Eco-Stone expected in Lagos for mass housing under state’s LAPH initiative

Eco-Stone, a foreign firm with expertise in mass production of affordable housing using a building system called Solar Light Weight Concrete, will soon be in Lagos to drive the state’s civil servants-focused Lagos Affordable Public Housing (LAPH) initiative, the state’s commissioner for housing, Gbolahan Lawal, says.
The firm has capacity to deliver a house in just seven days, which is why the state government considers it a good ally in the implementation of the LAPH initiative, which targets 20,000 housing units to be delivered in the next four years.

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The company has already signed an agreement with the Federal Government to deliver 2,000 housing units under the government’s Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
“The LAPH initiative is part of our efforts at addressing the supply side of the state’s housing challenge; we have about eight other partners with whom we have memorandum of understanding to deliver housing,” the commissioner said, pointing out that a 2014 survey carried out by the state revealed about 3 million housing units deficit.


To address the housing demand side, he said apart from their rent-to-own homeownership scheme, which is a modification of the Lagos Homeownership Mortgage Scheme (LagosHOMS), the state had also partnered the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), to provide access to housing finance through its-member primary mortgage banks (PMBs).
The state is also working with the pension commission with a view to creating a fifth fund—pension contributors’ housing fund—that will be 20 percent of present and future contribution. “It is proposed that this should be lent out at 5 percent interest rate to enable the mortgage banks create mortgages at 8.5 percent for home seekers as opposed to the current 22.5 percent,” he assured.


Apart from commending this move, analysts also see these partnerships and funding arrangements enabling more Lagos residents to own homes, especially through the Rent-to-Own scheme, which allows tenants to pay rents on the houses they live in consistently for five to 10 years, and at the end of that period, own the houses.
But there are concerns too. Given the state government’s antecedents, these partnerships may collapse mid-way into implementation.
The termination of the state’s partnership agreement with the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) which was to reconstruct the Lekki-Epe Expressway on build, operate and transfer (BOT) lease agreement is, in the opinion of analysts, a big drawback on PPP as a vehicle for delivering infrastructure.


The concession agreement for the reconstruction of the Falomo Shopping Complex, which was concessioned to Afriland Properties was also terminated by the state government under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who argued that the concession was against the interest of Lagosians.
The state’s attitude to partnership arrangements have continued to be a disincentive to investors, especially property investors, who are attracted to the state because of its huge market.
Lagos has a large population estimated at 20 million. Its housing market can be likened to a pyramid in which supply is concentrated at the top pointed end while the base, which harbours the chunk of the population, suffers huge housing demand-supply gap.

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A recent report by on the state’s housing market says about 65 percent of the state’s population lives in rented accommodation, spending over 50 percent of their monthly income on paying house rents. This underscores the level of housing affordability among the residents.

Built environment professionals renew call for affordable housing with local materials

By Kingsley Adegboye

Built environment professionals comprising builders, developers, engineers, architects and others who gathered at the grand opening of Royal Ceramics’ Centre called “Royal Experience Centre” in Lekki, Lagos last week, have renewed call for affordable housing with the use of local building materials, taking into consideration abundant natural resources of the country.

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The stakeholders who commended West African Ceramics Ltd, leading manufacturers of ceramics tiles in Nigeria for its consistency in producing quality tiles that can match the standards of their foreign counterparts, and for opening of the Lekki mega showroom, agreed that the outlet will service the housing needs of Lekki residents particularly in terms of interior finishing. The theme of the forum was Experience the Art of Finishing in S’Tile. In his keynote address, the President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Nigeria, REDAN, Ugochukwu Chime, emphasised the need for use of local building materials in the country if affordable housing is to be truly achieved, adding that the cost of building is a significant component of housing provision as it constitutes approximately 56 per cent of the total cost of the project. According to REDAN boss, “any effort to reduce cost is a tonic to availability and affordability of home ownership to Nigerians. “Given the generally low income level among off-takers for housing products, we are therefore extremely keen on how cost of houses can be brought to minimal level, hence our interest in taking advantage of any opportunity, including uptake of new and emerging technologies to reduce the cost of construction.

