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Experts predict further dip in real estate market

A combination of heightened uncertainty and eroding affordability is expected to cut into demand and contribute to a weaker real estate market in 2019, and 2018 harsh economic realities made the sector to underperform in terms of yield and returns, according to industry experts.

While the economy remains weak, demographic fundamentals remain strong, lack of clear policy in 2018 impacted negatively on prospective homeowners access to mortgage financing in the market.

Notably, mortgage interest rates are also on the rise, further reducing buying capacity. As the activities of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) are yet to be felt in the market, the high interest rate are expected to further stabilise in 2019, which may worsen borrowers ability to qualify for financing.

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Unfortunately, it is expected that headline inflation will continue its climb upwards as a result of spending for the 2019 elections; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) closed off Q3 at NGN 305.85 / USD at the CBN window, a depreciation of 85 kobo from the rate recorded at the end of Q2.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its October edition of the World Economic Outlook report, reduced its 2018 economic forecast for Nigeria from 2.1per cent to 1.9per cent whilst in the same month the WB reduced its 2018 economic growth forecast for Nigeria from 3.1per cent to 2.7per cent. The IMF also adjusted its projected inflation rate for 2019 from 12.4per cent to 13.5per cent. Other economic figures indicate that Nigeria’s external reserves declined to $44.30 bn at the end of September, the lowest in six months.

“A possible implication is that a constant depletion of the nation’s reserves may lead to further depreciation of the naira against the dollar, further impacting on the real estate sector which is heavily reliant on the capital markets,” according to International Real Estate Partners (IREP), third quarter Commercial Market Outlook.

Specifically, on the performance of the markets in 2018, there were divergent opinions by the professionals. Some say, the rate of sales for both new and existing properties are nose-diving; others noted that the sector has generally been fairly stable.

IREP Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Erejuwa Gbadebo said: “Investor appetite and confidence remains weak, and records show that because buyers who can afford to buy real estate are being extremely cautious with their investment spending, there is little money in circulation for major capital projects.”

For Mr. Chudi Ubosi, an estate surveyor and valuer, “residential has been stable with rents in many areas experiencing no increases. The general attitude has been at renewal, to keep the present tenant if it means reducing rents or throwing in sweeteners to encourage them to stay.

“Fresh residential lettings have been slow and this is as a result of the economy as well as many landlords still not coming to terms with the harsh economic realities.”

In fact, the Chairman, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigeria Chapter, Mr. Gbenga Ismail said, “residential is still in high demand but sales are very low retail and office suffered significant value reductions.”

He heaped the blame on the non -performance of the economy, “the economy is the single factor. It slowed down and lack of liquidity.  Investment in the treasury is as serious issue affecting investment.”

Ubosi, the principal partner, Ubosi Eleh and Company corroborated Ismail’s view that retail has also been slow. But added: “Rents are not on the increase and have been more of the time stable. Landlords and agents are devising new means of keeping tenants to reduce void in their premises.”

However, IREP in its report said that despite stiff competition from small retail centres, the larger malls continue to reconfigure themselves to provide consumers with every recreational, entertainment, educational, fitness and shopping they would need; a recent example being the integration of cinemas at Circle Mall in Lekki.

“New small retail centres however, continue to spring up, especially along the Lekki corridor, with a high demand for the ground and first floor; often taken up even before completion. Existing centres are also experiencing increased occupancy rates and though welcome, this has added significantly to the congestion in surrounding areas adding to the fear of decline; clearly a trend to watch.”

Gbadebo disclosed that the conditions in the office segment remained relatively stable; construction work on prime commercial properties is ongoing, although for some, activity has stalled. “The commercial office space is gaining a new entry with the proposed Dangote Building on Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi, whilst the iconic IMB Plaza renovation, set to deliver over 8,000 m2 of space in 2019, continues apace.

“Asking rents in Ikoyi and Victoria Island remain constant at $700 and $600 respectively, with prospective tenants who require larger spaces, having the added advantage of reasonable concessions in rent. Q3 also saw the 12,000 m2 Kingsway Tower development put up for investment sale.”

The experts agreed that the industrial sector has been very badly hit in 2018 with many premises coming into the market either for sale or lease without any takers in sight.

