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Indians Biggest Foreign Investors In Dubai Real Estate: Report

MUMBAI: Expecting high returns, Indians have invested hugely in Dubai realty in the first nine months of 2018, making them the largest chunk of all foreign investors in the sector, according to the latest statistics of the Department of Real Estate Studies & Research, Dubai Land Department (DLD), said a spokesperson on Tuesday.

Eyeing profits, Indian nationals have already poured a staggering Rs. 16,800 crore in various realty projects in the emirate, which is also a global financial centre.

In fact, the DLD said Indian buyers have been consistently the highest foreign investors in the emirate”s realty sector given its strategic location, high investment and rental yields, capital appreciation and regulations making it an attractive proposition.

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“We expected these numbers to pick up further at the upcoming DLD’s annual 4th Dubai Property Show (DPS) coming up in Mumbai from Dec 7-9. It will showcase exclusive Dubai real estate options with participation of renowned developers such as Nakheel, Falconcity of Wonders, Sobha Realty, Geminit Property and others,” company spokesperson said.

On offer will be budget to luxury apartments, villas to beach properties, furnished homes and commercial properties. It will bring together Dubai’s real estate experts, developers and consultants under a single roof for interaction with potential Indian investors.

Globally, the Mumbai event will the 10th edition of the exhibition which has travelled to London and China this year, DPS General Manager Himanshu Gupta said.

He said Indians have been living in Dubai for decades and contributed immensely to the business and economic growth of the country, with great optimism for the future.

Moreover, for Indian investors, Dubai is like a home-away-from-home given its familiar environment, close proximity to India, fantastic growth opportunities and increasing trust in the systems, Mr Gupta added.

Source: NDTV


JVs, crowd-funding advocated as viable real estate financing options

Joint venture arrangements, crowding funding and off-plan sales are some of the viable alternatives to funding real estate projects in Nigeria where cost of funds has made bank credit both inaccessible, unaffordable and unattractive, experts and industry stakeholders have said.

The experts explained that one of the biggest challenges facing players in Nigeria’s real estate sector is the accessibility and affordability of capital to finance development projects. Commercial banks are not an ideal or suitable medium for financing real estate projects because whereas commercial bank deposits are short-term in nature, real estate is for the long term which is usually vulnerable to the vagaries in the economy such as changes interest rates, exchange rates, and the rate of inflation.

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“Nigeria is still a viable market. Capital is a challenge but deals are happening. It means funds are available. Players in the industry are making use of other financing options to fund real estate development projects,” said Andrei Ugarov, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) at the Refined Investor Series 2018 organised by Fine and Country West Africa in Lagos Tuesday.

Some of the financing options available include equity partnerships, pre-sales, debt financing, public-private partnerships and mezzanine structure. Companies such as Mixta Nigeria, UPDC and Landmark are local developers who have leveraged on partnerships with foreign firms to finance projects.

The Maryland Mall is an example of a successful partnership. The Wings Towers is another high profile and very visible office space that is also a product of partnership between Oando and RMB Westport.

To deal with challenges associated with funding, stakeholders in the industry are encouraged to focus more on resourcefulness and to see real estate as a collaborative venture it really is.

“One of the trends we see in the real estate is pre-financing or pre-sales financing. This is a situation where end-users pay their rent upfront to enable the company get capital to fund a project. This model of financing is very innovative,” Ugarov said. “End-users, in this case, carry more risk burden,” he noted.

Udo Okonjo, Fine & Country’s CEO/Vice Chair, highlighting the theme of the series, ‘Collaborating for New Heights and National Growth’, stressed the need for collaboration in environment where credit is dry and risk is high, hoping that gathering would act as a catalyst to create winning collaborations among stakeholders so that Nigeria could grow its economy.

“The case for collaborating in real estate cannot be stronger than now with a sluggishly recovering economy, where there’s not only massive infrastructure and protracted housing deficit, but also huge amount of underutilised and idle asset,” Okonjo said.

