the country was passing through economic recession.
The amount of money available for the government for infrastructural development was very meager.
However, despite this challenge he did his best to ensure that he executed projects to make the state better than he met it.

Is it true that the Governor Bello administration does not embark on gigantic projects? Let me put this question in the right perceptive. In other words, people are asking while we do not have white elephant projects as a government.
The simple answer is that we needed to begin to address issues and projects that have direct bearing with the people, especially those in rural communities, rather than embarking on white elephant projects that would not benefit the common man.

The issue of potable water, good roads and attention to public institutions which were in decayed state.
That is the reason why Governor Sani Bello has intervened virtually everywhere in all sectors.
As you can see there were major investments in education, health care, youths and women empowerment as well as infrastructure. Gov Bello’s infrastructure devt scorecard Infrastructure here is our main concern as ministry of works. The Governor was able to rehabilitate and build new roads amounting to billions of naira. The same is true in the electrification of several rural communities.

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There were lots of interventions in the power sector towards improving power supply in the state.
Some public institutions also have face-lift, we have the judiciary, state House of Assembly, fire service, police formations and many others. People might see these as little intervention, but they have gone a long way in addressing some of the basic needs of the people. Don’t forget that we came at a time when security challenges were everywhere. Therefore, the need to invest on security became paramount not only by addressing security situation, but substantial investment was also made in reforming the structures that accommodate these security agencies.

That is why we have interventions in renovations of police divisions and outposts across the state.
As a state and as a ministry, we are able to do the best we can to ensure that more rural communities are linked up to urban communities in order to reduce rural – urban migration. Executed road projects This is a sort of holistic information about the activities of the ministry. I believe you may want to ask specific questions about what I am talking about. Let begin with road network.

In Minna, our first major road intervention was the Sabon Gari road that linked to UK Bello Arts Theatre.
That project was conceived and completed by this administration within the first hundred days of the governor in office at the cost of N205, 221, 937, 64. To the glory of this administration we are able to construct the Makera road, complete dualisation of Market – Kuta road awarded at the cost N1.09 billion, construction of the Fadikpe – Gbagenu road at the cost of N659, 476, 536.

We also have the Brighter school – Heema school – NNPC mega station road awarded at the cost of N736, 217 million, the Sarki Bosso road and the New York road that is the London street – FUT Bosso campus road. Currently we are having five number roads on the London Street, the Bosso Low Cost axis as well as Gongo Maileli.

In addition, to the credit of this administration, we completed the Dattijo Aliyu road which was awarded by the administration of late Engineer Abdulkadir Kure which was abandoned. This administration completed it and annexed it to the commissioners’ road that burst out to Imani junction. All these roads were constructed within Minna. This same administration has same major interventions in Bida, Kontagora and Suleja.

For instance, we have done Tegna township roads rehabilitation at the contract sum of N341, 996,171.
It is important for me to also mention the rehabilitation/maintenance of Minna – Suleja – Lambata – Diko road in which we have expended over N3 billion. We also have interventions in the 10km roads of Kuta, Agaie, Borgu and hosts of others. I will provide the statistics of these projects.

However, from the list of road projects awarded by government, you will discover that government has committed over N23 billion to road constructions within the state in the past three years. It is also very important to say that most of the projects have been completed while others are at various stages of completion.

Electricity distribution concerns We have a number of electrification projects executed across the state.
When we came on board Rafi local government was in total black out for a period of time, which prompted this government to provide 7.5 MBS substation in Kagara. This was the first intervention in electrification in Niger state. We also took the electrification of three major communities in Rafi local government namely Kusheriki, Zara and Gidigori. We have these interventions in several other communities in zone A cutting across Katcha, Bida, Lavun and Mokwa.

The state government is constructing another substation to boost electricity supply in Mokwa and its environs. This is administration has procured more than 300 transformers distributed across the state in other to boost electricity supply to several communities. We have another 7.5 MBN sub-station at Yelwa ready to be commissioned in addition to many other interventions in the power sub-sector.

On judiciary and legislature In the area of public building like I said earlier, we have carried out lots of interventions in building and renovation of court rooms, police divisions and outposts. In the same vein, we extended infrastructural development to the legislative arm of government and as you can see the Niger state House of Assembly is having a facelift.