Expectations are also high on the Nigeria’s forthcoming elections. IREP said: “Whilst oil prices rose, Nigeria is dealing with heightened uncertainty in the 2019 elections. Many investors / decision makers are adopting a “wait and see” strategy and some foreign investors have withdrawn their funds in order to mitigate against any political risks that might lead to a loss of investments.

“These reactions are predicated by the somewhat un-healthy relationship that has developed over the years between Nigerian politics and its economy; many policies adopted during one political tenure have a detrimental effect on those taken in previous tenures.

“Projects are stalling at the feasibility stage and the stock market is already feeling the sting of pre-election frenzy with stock prices plummeting due to pressure selling by shareholders.But most worrisome is the continued fall in oil prices. The total contribution of the oil sector to real Gross Domestic product (GDP) is fast declining whilst the non-oil sector’s contribution is rising.”

Ubosi submitted, “The outlook in 2019 does not look good. “As it is, oil prices are falling with dire implications for the nation’s income. Politics and elections are round the corner, with the do or die mentality that Nigerian politicians bring to the table, it will scare away investments and in the long run slow down the economy.”

Source: Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Group Advocates Gender Inclusion in Infrastructural Sector

The Women in Infrastructure Community Africa (WICA), a professional women advocacy platform with focus on sustainable infrastructure delivery in Africa, has called on the government and corporate organisations to always consider policies that will benefit women operating in the infrastructure sector.

According to the group, this would provide an enabling environment for women to operate in a male dominated field as stakeholders.

It also pointed out that it would  enhance sustainable social economic development, structured women empowerment, mitigate poverty and boost the emergence of sustainable and resilient cities and communities in the face of current climate challenges.

This submission was made known during the Consultative Forum of women in the infrastructure sector to discuss ways of advocating for women inclusion in the industry and in Private Public Partnership (PPP) with the theme: Diversity in Infrastructure.

The Keynote Speaker, Ms Thelma Ekiyor, who is the CEO of Afrigrants Resources Limited, emphasised the importance of capacity building for WICA members and the need to be strategic and focused on what needs to be changed.

Mrs. Doris Mbadiwe, the Executive Director of Inter Bau Construction Limited, in her paper presentation on Diversity in Infrastructure, highlighted what women experience as stakeholders, end-users and workers in the infrastructure sector and the need to ensure policy formulation that changes the prevailing male-centred narrative. She underlined constraints to women participation in the construction industry such as family obligations, gender discrimination, the preference for other jobs, the absence of mentoring opportunities, poor career progression, discriminatory recruitment policies, unequal opportunities for women and the lack of a support network.

Also speaking, Mrs. Onyeche Tifase, CEO of Siemens, stressed the need for WICA to be active in changing gender stereotypes around the workplace, beginning with the young women who need to start thinking differently about career opportunities, the value of hard work and competence as well as their life priorities in order to bridge existing gender gaps among infrastructure professionals.

Oginni an Architect and researcher in University of Lagos, in addition emphasised the need for mentorship, role models and structured incentives for increased girl-child study and practice of STEM disciplines.

The Founder and convener of the WICA advocacy platform, who is also the Executive Director of Center for Ethics and Sustainable Development (CESD), Dr Olajumoke Akiode, attributed the low participation of women including low representation of gender conscious women in the decision-making cadre of the sector to cultural stereotypes. These include stereotypes about women’s roles and work, gender bias in the work place, the dearth of career role models to influence STEM career choices and uptake.

According to research, of the five per cent of girls in STEM courses, less than 50 per cent of them practice or work in the infrastructure sector.

Sadly, this is denying the sector of creative and inclusive innovations, skills and expertise that diversity could contribute to sustainable development in Nigeria and Africa, the women said.

In addition, they pointed out that professional women’s voices need to be heard to ensure gendered and socially inclusive social impact targeting in infrastructure planning at all levels.

Source: Raheem Akingbolu

Yuletide: FG approves N1.85bn for remedial work on arterial roads

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved N1.85b to carry out remedial work on major arterial roads across the country for ease of movement and to reduce travelling hours during the “ember” festive period.

Fashola said the money would be released to the 37 Federal Controllers of Works to effectively carry out the reconstruction work in the identified heavy traffic routes.