But Fabian Ajogwu, managing partner, Keena Partners, warned of possible pitfalls of even the best joint ventures, advising that before entering into any joint venture agreement care must be taken to find out, among other things,  the strength of the project, legality and structure of the development or business, the developer’s credit history, etc.
On the developer’s side, Ajogwu advised further that care must be taken to avoid project cost over-run, point out that the implications could be grave as it has the capacity to change the story of that project completely.  “Challenges will come from the financiers, off-takers, contractors and a lot more stakeholders”, he said, adding, “cost over-run can make investors see the project executor unreliable and untrustworthy, and this can affect future projects,” Ajogwu said.

According to him, industry players can mitigate this risk he recommended insurance.“Developers can take up insurance to deal with cost over-run. They will have to pay premium which is  cost to cover the risk. Risks involved in project developments are insurable,” he said.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Frank Aigbogun, CEO, BusinessDay, had given insights into where Nigerian economy would be headed going into 2019, pointing out some macro-economic factors that real estate and property investors might face in 2019.

“The first thing I see going into 2019 will be exchange rate management and dollar liquidity issues. We recovered from an economic recession not too long ago and it seems as if there is another one by the corner. Currently, oil prices are not looking too good. With the dollar scarcity back what direction will Nigeria foreign reserves go? The Central Bank of Nigeria desires to protect the naira and foreign reserves is critical,” Aigbogun noted.

He added that in the coming year, Nigeria would be dealing with infrastructure problem. “Nigeria is dismal when it comes to this; its capital formation, according to World Bank, is 13 percent to GDP, China is around 40 percent and India has an excess of 30 percent. China has rolled out infrastructural plans to expand economic activities”, he said.
He was of the view that, though there is GDP growth, the economy is expected to end flat at 2 percent in 2018.”Currently, consumer spending is very weak and, unfortunately, the reforms to change this are not happening”, he noted, hoping however that no matter how things are happenings, major deals will happen next year.



FCTA unveils new legal search on landed properties

The FCT Administration (FCTA) has unveiled new procedures for conducting legal search on landed property in the territory to curb fraud and abuses.

The FCT Director of Land Administration, Adamu Jibrin Hussaini, disclosed this at the weekend in his office while addressing some senior staff of the department.

He said applicants would henceforth write and make three copies of application to conduct legal search, addressed to the director of lands.

“But for corporate organizations and companies, applications must carry the RC Number (Corporate Affairs Registration Number), while lawyers handling such transactions must affix their Nigerian Bar Association seals (NBA seals),” he said.

He added that “all applications must have photocopies of title document(s) attached while the original(s) must be brought for sighting with the person presenting the title document producing valid identification like International Passport or Driver’s License or Voter’s Card,” Hussaini added.

He said relevant original title documents such as Certificate of Occupancy, Right of Occupancy and recertification of acknowledgement letter must be presented.

He, therefore, advised that any person wishing to do any transaction on any property either developed or undeveloped within the 8,000 square kilometers of the FCT should come forward to conduct legal search or visit the ultra-modern customer service at AGIS, No. 4, Peace Drive, Central Business District, Abuja to avoid being scammed by fraudsters.

How Kenyan women are changing their lives with a new way to buy homes

Mary Muthengi is preparing to host her extended family for Christmas. She has four siblings and her husband has three. Together they also have three children. “There will be so many people, we’ll even sleep on mattresses on the floor,” she said at her new nine-room home in Machakos County, 40 miles south-east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. “There will be new shoes, new clothes, goat and chicken to eat. The children are so very excited.” Mrs Muthengi, who is 32, will be hosting Christmas this year for the first time thanks to a housing loan from KWFT, a Kenyan microfinance bank.

With the support of international housing charity Habitat for Humanity, the bank is revolutionising the way women on low incomes can access funds to build and improve their homes in rural areas of the country. Founded in 1981, KWFT initially focused on women, to give access to banking services they were excluded from. Over time it found women to be extremely reliable customers.

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Kenya has a population of around 50m but, according to the central bank, fewer than 30,000 mortgage accounts. Informal land ownership, particularly in rural communities, means lenders cannot use property as security, and prospective borrowers, like Mrs Muthengi, usually have few other assets to use as collateral.

In response KWFT has taken a different approach to lending. The bank saw that women were often using its small business loans to build or repair their houses. So while women could not afford to buy homes, they could afford to build them, slowly, if they had access to credit. Habitat for Humanity, the FT’s Seasonal Appeal partner, provided the research and training to help to develop a new type of loan called “Nyumba Smart” — meaning beautiful home — using a $6.4m donation from the Mastercard Foundation. KWFT delivered the staff, the network and the clients.