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We have started the construction of another wing of the Assembly Complex to accommodate members who are not having offices. The project is aimed at providing our lawmakers good working environment.
This administration is desirous of addressing the challenge of inadequate offices at the Assembly.
Minna – Suleja road repairs As you well know, Niger state has about 10% of the total land mass of the country. This translates into having more number of federal roads in the country.

Unfortunately, when we came in, all these roads were not in good condition. As a responsive government, we took it upon ourselves to intervene in addressing this challenge, even though there are not state government projects. Of particular note is the Minna – Suleja road. The Minna – Suleja road has been awarded by the federal government to Salini but unfortunately the funding wasn’t forthcoming.

As a responsive state and responsive government we felt the need to invest addressing the situation.
As you can see we have contractor firm, Tracta Company presently working on site in part of the road contracted by the state government. Initially we gave them between Kakaki Gwakutu which was the first face of the contract. It has now been extended to Lambata to address the major challenges of that road.

We are made to understand the funding arrangement between the federal government and its contractor – Salini is to cover only three billion naira of the Sukuk funding arrangement and that project will  terminate and Lambata until another appropriation probably in the 2019 budget.

However, we felt that waiting for 2019 will lead to loss of more lives on that road. Therefore, Governor Sani Bello insisted that we must give deserved attention in addressing the problem of the road within shortest possible time. So far, so good, our contractor is on site and we are hopeful that the project will be completed very soon. I should point out the fact that if not for the heavy rains the contractor would have completed the project by now.

I am satisfied with the level of work done on site which has attained more that 80 per cent completion.
As I said earlier, government has spent more than three billion naira on rehabilitation of portions of the road. Collapsed bridges As you are aware, we just came back from Birni Boka where we inspected a bridge that collapsed on a federal road. The road had been awarded to a contractor but yet to mobilise to site. We have a major wash out of the road in the area.

As a way of mitigating the sufferings of our people in that area, the governor has directed the ministry of works to take immediate action in addressing that challenge. He felt that we do not have to wait for the federal government because the people plying that road are Nigerlites and as a responsible government we must do everything possible to address their plight.

As I am talking to you now I am mobilising to commence work on that site. The Kontagora – Makera road where another bridge collapsed last year is another eye sore. We understand that it has actually been awarded by the federal government but contractors yet to resume on site. There are other interventions on the federal roads by this administration, for instance in Tegna around the junction that connects Minna, Kagara and Kontagora was an eye sore. That portion was addressed by the state government.
We equally had such situation in Kagara, from the secretariat passing through the sharp bend to the bridge before the hospital.

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Let me emphasis that we used to record accident in this portion almost on daily basis before our intervention and since we did the work, cases of accident have become a thing of the past in the place.
There are other interventions even along Makera – Mokwa road done by the state government.
So Niger state government has committed a colossal amount of money in addressing the problem of bad onditions of federal roads within the state even when the federal government is say that it may not refund us Dilapidated federal roads in Niger That is one thing this administration has been battling with since its inception.

Each time we are able to address out interstate roads, there will be break down on the truck A road which is the federal government road and diversion of heavy truck and trailers into our roads will set in.
Before we know it, the articulated vehicles will destroy our roads and take us back to square one.
You can see the condition of our roads even within the Minna metropolis as continuously destroyed by these heavy duty trucks.

It is not as if these state roads are bad, but because of the heavy trucks plying them, we always have issues of some portions collapsing.

For instance, a tanker that is supposed to carry 33,000 litres of fuel would carry 60, 000 litres and it is such overloads that destroy our roads. It may interest you to know that we have a major wash out last week on Minna – Bida road, during which we did not see the trailers again.

However we were able to fix the road within 24 hours and within moments the trailers were back on the road. As a government we are facing this challenge and I am using this medium to call on the federal government to pay more attention on the federal roads, particularly the ones that passed through Niger state.

