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Recovered loots will be re-invested in infrastructure- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday promised to invest all looted funds to improve the nation’s infrastructure, assuring that he would also provide security to ensure peaceful elections in Benue State and other troubled parts of the country.

Speaking in Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, the Benue State capital, in continuation of his nationwide presidential campaign, Buhari said he would remain consistent in the war against corruption.

He recalled that when he went to the state in 2014 to canvass for votes, he promised to tackle three key issues, which included economy, security and war against corruption.

He said: “You will recall that when I came to canvass for your votes in 2014, l promises three things which is to improve economy, security and fight corruption. I have been able to stop importation of foreign foods.

“Although fighting corruption has remained a major challenge of this government, I will not change but be consistent and steadfast in fighting corruption and all looted funds will be used to improve infrastructures, build roads, and construct rail lines and improved power.

“We have been able to rescue 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the North-east states from the hands of Boko Haram.”

He added that his administration has been able to stop importation of foreign foods particularly rice and encouraged the farmers by making fertilizers available, thereby promoting large-scale farming across rural areas in the country.

On his part, the leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State, Senator George Akume, described PDP-led government in the state as a failed one that had refused to improve the welfare of the people of the state.

According to him, Buhari has taken a bold step to rescue Nigeria from the hands of corrupt leaders who had completely milked the country’s resources.

Akume said: “Monies meant for fighting Boko Harm were shared mercilessly among these corrupt leaders. Today, many of these people are running away from their money kept in their banks. Buhari does not love money; he was a governor in two states; a former head of state and a minister of petroleum resources, yet he has no oil well.”

He explained that the people of the state have no problems with Fulani herdsmen, saying that he was a governor for eight years and no farmer had problem with any herder.

Akume said: “We have no problem with Fulani people and therefore, nobody should hide under incompetence, lack of purposeful, senselessness and underperformance to lament.

“The most notorious problem facing Benue today is the use of livestock guards. These people have been killing Benue people because they were armed with AK47. Just on Friday, we were on governorship campaign to Guma Local Government Area (LGA) and these guards ambushed our campaign train, shot and killed one person.”

He said Benue people are fully prepared for the general election and appealed to the president to deploy more security to the state to conduct the elections.

Egypt to develop Africa through the Cairo-Cape Town road project

Egypt is set to to develop joint projects with African countries including a land road between Cairo and Cape Town.

Egypt’s Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat confirmed the reports during a Parliamentary session and said that the project one of the ministry’s bids to restore the river transport system, after it was harmed by oil subsidies.

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The Cape to Cairo Road project was a proposal since 1890s. The road will be 10.300 km long, starting from Alexandria Port on the Mediterranean Sea then Cairo, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and finally South Africa.

A section of the road running from Egypt to the borders with Sudan, has already been accomplished and is ready for operation. Moreover international finance institutions are willing to bankroll road connection projects in Africa.

Egypt, assuming the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, is leading efforts to develop Africa and has the potentials to do so, the most important of which is water, the minister noted.

Additionally, Minister Arafat pointed out that a river connection project between Alexandria and Lake Victoria should will make the country to become a gate or river transport to Central Africa through the Nile River. He added to the parliamentary committee that international finance institutions are willing to bankroll road connection projects in Africa. The project should cost about US $18bn.

Source: Njeringaru

 

South Africa to receive US $80m loan for green economy development

South Africa is set to received US $80m loan from German development bank KfW and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) to develop green economy projects across the country.

KfW executive board member Dr Stefan Peiß who was in attendance to sign the agreement together with newly appointed IDC CEO TP Nchocho, said that the loan facility dubbed the South African facility for Green Growth (SAFGG), is earmarked for local entities to invest in green economy projects that will have a beneficial impact on environment protection and resource efficiency with regard to water resource protection and conservation.

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Green economy

“The facility will also enable local entities to access funding to invest in the green economy, the result of which will be to help mitigate the impact of carbon dioxide emissions” said Dr Stefan Peiß.

“The loan facility from KfW would significantly boost the IDC’s objectives of increasing its investment in renewable energy initiatives and infrastructure related projects. Most importantly, KfW’s support has largely helped us to meet our developmental mandate especially regarding supporting the growth of local [small and medium-sized enterprises] in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, light manufacturing and tourism,” Nchocho,” CEO TP Nchocho added.Peiß also commended the IDC for its role in providing funding to small and medium-sized companies that were harnessing opportunities in the green economy.