“Housing is something we were always going to be ultimately involved with, but Habitat was a very important catalyst to make sure we have the right product,” Mwangi Githaiga, managing director, said in an interview at the KWFT headquarters in Nairobi. The loans, launched in December 2014, provide women with up to Ks1m ($10,000), repayable over a maximum of three years, for the construction of all or part of a house. Mrs Muthengi, who earns about $40 a day trading second-hand clothes, borrowed Ks100,000 — about $1,000 — earlier this year to complete the construction of her home. It is the first time she and her family have lived in a house they own.

A women’s group discusses loans under the guidance of a KWFT officer in Kyangala, Kenya “I have dreamt about having a home, but not a home like this,” she said of the unfinished building, which has a dazzling blue tin roof. To avoid issues of limited collateral, women like Mrs Muthengi, who have an income but no assets, are organised into groups that function as unique borrowing associations. When a woman wants to borrow funds for her home, affordability is assessed by the KWFT loan officer, but the decision is taken by the group. If the borrower fails to keep up with repayments, all other lending to the group ceases until the shortfall is met, often by the other members. “We use social collateral rather than hard collateral,” Mr Githaiga said. “Because we are village-based we know our customers and other women are willing to say, ‘give her the money and if she doesn’t pay we will take responsibility’.” ‘Surpassing expectations’ On a bright November morning in the village of Kyangala, 10 miles south-east of Machakos town, a group is deciding whether to lend Ks200,000 to Wayua Redemter Kisilu, so she can put a roof on her half-built home. Mrs Kisilu is sent to the shade of a nearby tree as the group confers. Heated discussion ensues: Mrs Kisilu has not been active in the group, often missing meetings. They decide to approve the loan only if she agrees to attend more regularly.

Wayua Redemter Kisilu waits as the group decides to loan her money to finish her roof, but only if she attends more meetings KWFT has 245 branch offices in 45 of Kenya’s 47 counties, and has developed deep networks in the communities it serves, building client relationships based on mutual trust and understanding. The unique community-based banking model has been extremely successful. When KWFT and Habitat embarked on the project five years ago, the target was 17,000 loans. Today the initiative — which is also active in Uganda via Centenary Bank — has issued more than 60,000, mobilising in excess of $60m and helping at least 300,000 households. On average KWFT makes 1,600 Nyumba Smart loans a month. “We have surpassed our target and our expectations completely,” said Kevin Chetty, a director at Habitat who helped to develop the product. “Not only are you providing shelter, not only are you changing lives of households and children, but you are also shaping financial inclusion.” The Kiani women’s group is one of KWFT’s longest-running borrowing circles. Its chair is Monicah Mbeke Mbuvi, a formidable 67-year-old former teacher-turned-small-town-business-mogul.

Founded in 2009, her group has 36 women each with a variety of housing, business and appliance loans — KWFT also provides borrowing facilities for household items such as solar panels and clean energy cooking stoves. FT Seasonal Appeal 2018 FT Appeal for Habitat for Humanity Please click here to donate. This story is part of the FT’s Seasonal Appeal for Habitat for Humanity, a charity that is dedicated entirely to housing and issues related to it, working in more than 70 countries Mrs Mbuvi’s blue and white home is lined with trees, perched on a plot of land high above the village. Since Nyumba Smart was launched, she has borrowed Ks320,000 (about $3,100) in four different loans, paying them off each time. She is about to request Ks150,000 to construct gates at her entrance. “I used to fear taking loans as I heard people saying that if you borrowed money you could lose everything,” Mrs Mbuvi said. “Now when I sit here in my home and look around, I am so very proud. I am just so happy.”

Source: Tom Wilson

Housing Challenge: Understand the Process of Buying a Property in Lagos State

Nigerians abroad and those living in the country have been scammed several times trying to purchase a property. This can be traced to either they don’t understand the process involved in acquiring a property or chose not to carry out due diligence.

As a property professional, I have seen people fall prey to scam and other dubious acts making them lose millions of Naira. Even though we know that government have not played its role in providing affordable housing, the onus is up to individuals and corporate organisation to know the process involved in buying a property. With this knowledge, they would know if they are involved in the right transaction or are being scammed.