He said this while declaring open a capacity building workshop for the controllers with the theme: “Learning and Development for Greater Stature”, organised by the ministry in Kaduna.

The minister encouraged the controllers to apply the principle of emotional intelligence and project management taught at the workshop, adding that zonal directors of works from the ministry would be deployed to all the zones to oversee their activities and performances during the period.

Speaking earlier at the workshop, the ministry’s Coordinator and Director of Highways, North East Zone, Engr. Rufai Mohammed, said part of the workshop was to discuss ways to tackle the challenges of the ember months and make necessary repairs where applicable.

640 FRSC officers get N640m FMBN loan to renovate homes

 

The Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa, recently in Abuja, presented cheques for loans totaling N640million to 640 officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) for the purpose of renovating their homes.

Arc. Dangiwa disclosed that N1.8bn was approved to 196 officers of the FRSC nationwide to purchase homes as well.

He explained that the new disbursement marked a total N1.2bn given to 1,207 beneficiaries in the FRSC across the country.

Dangiwa said the mortgage loan was to assist the officers to purchase their personal houses as well renovate existing homes.

Dangiwa noted that all Nigerians could benefit from the scheme so far as they contributed to the National Housing Fund (NHF).

In his remarks, FRSC Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, said upon assumption of office, he vowed to ensure all staff of the FRSC had their personal homes.

Section 14 (2) of the NHF Act Cap N.45 of 1992 stipulates that a contributor to the fund can access a loan from the fund for the purpose of building, purchasing or renovating of existing homes.

Source: Malikatu Umar Shuaibu

Corporations worried about state housing ministries usurping roles

The Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) has blamed state housing ministries for the usurpation of its statutory roles and responsibilities in housing construction and development. . The group observed that the situation is purely unnecessary duplication of duty, which will in the long run cause distraction, unfair competition, and sheer wastages/repetition of efforts and resources.

AHCN President, Mohammed Baba Adamu who spoke at a two-day national workshop/ the 98th Council meeting of the association, with the theme, ‘Housing as Veritable Tools for Economic Recovery’ held in Abuja, urged housing ministries to strictly reduce its activities to policy formulation and monitor statutory parastatals to ensure policy compliance and accomplishment.

“There is no doubt that state housing agencies have potential to meet the housing needs of the people but this cannot be achieved without the support of the state governments.

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On efforts to improve housing in the country, AHCN boss said the organisation is strategising to bring back affordable mass housing provision with a proposed 1,000 housing units in each of the state of the federation and Abuja.

“We plan to kick off with a pilot scheme of 5, 000 housing units in selected states details of which will be unveil shortly. Arrangements for the funding are being finalised to ensure that the houses are affordable with provision for mortgages for potential buyers through our off-takers data base which are currently being compiled in collaboration with our partner in each of the state of the federation especially the civil servants for the programme”, he stated.

Adamu who also spoke on, ‘Housing the rural populace: the local government option’, informed the gathering that it’s imperative for local governments to be proactive and embark on profitable ventures through strategic partnership with other relevant government agencies and private investors to enhance productivity and the development of the housing sector.

In his submission, the Director General, Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, (NBRRI), Prof. Danladi Matawal, re-echoed the need to strengthen access to finance, operations and building maintenance, building component standardisation and infrastructure.

Matawal said the task of providing decent, affordable housing is a growing challenge for stakeholders in developing economies who are faced with the need to overcome the present housing deficit, which would require a daunting financial resource and Infrastructure.

Matawal said as access to finance poses a great challenge to the industry expansion, countries could improve underwriting by establishing credit bureaus, which are uncommon in developing economies, training and certifying property appraisers.

In some countries, he said, collective-savings programs like provident funds and building societies have helped low-income households to accumulate down payments, with the pooled savings also providing capital for low-interest mortgages.

He stated that infrastructural development was important for improve housing, stressing that where many areas lack adequate transport, water, electricity, and sanitation infrastructure, providing affordable housing could be a difficult experience.

Also speaking, the president, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, (REDAN), Ugochukwu Chime explained that REDAN in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and eleven other institutions have established the National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme (NRE-DCMP).

According to him, the initiative is aimed at developing a comprehensive collation and management of data for planning, preconstruction, construction and post construction in the real estate sector of the country.