IDC was established in 1940 by an Act of Parliament (Industrial Development Corporation Act, No. 22 of 1940) with the aim of spearheading the development of domestic industrial capacity, especially in view of the shortage of manufactured goods experienced as a result of the disruption of trade between Europe and South Africa during the Second war.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

Change is inherent to real estate market

There is some speculation locally that real estate market conditions are changing and that the market may be “slowing down.” One of the truest dynamics of the market, however, is that it’s constantly changing.

There were four changes to the prime interest rate in 2018, ultimately moving from 4.75 percent to 5.5 percent. Some people believe that when interest rates increase, home values tend to fall somewhat, all other things being equal. This assumption is based on the fact that the majority of real estate transactions use a mortgage to handle a large percentage of the purchase price; however, a percentage of the purchase price is almost always allocated to an equity position.

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In the past, the rates of return on equity positions have been very good. Borrowers have to live with the recent interest rate increases, but the returns on their equity can be lowered, and in essence the prices paid for income properties can remain stable or continue to increase.

At the start of the Great Recession in 2008, many areas in Oregon were hit hard. In general, housing prices plummeted because of an oversupply of properties and a lack of purchasing power and demand.

Locally, housing supply and demand were more in balance, fortunately, and we did not see the substantial decreases in property values as experienced in other geographic areas of Oregon.

Lane County continues to have a very limited supply of available properties for purchase, and as such, many investors will continue to pay reasonable prices for the opportunity to own an income property and perhaps take less of a return on their equity. Our metro area will continue to attract people who want to live and invest in our community.

Certain sectors of investment property are lagging behind others due to factors mostly outside our immediate area. Retail has slowed and continues to be challenging in certain market segments. Industrial construction is underway because demand for industrial buildings continues to outstrip supply. Offices may be finding it difficult to cost-out new construction, but the continued increases in rent are narrowing the gap between that cost and the economic sense of building new.

We may continue to see construction costs rise because there are hundreds of millions of dollars for projects on the horizon, such as, The University of Oregon’s Knight science center; the renovation of Hayward Field; and the renovation of Eugene schools, thanks to the school-bond measure that passed in 2018. These projects don’t require financial feasibility. Cost is the driver for all these projects, not whether they can command enough rent to justify construction. As such, the pressure will remain on construction costs, complicated by a limited supply of skilled workers and a strong demand for certain material supplies.

 

Town planners canvass for robust physical planning

The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called on the federal government to adopt robust physical planning measures in order to boost economic growth and development in Nigeria.

President of the Institute, Lekwa Olugu Ezutah, who made the call at his investiture as the 23rd national president of the Institute in Abuja over the weekend, said no form of growth in the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan(ERGP) can be sustained without adequate physical planning measures put in place.

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“From experience, countries with robust physical planning programmes have grown faster and developed more sustainably, economically and socially. The most outstanding of such experience is Singapore” he said

Ezutah also made case for the implementation of the provisions of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning law as well as the establishment of a regional and planning commission.

The NITP President also charged the newly inaugurated executive members of the Institute to complement the federal government efforts in town planning and development.

Guest speaker at the event, Awa Kalu said the association have the responsibility of assisting the federal government in developing programmes that will actualize it’s environmental planning policies.

According to Kalu, the physical planning objectives of government at both federal and states levels can only be effective if there is collaboration between the Institute and the government.

Source: Malikatu Umar Shuaibu

Six companies to construct 19 roads across 11 states in Nigeria

Dangote Group, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), and four other companies have joined in on the federal government drive to build infrastructure across Nigeria.

The companies, which also includes Lafarge Africa Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited, will build 19 roads, totaling 794.4km in 11 states across each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

This is made possible with the signing of executive order 007 2019, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari to allow private companies construct and refurbish roads across the country.

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Following the order, the two-year-old Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) has chalked a landmark achievement in accelerating infrastructure development for economic growth.

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, who listed the roads at the signing ceremony said the scheme is the outcome of efforts to think outside of the box and deploy new techniques to develop critical road infrastructure in the country.

THE EXECUTIVE ORDER

The executive order is a Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme that enables the federal government of Nigeria leverage private sector funding for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects.