After several years as a Real Estate consultant, it is no news that the government is not taking the appropriate step to combat the bureaucratic process involved in verifying a property and the lack of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Abraham Maslowâ’s Hierarchy of Needs puts shelter as a basic need for every human. Without shelter, a man’s social activities and other areas of life will be distorted. Also, adding to the fact that man needs a place to rest after the day’s work.

What should have been a basic provision by the government has become a den of lions for scammers and fraudsters who claim to be Real Estate professionals.

According to 2011 housing survey report, there is 17million housing deficit in Nigeria. These challenges of housing in Nigeria can existed in previous administrations. In 1991 the government of Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the National Housing Policy aimed at making housing affordable and accessible, but the policy failed. I would not bore you with the failures of the past administrations. Even the current administration under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing also introduced a policy to address the challenge of housing in the country, you can tell the result. The foregoing shows that Nigeria is not bereft of policies. And I’m sure it’s not stopping soon; this is the reason I believe you should understand the process involved in purchasing a property of your own so you are not scammed.

What both the state and federal government have failed to address is an indicator of the many abnormalities that happening in the housing industry.

Every adult at a time or another would get involved in housing transaction, either for outright acquisition (purchase) or on Lease (rent).

My focus as a practising real estate professional is to explain the p process involved in the acquisition of properties (Virgin Land or a House). And to help individuals and corporate organisations who want to buy properties have the basic knowledge of what to look out for when involved in buying a property. I tailor this article to properties in Lagos, but I’m sure it can be applied in other parts of the state.

When considering buying a property the first process is to sort out the aspect of finance, location & housing type. Immediately you find a property of interest and have agreed on a purchase price, quickly request for the copy of the subsisting Title or registration details of the property for a Title search at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

 The essence of Title verification at the Lands Bureau is to ensure that there is no encumbrance(s) on the property. You may not do this yourself; the service of a Professional is required in the verification of Title. This is one of the most important aspects of buying a property, in the real sense; it is the residual interest in the property that will be transferred. This aspect must be handled with utmost professionalism. The realtor handling this process must be detailed & ensure that the buyer is protected from any provision(s) that may serve as an additional burden if the property is acquired.  If possible, apply for the Certified True Copy from the Lagos State Land registry; the buyer and the realtor must be satisfied with the existing Title before going ahead with the transaction. Most potential transactions end at this stage when the buyer is not satisfied with the documents provided.

However, the process is different, where the property does not possess a registered Title and requires a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) after purchase. In such situation, a copy of the Survey is taken to the Surveyor-General’s office for charting. This is to establish whether the property falls within the Government Acquisition Scheme or not. This is because not all properties within the Government acquisition scheme are rectifiable.

Another basic consideration when buying a property is the issue of Development Permit. The purpose of buying a property is specified, it is best to find out whether the development permit for that area will allow the intended development. Things to consider include: prevailing Land use zoning, Height restrictions (permissible number of floors), the allowable number of units, Car parking requirements, Setbacks/ Airspace considerations and Landscape requirements. If all the issues stated above are not considered, the application for Town Planning approval to develop from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban development may not be granted. This is a serious issue.

The next is to carry out due diligence on the owner of the property. It is important to establish that the person selling is the owner or has instruction. Sometimes people bear the same name, impersonation or fraud. Where it is established that the Assignor (The person assigning his/her interest in a property) is not available and has confirmed his/her representative to the Assignee (The person acquiring the residual interest in a property), a Power of Attorney is required, authorizing the person to act on behalf of the assignor. When the property belongs to a family, there is need to establish that the people selling are the accredited representatives of the family, to avoid dispute from an aggrieved family member(s) or Litigation after the purchase.

After you have confirmed the documents, make sure that your payment goes through bank clearing, payment is acknowledged once received by the assignor/his representatives and the signing of the Deed of Assignment is done when the assignor has received value on the payment.

Finally, once the Deed of Assignment has been signed, the assignee takes physical possession of the property and commences the Title perfection process at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

I’ll advise you to follow these processes to secure your transaction.