AIDELOJE OJO

US moves to seize ex-oil minister Diezani’s $144m assets

 

– The US government wants to take over assets belonging to Diezani in America and its ally countries
– A lawsuit has been filed to ensure that the US can go after the assets which are proceeds of illicit contracts
– Kenneth Blanco, acting assistant attorney general, says the US will return the assets back to the people they were diverted from

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The US government has kicked off move to seize assets within its shores owned by former petroleum minister Alison Diezani-Madueke which were proceeds of shady contracts.

According to the report, the US filed a suit to recover $144 million in assets through its justice department’s kleptocracy asset recovery initiative.

The suit filed on Friday, September 21 in Houston, Texas is going after assets acquired from contracts used to launder funds through the US.

The suit said cronies of the former oil minister of Nigeria acquired real estate worth millions for her in London and also bought her over $1 million worth of furniture and artwork in Houston.
“Corrupt foreign officials and business executives should make no mistake: if illicit funds are within the reach of the United States, we will seek to forfeit them and to return them to the victims from whom they were stolen,” Kenneth Blanco, acting assistant attorney general, said.

Former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, could face a jail term of between 12-15 years in prison if found guilty of fraud which reportedly occurred while she served as minister.

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Disclosing this on Tuesday, July 18, the personal assistant to the president on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, said the former minister is also expected to name over 200 accomplice who connived, helped or participated in one of the biggest oil fraud Nigeria has ever had.

The presidential aide in a Facebook post titled, The Biggest Oil Industry Heist, Ever, cited a news report which stated that that Diezani is not prepared to go down alone as she is preparing

Former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, could face a jail term of between 12-15 years in prison if found guilty of fraud which reportedly occurred while she served as minister.

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Disclosing this on Tuesday, July 18, the personal assistant to the president on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, said the former minister is also expected to name over 200 accomplice who connived, helped or participated in one of the biggest oil fraud Nigeria has ever had.

The presidential aide in a Facebook post titled, The Biggest Oil Industry Heist, Ever, cited a news report which stated that that Diezani is not prepared to go down alone as she is preparing to name all her accomplices.

Akinyemi Akinrujomu

“Build comfortable and cost effective homes” – Arc. Gabriel Yakubu Aduku

The Guest Lecturer at the 4th Distinguished Lecture Series of the Nigerian Institute of Architects’ (NIA), Chief Arc. Gabriel Yakubu Aduku has enjoined Nigerian architects to ensure they display the highest level of professionalism in every aspect of their field.

He made this statement while delivering his lecture alongside the launching of his book “Beyond Simple lines 2” at the Shehu Musa Yardua centre, Abuja.

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The annual event of the NIA which was well attended by dignitaries in the built society was aimed at celebrating the collective history, achievements and the projection of the Nigerian architect and architecture in the society.

Arc. Gabriel Yakubu Aduku delivering his distinguished lecture at the auditorium of the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja

While citing the various economic and ecological changes and uncertainties the architectural sector was facing; the 14th NIA President Arc. Garbiel stressed that Nigeria as a country is in a state of hopelessness and faces a lot of challenges which hinders development. He said

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“it is a fact, many sites are abandoned for 5years, 10 years and you want to resuscitate it because the budget is about to be implemented and you find out that the figure is twice or three times more than the original contract amount, they even go on to complicate you in finishing the project, so the project will end up being abandoned”

Presentation and Launching of Arc. Aduku’s book “Beyond Simple Lines” &” Dotted Lines” with dignitaries in the built environment

He added that, “buildings are not only to be built everywhere; rather they should be comfortable and cost effective in construction and maintenance”.

While unveiling and launching the book “Beyond simple lines 2” which was a presentation of nearly 5 decade of architectural practice in Nigeria, Arc. Tunde Imolehin advised every architect to have a copy of the book cause it will help groom and guide them in their practice.

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Concluding his lecture, Arc. Gabriel emphasized on the need for promoting architectural works in forms of books and magazines in the mass media as a reference point for upcoming professionals in the field and advised that every form of quackery in the practice leading to building failures be curbed out.

Wilson Ifeoma, HousingNews, Abuja

AG Mortgage Bank promotes affordable housing in Enugu

AG Mortgage Bank Plc., a Primary Mortgage Bank in the country, has enabled no fewer than 89 subscribers in Enugu to become home owners under the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme designed to promote home ownership across the country.