It focuses on the development of eligible road infrastructure projects in an efficient and effective manner that creates value for money through private sector discipline; and guarantees participants in the scheme timely and full recovery of funds provided for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure projects through tax credits.

This executive order is one of the initiatives midwived by the Policy and Regulation Subcommittee of the Industrial Council, which is focused on implementing initiatives to incentivize investment; and reduce smuggling.

Industrialists in the council expressed their willingness to intervene in road rehabilitation and construction in their areas of operation in a thorough and transparent process that ensures the cost of construction/rehabilitation can be recouped, the Federal Ministry of Finance had conceived the idea. It promptly proposed the scheme for the Industrial Council to develop.

The Scheme is widely viewed by stakeholders who have been engaged in the public and private sectors as a quick-win in road construction and enjoys wide-spread acceptance as a means of accelerating growth within industrial clusters.

DANGOTE: THIS WILL SAVE GOVT BILLIONS

In his speech at the signing ceremony, Aliko Dangote, president and CEO of Dangote Group, stated that, “the impact is huge because it will allow private sector to use their capital, their know-how and also their efficiency in terms of delivering roads in time and the Nigerian government will be saving billions of naira.”

The Federal Executive Council approved the Industrial Council in March 2017 as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector on the industrialisation agenda to address key hindrances to the growth of manufacturing in the country.

The council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to gross domestic product and establish Nigeria as the manufacturing hub for Africa by implementing initiatives aimed at accelerating industrialization by leveraging private sector expertise and capital.

Okechukwu Enelamah, minister of industry, trade, and investment, who is one of its vice chairmen of the council, explained that, “the council’s mandate is to assist the government in implementing initiatives that will enhance the performance of the industrial sector through partnerships with the private sector.”

The leadership of the Industrial Council consists of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (Chairman); Enelamah (vice-chairman, public sector); Aliko Dangote (vice-chairman private sector); Aisha Abubakar, minister of state, industry, trade and investment, (Alternate vice-chairman, public sector); and Atedo Peterside (alternate vice-chairman, private sector).

Other infrastructure initiatives which the Industrial Council is facilitating their implementation include the ongoing the deployment of 18,000 KM of fibre across the country to improve broadband penetration; and the generation of additional 4.2GW of power to the national grid.

Five Key Factors To Keep In Mind When Setting Annual Real Estate Goals

Real estate is a constantly evolving market, shifting with changes in interest rates, economic landscapes and policies. As such, it is critically important for professionals working in the real estate market to keep track of current trends.

Yet, deciding which factors to remember when forming yearly goals can be challenging. To help, five members of Forbes Real Estate Council weigh in below on the key factors they believe are most important to remember when planning. Here’s what they said:

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1. Plan For Change

Given the pace of change impacting commercial real estate, the key for service providers is to embrace change, in particular, technological changes. It’s not a question of if the industry will change, it’s not even a question of when. The “when” is now. So, plan for change and think about how your company can be part of the future. – Greg Fogg, TenantSee

The key thing to remember when planning next year’s goals in real estate is to be aware of current conditions in the market you are investing in. By understanding what the trends are regarding days on market, interest rates and housing availability, you can make informed decisions and wise investments that will withstand any instability in the overall market. – Melissa Johnson, HomeAid, Inc.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry.

3. Stick To A Methodical Approach

Make sure you don’t get caught up in hitting numbers or projections. Instead, stick to being disciplined and methodical in your approach. Sometimes doing no deal will exceed any goals you have written down. – Scott Morongell, Morongell Capital

4. Structure Plans With An Eye To Events

We have structured our plans for the 2019-20 calendar years as net sellers of real estate. A close eye on interest rates and the presidential election will be key indicators for the market, and where we are in the cycle. If we can maintain 2.5-3% GDP growth over the next two years, any real estate acquisitions should be purchased with a recession or correction in mind. – Otto Bonahoom, Bohouse

5. Mitigate Risk

As all commercial real estate investments contain numerous amounts of inherent risk, our driving force is to mitigate that risk through two areas: diversification and limiting the use of leverage. Whenever possible, we strive to limit or eliminate the use of debt/leverage in our acquisitions. If we are able to buy our properties all-cash/debt-free we know that we will never have a lender foreclosure and a complete loss of equity as many real estate investors have suffered over the years.

Pros and cons to selling a property while it is tenanted

Buying or selling a property often comes with different challenges. One of the common situations that many property owners have had to contend with is how to handle the sale of their property while it is still tenanted.