The sectorial information, he stated, will help in policy formulation for the development of the sector and unleash its potential for employment generation, inclusive socio-economic growth as well as provision of shelter.

Source: Victor Gbonegun

FG to build solar power for 2.5m people in 66 communities

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has flagged off process to build solar mini-grid plants in 66 communities and connect 2.5 million people across 12,422 households nationwide.

The Managing Director of REA, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi in summary sheet said the Nigerian Electrification Project (NEP) covers 66 communities in four states comprising Niger, Sokoto, Ogun and Cross River during Phase I.

She said about 24.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity will be generated in the benefiting communities to energize 1,710 local businesses.

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The REA State Coordinator (Niger) and Team Lead for the State, Abubakar Ahmed noted that REA has four coordinators in four states with five teams each to sensitize communities on the impact of the solar electricity mini-grid being deployed nationwide.

While sensitising residents of Tasha Hajia, a yam produce and grain marketing hub in Niger state, Abubakar said with their consents, REA and World Bank will engage mini-grid developers based on grants to energize the unserved communities.

He said: “This provides electricity to communities that are unconnected to the national grid, increase business productivity by replacing generators and lanterns with reliable electricity.

“It will also improve your community’s security through street lights, provide clean and affordable electricity to the rural dwellers here,” Abubakar told the people in Hausa.

With the consent from the communities through their Electricity Users Cooperative Society (EUCS), the mini-grids are expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2019.

After filling his consent form, the District Heat at Tasha Hajia, Alhaji Muhammadu Kolo said, “My subjects will support the project as they have been starved of grid electricity. I learnt it will solve energy needs for our businesses too and we are grateful but we don’t want it to be erratic.”

At Etsu Tasha community near Bida in Niger state, the Deputy Head, Mohammed Gana lauded the initiative as he gave his consent to cooperate with developers being sent by the federal government to execute the project shortly.

A youth at Etsu Tasha, Musa Aliyu said they travel for about 10 kilometres to the nearest town to their electricity needs adding that with such initiative, Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) could spring up.

Maryam Abubakar who hopes to run a beverage store using freezer and other electrical appliances if the mini grid project is executed in Etsu Tasha.

P/Harcourt Building Collapse: Rescuers seem to have lost hope of finding more survivors

With dozens of victims still feared trapped and rescue operations hindered by inadequacy of equipment to cut through each of seven 28-inch concrete decking now piled against its basement, the collapsed Port Harcourt building has assumed a monumental tragedy.

*The rubble

Nobody is sure exactly how many persons were in the basement and those on the ground floor when all of the six and partly completed seventh floor came crashing down. However, Chigozie Anayo, 27, a concrete caster at the failed project, who cheated death with facial injuries, could only estimate. “We were many. If they say we are only 38 that have come out, I believe we have more than that number still trapped”, he told Sunday Vanguard.

“It was pay day. Even those who had no duty to carry out that day were alerted to come and collect their wages, so were some contractors. Some were in the basement all eager to have their share of the millions of Naira in wages brought and trapped”.

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At press time on Friday, eight days after the tragedy, the rescue team, supervised by Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties, Emeka Onowu, put the casualties at eight mortalities and 26 survivors. Through the weekend of the collapse, hopes were high of more persons coming out alive as rescue operations continued, just as some relatives could still engage trapped victims in phone conversation, confirming they were still alive as they cried for help. Regrettably, after a lucky survivor, simply identified as Ogoni born Christian, was pulled out bleeding on the nose five days after the collapse, further hopes of pulling out more victims alive were dampened amid feelers that underground flooding was rising to suffocating levels on the basement where most victims had remained safe.

Rotary’s interest

The dimming hopes have, however, not deterred relatives of still trapped victims from keeping vigil at the tragic incident’s site. Among the expectant crowd still keeping vigil at the scene of the tragedy are members of global charity group, Rotary International, who have opened a stand at the spot. Many third generation banks are also visible at the site with the speculation that they may be among institutions supporting the rescue operations.

Though known for health charity and social investments across the world, Rotary’s robust visibility at the scene, to the extent that its Nigerian member on the international board, Yinka Babalola, had to show up, was provoked by reports that one of its own, Rotarian Ihionu Ekene Morgan, was among victims still trapped in the building. Morgan, a member of District 9141 of Rotary, Nigeria, is said to be the supplier of scaffolders for the collapsed building.