The keys to the houses, according to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer , AG Mortgage Bank Plc, Mr.  Ngozi Anyogu, were delivered to the happy home owners recently in Enugu.

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According to the Chief Executive Officer, the houses were developed by the COPEN group, a reputable property development company with projects across the country.

All the houses are within the Jedidiah Gardens Enugu which provides a good ambience for home owners

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AG Mortgage Bank “is an active operator of the NHF Scheme, and has disbursed in excess of N3 billion to over 390 NHF beneficiaries” he said.

Access to mortgage loan under the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria – National Housing Fund Scheme, according to the Chief Executive is open to all Nigerians with verifiable stream of income who are contributors to the NHF scheme.

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Anyogu urged Nigerians in all spheres of endeavour to take advantage of FMBN/NHF scheme and AG Mortgage Bank’s other mortgage products namely: The Tenant – Owner -Mortgage (TOM); a rent to own programme, Leap Into Mortgage (LIMO) product, an incremental mortgage arrangement, that fits home buyers at different income levels.

Homebuyer Education: Things you must consider before buying a Home

 

How well do you really understand the homebuying process? Taking  into consideration necessary homebuying factors will do more than teach you how to get a mortgage or pull together a down payment. It will help you determine the amount of home you can afford without endangering other lifetime financial goals.

If you think this information is just for first-timers, think again. Real estate markets change, and so do homebuying environments. It is worth considering gathering the essential information each time you’re making a home purchase, especially if it has been a significant number of years between purchases. These homebuying factors can keep you up to date on what you’ll need to know this time around.

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Here are some of the major topics a thorough homebuyer should take note of:

1. Homebuying readiness. Explore the general questions around a homebuying decision, such as why you want to settle in a particular area, how long you plan to stay, what kind of property you’re considering and where you are in your career and lifestyle. You may also be asked to answer specific financial questions to support your thinking, which should not be shared with others. This will help you determine answers to the big questions, such as whether you should buy a home or stick with renting.

2. Budgeting and credit. This will help you evaluate how you handle money. Do you have a budget? If not, do you know how to create one? Do you understand your credit rating and what goes into determining your score? If you have debt, how are your efforts going to pay it off? Essentially, what you don’t know about spending and borrowing can limit your ability to buy a home.

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3. Preapproval for mortgage financing. Navigate the nitty-gritty of the loan process – what a mortgage is, the various types of mortgages, how they work and what it takes to be preapproved for a mortgage. Pre-approval involves filling out a full mortgage application, typically with a fee to cover an extensive credit check as if you were actually buying a home. Pre-approval, unlike prequalification, allows a potential borrower to receive a loan commitment for a specific amount, which can grease the wheels in a potential purchase.

4. Knowing what you can afford. Analyze the above and consider the reality of what kind of property you can really afford to buy. Look at price limits and locations and ways to get more for your money, including specific local, state and federal borrowing programs you may qualify for. Buying your dream home can seem nice, but it can turn into a nightmare if you can’t afford the home while living within your means.

5. Your home search. Determine how, when and where to shop for specific properties within the neighborhoods you are interested in and how to get the best overall deal for what you’re buying.

6. What you’ll need to close a home sale in your chosen community. Buying a home can also include an introduction to the specific regulatory and cost environment where you’re planning to live. For example, you should take note of such things as community-specific housing laws and zoning restrictions that could affect what you’ll be investing in the property, property tax issues (particularly if an assessment is pending), your home titling process, inspection requirements and the other costs linked to legal processes and paperwork.

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7. The aftermath. You should have you a wide picture of the costs you’ll face after the sale and how to manage them so you don’t put the rest of your finances in jeopardy. Being too “house poor” not only puts you at a risk of losing the property, it can threaten other important financial goals.

If you have your eye on a particular property around you, reach out to the owner and ask your questions based on the factors listed above.  Also, get a second opinion – if you work with a qualified financial professional, ask what he or she thinks about the  the information given by the property owner and its benefits.

Don’t think narrowly about what you can get out of it. It’s not just about getting the mortgage. It’s a chance to ask about how a home purchase may affect other aspects of your financial life – all personal finance goals should be considered equally.