On the other hand is the realisation that most purchasers prefer properties that are vacant or untenanted. This preference among buyers is due to the unfortunate experiences of some property purchasers who found it difficult to take possession of their property for a while due to the resistance that they faced from some stubborn tenants. This is an issue that you must deal with either as a buyer or as a seller.

There are pros and cons to selling a property while it is tenanted. Selling a property takes time and you can never tell how soon or how long it could take. If you decide to evict your tenants in preparation for a sale, you are going to lose rental income during the waiting period.

In addition, it is a less risky approach to have tenants in your property while you are attempting to sell. Should there be a downturn in the economy, for instance, at least you have some income coming in for you. Tenanted properties also happen to appeal to some investors who can easily calculate the likely return on their investment and do not mind retaining existing tenants.

On the other hand, having tenants in a property that you want to sell could present you with some challenges that could scuttle your intention to sell the property. Some tenants are hostile in such situation due to the additional costs that they know they will incur as well as time in securing another property, removal cost, and fees. In some instances, some of these tenants are in arears of rent or already in court as a result of their non-cooperation with the property owner.

The process of selling a property also puts additional pressure on the tenant. The agents who are marketing the property for sale are likely to place a signage in front or on the property. There are several strangers that the tenant will be asked to allow to inspect the property. During this period, the tenant’s privacy will be briefly infringed upon. This will also put more pressure on the tenant to look for an alternative accommodation whilst considering the appropriate schools and other conveniences for the family.

In order to make the process smooth it is best to start by notifying your tenants of your intention to sell the property personally. Respect, it is said, is a two-way street. This is far better than the approach of keeping the sale a secret from the tenants or taking them by surprise. It is okay to offer them the property if they can pay for it. I believe that most sellers will not mind selling to their tenant if they get a good deal. If the existing tenants cannot afford it, they will appreciate the gesture and will be more co-operative with the process. This is also a good time to inform them that you or your agent will inform them ahead of property inspection times.

There are several incentives that you can give to your tenants that will enable them to be more supportive of the process. If they are on a fixed term tenancy, you can inform them that you are open to an early release or termination of the agreement. If they have paid in advance for the term you can give them a proposal for reimbursement of rents paid. If they are already searching for another property, you can provide them with a good reference letter which could help in getting them another accommodation.

Whatever the situation, ensure that you follow the law. It might be a good idea to give the tenants notice to quit depending on the length of time and the mood of the market. You will need to discuss this option with your lawyer. The fact that you have commenced the process of getting them out of the property could be an attraction to the buyer.

This saves you time if any of the tenants decides to be difficult. It also helps if you are upfront with the buyer by providing him or her with the details of rent payments and the tenants. He could decide to retain them and sign a new lease or rental agreement with them.

 

Kenya is aiming to be powered entirely by green energy by 2020

Kenya’s president has announced plans to move the country to 100% green energy by 2020, as it scales up renewable investment.

With an eye on sustainable development, President Uhuru Kenyatta aims to help mitigate climate change by reducing Kenya’s carbon footprint, while creating much-needed jobs.

The move comes as the country looks to triple the number of people connected to its power grid, to reach 60% of the population.

Currently, 70% of the nation’s installed electricity capacity comes from renewable energy sources, which is more than three times the global average.

The transition to fully renewable energy could further boost the population’s access to the national power grid and reduce manufacturing production costs.

Kenya has invested heavily in geothermal power generation, which supplies low-cost, low-emissions energy. According to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report, the nation ranks 9th in the world for its geothermal power generating capacity (700 megawatts).

Africa’s largest single wind power facility is currently being developed at Lake Turkana in Kenya’s Rift Valley, with separate investments to develop other wind power plants.

An estimated 9 million Kenyan households have access to off-grid renewable energy and this figure is set to rise.

Speaking at the recent Paris Peace Forum in France, President Kenyatta called on Europe and other industrialized economies to recognize and support his nation’s investment in green energy.

Kenya co-hosted the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference with Canada and Japan, held in November.

As the cost of renewable energy falls, more nations are committing to carbon-free energy generation. Improved governmental policy support for renewables is also paving the way for continued global growth in the sector.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) data the two clean energy sources with the biggest global growth are solar power – which is expanding faster than all other renewables combined – and wind power.