Chimezie Ihionu, Morgan’s agitated cousin, had narrated to Sunday Vanguard, “We were at a stone throw, The Boss Club, playing snooker when Morgan was alerted that money had arrived to pay workers and suppliers. “Shockingly, someone called less than five minutes later that the building had collapsed and Ekene (Morgan) was inside. We have stayed put at the scene since Friday. Ekene was calling us among others trapped inside. This (penultimate Saturday) morning, his phone is no longer reachable.” In the hope of seeing its member make it out alive, Rotary has been a big contributor to the rescue efforts, providing hospitality to rescuers and, at some point, assisting in the mobilization of equipment.

Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike, who declared the owner of the building wanted to face inquiry, and the police authorities in Rivers, who now have the landlord and other key stakeholders in custody, have refused to reveal his (landlord) identity. Speculations have however mostly pointed to a Bayelsan born power broker with vast investments in hospitality business in Port Harcourt and beyond.

Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed that the architect and other key persons involved in the failed project were also in custody. Omoni said, “The owner of the building has been arrested. He’s with us helping with investigations. We also have with us the site engineer, the architect, the builder himself. We have been able to get statements from some of the survivors, sharing their accounts of what has happened. “Investigations are discreet. We have also deployed our Anti-Bomb Unit. Our men are probing to also try to see other possible angles, like if there was any sabotage.” Omoni expressed the police’s disappointment at the failure of Rivers State Urban Development Ministry’s officials to respond to the police invitation to offer explanations on government role on approvals for the construction of the building. However, before Omoni’s reservations, the Urban Development Ministry’s Commissioner, Dr Reason Onya, had resigned his appointment.

Onya, in a statement, told Rivers people, “After due consultation with my family on the collapsed seven-storey hotel building under construction, I have decided to ‘step aside’ as the Honourable Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning on 28/11/2018 during the State Executive Council Meeting. “The building plan was approved on 18/7/2014 and revalidated by me on 14/9/2018, because the file was missing.

To those that lost their loved ones, I am pained, so pained that each time I visit the site, my heart bleeds; each time I hear news of it, I am perturbed. “I am sincerely sorry for all the pains you all have gone through in the cause of this that my official assignment is involved.”

Blame game, public anger

From professional bodies involved in the construction or monitoring of projects of this nature, to residents and relatives of loved ones, the tragedy has generated into blame game. While the state branch of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, through its Chairman, Asommba Egbuonu, blamed relevant ministries’ officials for lack of professionalism, others pointed to greed on the part of the project owner and compromise by supervising engineers and contractors engaged to deliver it. Ihionu, cousin of still trapped Morgan, lamented, “There has been no sense of urgency or coordination in the rescue operations.

The body language of the rescue team seems to be of hope lost. We have overheard them saying there could be no more survivors. It is too early to draw such a conclusion. “They have informed us that Julius Berger is in charge of the rescue operations yet the only Julius Berger branded equipment on site are ambulances and Hilux vans. “No diggers, cutters, cranes or any requisite equipment/motors belonging to them are here. The excavators seem to belong to MCC. “Time is of the essence now. We are heartbroken and helpless, unable to do anything as our loved ones wither within the rubble of this site.” Survivors’ stories Meanwhile, at the Braitwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, 39-year-old Emmanuel Ikuje, one of the earliest survivors to be rescued, under medical attention, said he could not explain his escape. Ikuje, a Benue indigene, said, “I have been doing oil works for such big projects for years.

What I have seen is one or two floors drop down from defects. I have never encountered a case where the entire floors of a seven-storey building crumbled to the foot. “I narrowly escaped. Several persons, I can’t give exact figures, were on the ground floor waiting to be paid from the money we heard the project owner brought. Suddenly, the house came down on us, majority crowded at the front entrance area. “I tried escaping the beam dropping towards me, but it struck me down by my right arm and a mix of sand and broken concrete covered me. I found it difficult to breathe and shout for help. After minutes of digging around much of my buried body, I came out alive.”