Source: By Olusola Oduleye

Want your own home? Have wealthy parents

The best way for young people to get their own home? Have property-owning parents.

Youngsters with parents who have property wealth are nearly three times more likely to be home owners by 30, according to The Resolution Foundation.

Its report found that parental wealth is almost as crucial as how much people earn when it comes to getting a home.

“Buying a home is almost impossible for many young people without access to the bank of mum and dad,” it said.

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In the mid-1990s and early 2000s, homeownership rates for 30-year-olds with parental property wealth were only twice that of young people whose parents did not own a home.

The gap has grown so that recent homeownership rates for 30-year-olds with parental property wealth are almost three times that of those without parental property wealth.

Young people with high levels of parental wealth benefit in other ways too – they are 74% more likely to have a degree than those without parental wealth, and typically earn at least £500 more per month.


Both of these factors increase their chances of home ownership, the Foundation, a think tank that focuses on people on lower incomes. pointed out.

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The think tank added that having a society where young people’s housing aspirations are so dependent on what their parents own is undesirable, and emphasises the need for politicians that say they want a socially mobile country to focus on wealth, not just income.

While building more homes will help, the report warned that policymakers will need to be more radical if they want to see real change, with high house prices also being driven by long term declines in interest rates.

Stephen Clarke, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Our housing crisis is so big that what your parents own is becoming as important as how much you earn when it comes to owning your own home.

“This is particularly worrying for the one in two millennials who aren’t homeowners, and whose parents also aren’t either.”

Mortgage broker Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, backed up the research.

“The majority of first-time buyers who come to us to get a mortgage have significant financial assistance from the bank of mum and dad,” he said.

“It’s the only way most youngsters can afford soaring property prices, both in terms of help with the deposit and also with the mortgage payments.”

Source: Simon Read

Labourer gets 3 months in prison for stealing 5 bags of cement


A Kuje Upper Area Court, FCT, on Friday sentenced a 25- year-old labourer, Yahaya Musa, to three months in prison for stealing five bags of cement valued at N12, 500.

The police charged Musa, who lives on Funtaj Road area of Kuje, with two counts of joint act and theft.

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The judge, Malam Abdulahi Abulkareem, who did not give him an option to pay fine, said the punishment would serve as deterrent as cases of theft was rampant in the area at the moment.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Doris Okoroba, told the court that one Surajo Adamu of AA1 Layout, Kuje, reported the case on Nov. 24, at the Kuje Police Station.

Okoroba said that the convict with one other now at large, stole five bags of cement from a building site belonging to one Sani Adamu, at Funtaj Road Area, Kuje.

The prosecutor said that the convict was arrested when he attempted to sell the bags of cement.

She said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 287 of the Penal Code. (NAN)

Source: Daily Trust

How Echo Stone technology will revolutionise housing, create jobs in Lagos


For a sprawling city with over 20 million residents for whom housing accommodation is already dire, what Lagos State needs now is a technology that can revolationise housing delivery and that exactly is what Echo Stone has brought into the state along with job creation for the citizens.

Echo Stone, a property development firm, is in Lagos on a joint venture initiative with the state government, through the state ministry of housing,  to build 2,000 housing units as part of the state’s planned 20,000 housing units to be delivered in four years under the Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH)  initiative.

The company has already deployed its technology for the development of the 2000 housing units across three sites in Badagry, Immota and Ayobo. Expectation is that given its speed of delivering of four units of 2-bedroom bungalows in 14 days, the whole 2,000 units may be ready within 12 months.

At a ground-breaking event recently to mark the commencement of construction work on the first 250 housing units in Badgagry, Anthony Recchia, EchoStone’s Global Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, highlighted the advantages of the Echo Stone technology including industrialisation of housing/labour.

EchoStone housing system is a high quality, rapidly scalable and sustainable construction that  approaches housing master plans comprehensively and sustainably, taking into consideration social, environmental and financial factors.

Echo Stone technology is the best response to the rapid urbanisation and population explosion in Lagos which requires radical construction technology to bridge the state’s huge housing deficit estimated at  three million units. The state needs to build 20,000 housing units in the next 10 years to close this gap.

“What we really need is industrialisation of labour, along with technology to create the asset which then produces mortgages,’’ Recchia said, noting that construction had not evolved in the last 50 years and that industrialisation would bridge huge demand gap while mortgage institutions could effectively drive supply by enabling demand.