China leads the world in absolute solar PV capacity and is projected to hold almost 40% of the world’s installed solar capacity by 2023. It is followed by the US, while third-placed India is expected to increase its solar capacity fourfold in the same timeframe.

Global investment in wind power reached $160 billion in 2017. Spain has committed to switching its electricity-generating sector to fully renewable sources by 2050, with a further goal of fully decarbonizing its economy shortly after.

Over the coming decade, the Spanish government plans to generate an additional 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar power capacity each year.

The ambitious plan includes the phasing out of Spanish coal mines, reskilling workers for jobs in clean energy and implementing environmental restoration programmes.

Meanwhile the UK government has pledged to double the country’s existing investment in offshore wind generation. However, overall UK investment in clean energy has fallen by nearly 50% since 2015.

UN Sustainable Development Goals call for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact. As awareness grows of the economic and environmental benefits of adopting cleaner energy sources, more policymakers are joining the fight against climate change.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Energy white paper suggests policy-makers work towards clear agreement on which policies to prioritize, and on steps to implement them.

These areas of consensus include creating a stable long-term policy framework for clean energy, carbon pricing initiatives, removing fossil-fuel subsidies, funding research into green technologies, removing barriers to energy efficiency and reforming electricity markets.

Source: Johnny Wood

FG to provide over 43,000 homes with solar power

Dr Sanusi Ohiare is the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF) at the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). In this interview, he speaks on the N1.952 billion grant the federal government has given to 26 private developers to assist them in energising several communities nationwide to connect over 43,000 households.

What was the vision for the REF and how has the agency driven it?
In 2005, when the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 which is basically the driver or the bedrock of the reforms of the current power sector was acted, it envisaged Rural Electrification Fund (REF) under the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) that will start grants to support private developers as opposed to what we use to do which is just contracts.

Since 2007, when the agency took off, this Fund was meant to be activated but for some reason, the previous management was not able to do it until President Muhammadu Buhari came and appointed this management headed by Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi as Managing Director.

What has this management done differently?

The directive for us was to quickly operationalize the Fund. We had some money, I think about N2 billion in the fund which has been there since 2007 and was never used. They did not get the right framework in place to deploy and use the Fund. There are strict criteria before you can use the Fund.

When we came in 2017, we quickly got all the framework and operational guidelines in place and approved. We advertised and got people putting in bids; we evaluated them and got board approvals and we had to review the bids again just to be sure.

We now have 12 local companies providing mini grids projects across the country and we have 14 Solar Home System (SHS) suppliers to deploy about 19,130 SHS across the country.

We had N2 billion in the Fund but the total amount we able to spend in this first call is about N1.952bn.

What will be the impact of these projects?

We are providing electricity to about 43,000 households. From our analysis, the number of households that will get electricity in rural communities, and this is subject to the funding that we have. Imagine if we have more money, because we have about 90 million people that do not have electricity. If we have more money in terms of households, the number would have been able to cover that. The Solar Home System will cover about 19,130; that is almost 20,000 households.

What are the other programmes you have?

We have the World Bank project coming up which is about $350 million, but everything is aimed towards scaling up mini grid deployment across rural communities.

We have Energising Education which has 37 universities and seven teaching hospitals. We have the markets projects which is Energising Economies. From the REF part, we are just staring with this N2bn, we have other things in the works which is not directly government funding but are innovative ways we are looking at in providing electricity.

Are there conditions for REA to revoke these grants, if the developers don’t perform?

It is a result based project which means we are not giving them the money at once. For the mini grid, we have an agreement that they will meet the Conditions Precedent which includes that the need to show evidence that they have verifiable equity, the equipment installed or evidence to show they got a loan from the bank to deploy because we are giving them a certain percentage of the money, so they need to prove that.

Does the agency manage this fund on its own?

We have a trust fund manager to ensure that it is independent and transparently selected. It is like the third eye to ensure all the things go well in terms of monitoring and the delivery timelines.

How soon should Nigerians expect these projects?

Right now, one of the developers said he is already on site and that by first week of February 2019, he wants the agency to come and commission. Those are the kind for developers that we want work with. People who have the capacity to quickly deploy, and it is a local company.

If you do well, it will give us the reason to consider you for more grants. We hope he is able to meet up. Other firms are giving us a timeline of one to three months with six months maximum.

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