Ejijah Benjamin, 21-year-old plumbing apprentice, was rescued with suspected broken spine as doctors probed into his case at the hospital where he lay motionless on a stretcher when Sunday Vanguard visited. His mother, Gift Benjamin, told Sunday Vanguard, “He can’t move his body. They are telling us his spine is affected and he can’t open his mouth. He was supporting his boss on plumbing at the building project site. That his Oga is still trapped inside.” John Paul, 39, from Plateau State, another artisan rescued alive, couldn’t talk from the pains of bruises sustained. Paul’s elder brother, Francis Pam, however, said, “His own is not too serious and the doctors have been giving him meaningful attention since government first moved some of them to a private hospital before the transfer to BMH.

It is well. We thank God”.

Source:  Egufe Yafugborhi

commisioner

Port Harcourt Building Collapse:Commissioner Resigns

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has accepted the offer of the State Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Dr Reason Onya to step aside for a  comprehensive investigation into the collapse of the 7-Storey building in Port Harcourt.
Addressing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Barrister Emma Okah said that the resolution was to ensure unfettered investigations.
He said that the investigation into the Collapse of the 7-Storey building will be carried out by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to be established by the Rivers State Government
The Information and Communication Commissioner noted that the Rivers State Governor commiserated with the families that have lost their loved ones and directed that adequate care be extended to all those rescued alive.
He noted that the State Government will continue with the ongoing  rescue mission at the site of the collapsed 7-storey building.
bamboo

Bamboo is the Best Alternative to Steel Reinforcement

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.
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.
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
Source: engineering-society.com

Homes renovation loan: N15.7bn so far disbursed to over 19,000 beneficiaries- FMBN

 

THE Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN) on Wednesday said it has so far disbursed a total sum of N15.7 billion to 19, 169 beneficiaries across the country under the Home Renovation Loan window.

Also, it said the sum of N1.8 billion was approved for 195 staff of the Federal Road Safety Corps( FRSC)as mortgage loans for the purchase of their own homes.

Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa made the disclosure in Abuja, at the presentation of N640 million cheques to 640 FRSC beneficiaries of the FMBN homes renovation loan.

He said this brings the total disbursement to the corps to N1.2 billion for 1,207 beneficiaries across the country.

According to the MD, the homes renovation loan window afford Nigerians who are contributors to the National Housing Fund, an opportunity to access mortgage loans to renovate or improve existing properties either personally or family owned.

He explained that unlike the regular mortgage, the process includes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) and execution of letters of an undertaking by the various State governments, collaborating agencies and employers for the deduction and remittance of loan payments to the bank.

While stressing its mandate, which is to provide a cheap source of loanable funds to facilitate affordable home ownership for the low and medium income group in the country, he said the bank developed concessionary loan windows to enable Nigerians access mortgages.

However, he noted that the realization of its mandate has continued to suffer setbacks due to lack of access to land, inadequate funding for the housing sector, low income of prospective borrowers which affects affordability, among others.

In consideration of these challenges, it became necessary for FMBN to develop some quick-wins that will allow a greater number of Nigerians access to the National Housing Fund. Consequently, the FMBN Home renovation loan was introduced by the bank.

While the bank continued to face considerable challenges particularly on its lack of adequate capital, all these indices indicate that we have performed creditably well in the discharge of our mandate given the lean resources at our disposal.

We have also given succour to Nigerians with the cancellation of equity requirement for NHF loans under 5 Million and a reduction in equity percentage payment to 10 per cent for loans from N5m to N15m from the initial 20 per cent to 30 per cent. This is bound to further boost the affordability of many Nigerians in accessing mortgages, he said.

In his remarks, the Corps Marshal, FRSC Dr Boboye Oyeyemi said the disbursement to FRSC A is the highest disbursement to any Ministry, Departments and Agencies(MDAs).

He said his tenure will ensure that all its staff amounting to over 30,000 owns a house assuring that beneficiaries will ensure repayment of accessed loans.

We have a workforce of over 30,000 and i told them that my joy is that by the time I finish my tenure, everybody will have a roof and it is going to be a one man one house and I am happy we are making progress in respect of this and the first thing I did was to proceed to FMBN because in our salary there is always a deduction of NHF and it is resident with the FMBN.

I want to express our deep appreciation to the management of the FMBN for having trust in us this is the highest disbursement to any MDA. When it comes to repayment we are more than willing to comply with the monthly remittance and this is why we are getting more, he said.

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