With four houses the technology is going to deliver every 14 days, it is also expected that the entire project in Badagry which sits on 10 hectares of land would be completed within three months and this will be happening alongside training of local artisans to ensure skill transfer to residents of Lagos.

Besides the skills transfer, many jobs  are being created and, according to Recchia, “mostly what I see on the job side is that it is gender neutral; men and women are working together with women running the machines and helping with the form-works’’.

Part of the highpoints of the new technology is the use of form-works which, Ander Lindquist, Echo Stone Founder and President, Business Development, said eliminated time wastage and allowed opportunity for construction of a minimum of eight homes daily from ground to carcass.

Furthermore, the technology provides 7.5 percent lower temperature in the homes, thereby reducing the need for air conditioners. “Electrical and plumbing fittings alongside other accessories are done simultaneously with construction and this ensures durability of the facilities for over 50 years without maintenance”, Lindquist assured.

The Badagry project known as Peridot Parkland promises such facilities as green areas, power supply, street lights, sewage reticulation, car parks, among others.

Gbolahan Lawal,  Lagos commissioner for housing, explained that  the project was part of the “global mission“ of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to construct 20,000 houses in various parts of the state in four years.

The commissioner explained further that the state government was beginning with the 2,000 to be constructed by Echo Stone while other developers would  build the balance in the next four years as part of efforts at bridging the deficit in the state.

“This is like an economic revolution because whoever has a home has almost everything because,  with that home as collateral, he can obtain a bank credit,’’ he said, pointing out that fast and affordable housing delivery was a priority for the state government, hence the adoption of this speedy construction technology.

Echo Stone was assured of a ready market for their products, not only because of Lagos large population and housing deficit, but also the availability of mortgage facility for buyers. Homebase Mortgage Bank, one of the mortgage banks providing support for purchase of the houses, assured that they  had in place all financial capabilities to help residents finance their homeownership dreams.

Source: Chuka Uroko


How Port Harcourt went from garden to garbage city

Garden City of Port Harcourt is the popular name given to Port Harcourt in Rivers State years back because of its clean, tidy and serene environment.

Between 1980 and 1990 Port Harcourt was rated the cleanest city in the country as a result of its beautiful landscape, good road layout and the environmental consciousness of residents.

‘Pitakwal’ as the capital and largest city of the state has been fondly nicknamed, was the dream city of many Nigerians but as urban explosion began to take a heavy toll in the once beautiful ‘Garden City’. People now fear that the city is gradually assuming the status of “garbage centre of Nigeria.”

Port Harcourt residents are not happy about the poor state of the environment. At Creek Road in old Port Harcourt township, the road which leads to the market is an eyesore. Heaps of refuse dot adjoining streets emitting offensive odour.

A resident, Tamuno Ibisiki, said “Creek road is turning to be the dirtiest part of the state. The traders in the market are not helping matters as they dump the rubbish generated from their businesses on the road. The stench is terrible and constitutes a very serious health challenges to residents,” he said.

At Ikwerre road, near the popular Mile One market, the heaps of refuse dumped close to a new generation bank have been a source of worry to residents. The area is designated as a collection centre for refuse by the State Waste Management Agency.  However, the heaps of refuse take some time before evacuation and the stench from the eyesore are worrisome.

A resident whose office is located in the area expressed worry over the health implication of the refuse dumps, saying, “It’s very embarrassing that a popular area such as Mile One should be used as a collection centre for refuse by the Waste Management Agency. The stench from the refuse is very offensive and could be very hazardous to human health.

“Refuse collection centres should be located in isolated areas and not in highly populated areas. I have complained to the agency responsible but they seem not to be bothered about the nuisance the site constitutes to residents,” stated the man who pleaded anonymity.

Other areas such as Mile 3, Mile 4, Echue Street, Sangana Street, Education Bus Stop, Abali Park, Sangana Street and some parts of Oyigbo are not left out of the refuse problem.

Traders at the popular Sangana Street litter the area with heaps of refuse comprising of rotten fruits and vegetables, waiting for evacuators.