Bottom line: Since the  collapse of the mortgage industry , it’s been a new day in residential homebuying. Whether you’re buying your first home or beyond, taking a homebuyer education class can help you understand the mortgage process, improve your credit and shop smarter for a home you can actually afford.

Nathaniel Sillin

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

 

A steel-reinforced concrete, is so much needed material in the countries in a development. But, many of them do not have it and is very expensive and too much is needed to buy or produce it. But, in order to be saved from such crises the Laboratory of Future Cities in Singapore suggested the bamboo as a great alternative. It is abundant, sustainable, extremely resilient, which are great specifics for construction materials.

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Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand. Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global MARKET dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo. Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.

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In trials of tensile strength, bamboo outperforms most other materials, reinforcement steel included. It achieves this strength through its hollow, tubular structure, evolved over millennia to resist wind forces in its natural habitat. This lightweight structure also makes it easy to harvest and transport. Due to its incredibly rapid growth cycle and the variety of areas in which it is able to grow, bamboo is also extremely cheap. Such rapid growth plant growth requires the grass to absorb large quantities of CO2, meaning that its cultivation as a building material would help reduce the rate of climate change. These factors alone are incentive for INVESTMENT in developing bamboo as reinforcement.

Indeed, despite these benefits, there is still work to do in overcoming bamboo’s limitations. Contraction and expansion is one such limitation, caused by both temperature changes and water absorption. The grass is also susceptible to structural weakness caused by fungus and simple biodegradation. Ironically, many of the countries that would benefit from bamboo reinforcement also lack the resources to develop it as a viable alternative to the steel on which they currently rely.

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The Future Cities Laboratory is currently conducting research to determine the full gamut of applications that bamboo has as a construction material. Their experimentation in this field has earned them a Zumtobel Group Award.

Kekanaan

Nigerian engineers can now practice in 48 countries

 

The President of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kashim Ali, has said that the council has become a member of the Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP).

He said with the membership, Nigerian engineers can now practice in 48 member countries, including Australia, Malaysia, Pakistan, China amongst others.

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Kashim disclosed this during an accreditation visit by delegates from the board of Malaysia and Pakistan engineering council to COREN office in Abuja.

He said COREN has also applied to be member of the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) by being signatory to the Washington Accord to raise the bar of Nigerian engineering practice to match international best practice.

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He said the IEA delegation was in Nigeria to observe COREN typical engineering programme accreditation procedure.

He said, “We strongly believe that at the end of the visitations, we would have demonstrated the strength of our engineering education and proven our capacity and suitability for the attainment of the provisional signatory status to the Washington Accord. COREN through this will be able to forge intra and inter-regional cooperation for Engineering Accreditation and mobility of certified engineering personnel within Africa and between Africa and the world.”

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He also disclosed that the council has approved engineering programme accreditation requests of 19 institutions.

Mustapha Suleiman

Ghana Gets World Bank USD $30 Million Support

 

The World Bank has approved a $30 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to support the Government of Ghana strengthen its financial sector stability.

The support is also to improve inclusiveness for users of formal financial services and the financially excluded, particularly women, rural communities and farmers.

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Commenting on the gesture, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Henry Kerali said,

“This project will support Government’s plan to undertake reforms to deepen financial markets, promote inclusion, enhance the supervision and regulation of specialized deposit-taking financial institutions in line with Ghana’s National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy.”

A statement from the World Bank to Citi Business News said: “The Ghana Financial Sector Development Project, is a key component of the World Bank Group’s comprehensive portfolio supporting financial stability, financial inclusion and private sector competitiveness.”

It added, “It is expected to help regulators strengthen their oversight of the financial sector for a sound and stable sector. This will enable ordinary Ghanaians develop trust in the sector and benefit from access to savings and financing for investments. It will also support the education of consumers on their rights and equip them with skills and knowledge to make informed choices in the use of financial services.”

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Meanwhile the project will also promote financial inclusiveness by mainly supporting rural and community banks to expand financial services to rural areas and the underserved segments of Ghanaians.

For his part, World Bank Practice Manager for Finance & Markets, Douglas Pearce remarked,

“The increase in access to financial services is expected to create economic opportunities and contribute towards ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity.”

The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa.

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Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries.

Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

World Bank Ghana

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