The popular Oyigbo Express Junction which hosts the Garden City’s statues of Port Harcourt, is also home to heaps of refuse which have not been evacuated for a very long time suffusing the area with offensive odour.

Peter Dozie, a resident of the area said “the mountain of refuse deposited at the Express Junction was terrible because it is a gateway to Port Harcourt and links the city to other states such as Abia and Imo.

“Meanwhile, the state government spends millions of naira every month to pay service providers but much is left to be desired. The stench coming from the uncollected refuse is terrible and can be a health hazard. Government should do something about this without delay,” Dozie said.

A  school teacher in Oyigbo, who pleaded anonymity said “this place is designated as refuse collection centre and almost all the residents bring their refuse here for onward evacuation. In advanced countries refuse dumps are located in isolated areas and receptacles are provided to deposit them.”


“We have complained to the authorities but nothing has been done about it. The lives of pupils in this school are under serious threat,” he said.

Meanwhile, successive administrations in the state have tried to restore the beauty and serenity of Port Harcourt through policy actions but which are yet to yield positive result.

The previous administration, conscious of restoring the Garden City status of Port Harcourt in 2008 engaged a private firm to carry out landscaping of some designated areas of the state and plant grasses and flowers. Over N400 million was expended on the project.

The contractor based in Calabar immediately swung into action. Buildings and structures that fell within the areas designated for landscaping and grassing were demolished.

The areas were landscaped and flowers and grasses planted but less than six months after, the areas were again completely defaced with refuse dumps resurfacing and the green areas converted to footpaths and driveways.

Also, a monthly environmental sanitation exercise was begun to engage residents in the cleaning of their environment and refuse contractors were also engaged from all the nooks and crannies of the state.

It was gathered that over 25 contractors were engaged and that the state government spent about N500 million monthly in paying them. It was learnt that at a point the contractors were mandated to use Compactor machines and those who were unable to procure them were sacked by the state government.

But despite the huge sums of money spent monthly to keep the state clean, Port Harcourt remains very dirty, with an untidy environment.

Governor Nyesom Wike, on assumption of office in 2015, inherited huge tonnage of uncleared refuse littering the streets of Port Harcourt. The contractors had stopped work because of being owned several months’ payment. Governor Wike cleared the debt and they resumed work but still no significant improvement in the general sanitation of the state.

However, to improve the state’s environmental status, the government recently declared a state of emergency on environmental sanitation in the state.

The Commissioner of Information and Communications, Barrister Emma Okah, who stated this recently, said the decision was aimed at improving on the state of sanitation in the state.

“Government frowns seriously at the deteriorating urban sanitation and environment in the state, particularly in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor metropolis.

“Consequently, the government has decided to declare a state of emergency on the set of people who are in the habit of trading on the roads, the medians and all of that,” he said.

The State Executive Council has also set up a Special Task Force chaired by Governor Nyesom Wike himself to clear illegal traders from major roads and streets in Port Harcourt and its environs.

Source: Victor Edozie

Investors lobby as PFAs invest N17bn pension funds in infrastructure


Pension Funds Administrators have raised their investments in infrastructure to N17.12bn from the pension money in their custody, according to the latest data from the National Pension Commission.

Operators of the Contributory Pension Scheme have also said that investors have continued to intensify their lobby to access the funds in their custody.

Figures obtained from the commission on Tuesday revealed that the total assets under the CPS stood at N8.34tn as of the end of September.

According to the commission, in May 2015, the operators invested N568m in infrastructure and increased it to N1.35bn in December 2015.

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It added that the PFAs invested N2.06bn in infrastructure bond in December 2016, and had gradually increased the pension funds invested in the portfolio.

According to PenCom, the PFAs invested N6.86bn in the nation’s infrastructure as of December 2017.

The President, PenOp, Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, said that the issue of the role of pension funds in economic development had moved into the focus of public attention, particularly with regard to Nigeria’s growing need for long-term capital.

She explained that successful mobilisation of pension fund assets and its contributions to the economic growth of any nation were essential policy objectives.

“For the first time, our country can now boast of a long-term funding base and the impact to date has included the funding of the government and government projects, development of the capital market as well as increased foreign development inflows,” she said.

While this is positive, she added, a note of caution must be raised in view of recent agitations to access the funds for infrastructure.

Source: Nike Popoola
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