“It is on this premise that we find this effort of Royal Ceramics cardinal and imperative. This is because from our foray to their factory in 2016, we found out that most of the raw materials used are locally sourced. This has assisted in reducing the cost of their products without reducing the quality. And with their very high quality products, they have demonstrated their contribution to not only national economic growth but helped to reduce cost of housing.” Corroborating his counterparts in a paper presentation entitled: Engineering Affordable Housing with Local Products, President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Adekunle Mokuolu said that to make affordable housing possible, favourable legislation that would make land available and affordable should be put in place by the Federal Government while there should be provision of efficient low interest mortgages, efficient and cost effective primary infrastructure, enforcing the local content policy and executive order 5, empowerment of would-be home owners, rejuvenating moribund industries and solving the Ajaokuta Steel project equation. According to the NSE president: “Everyone has the right to a decent shelter and improved well-being. However, the housing deficit will continue to grow except deliberate and commensurate measures are taken to tackle it head- on. The first step is to tackle the high cost of building by either subsidising the cost of building materials or crashing it.

“How best can this be done other than taking full advantage of the enormous local materials available through intensive research and understanding how they could be used for developing decent low-cost housing? Affordable housing can be achieved, but not much will be done if the status quo remains unchanged. We can right the decades of wrongs today if we are determined. The best time to do so is now. Let us turn to local products both in human capital and natural resources.” Declaring open the Royal Experience Centre located along Lekki-Epe Expressway, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB, and chief host of the event, Kenneth Nduka, said the establishment of the experience centre will indeed serve as a unique distribution outlet of West African Ceramics Ltd to service the housing development requirements of the Lagos Megacity project of the proactive government of Lagos State. Nduka added that the centre will equally wet the appetite for high taste and good quality finishing by highbrow property developers and occupiers along the Victoria Island/Lekki axis and beyond. He stressed that the array of uses to which tiles are put in a building project ranges from the artistic, decorative, flooring, walling, roofing, ceiling and through to structural and even illuminations and signage. In all these uses, appropriate specification and proper application remain the essential yardstick for the attainment of the desired functions it will perform and the right purposes it will serve in a building. The General Manager, West African Ceramics Ltd, Mr. Bhaskar Rao said the Royal Experience Centre initiative is a response to support government’s efforts in resuscitating local production through effective distribution network to ensure that products are available at the right time, right place, and at the right price and the delivery of the products in a way that encourages consumers to cultivate and sustain the ‘Buy Nigeria’ behaviour.

Rao added that this is because they do not just buy products, but the collective experiences of product quality, affordability and reliability delivered, just as they also acquire product knowledge and application, unmatched customer services as well as all the functional attributes of the product.” According to him: “The mega experience centre serves beyond a showroom where tiles are displayed, but a hub designed to enlighten customers about the applications of various designs and types of tiles in a building project and to create an unprecedented shopping experience for customers obtainable overseas. The showroom is an initiative to strengthen dealer relationship and channel management in a way that consumers would experience tile shopping different from the norm obtainable in developed societies.

Food vendor at federal housing site sells N38,000 daily

A vendor, Mrs. Regina Ibe, who sells food at the National Housing Programme (NHP) project site at Idomwen-Ehigie in Uhumwode Local Government of Edo State, yesterday said she made N35,000 daily.

She said since the beginning of the project in March 2017, her business had attracted patronage from workers.

Ibe said as a result, she was able to buy a plot.

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Speaking during an inspection of the NHP in Southsouth and Southeast states, she hailed the Federal Government for creating jobs and empowering people through the programme.

Ibe said she bought the plot at N250, 000 and supported her family.

She said: “Since the Federal Government opened this place, I have been selling well. I make a profit of N38,000 and sometimes N35,000, depending on the market. I am really grateful to God. God will bless you people.”

Mrs. Pat Omorodion, a supplier of sharp sand, granites and other building materials, recalled how she supplied materials for the three-storey condominium as well as three-bedroom and two-bedroom flats at the site.

She attributed her increased earnings to the project, stressing that such project should be replicated in the state.

“This project has put food on our table. So, we appreciate it. You know we are handling the condominium, so they bought many granites. I say kudos to them.”

NHP’s National Team leader Mrs. Ebemeata Ani-Otoibhi said the project would be completed in June.

It includes eight three-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms and a condominium.

She said about 3,000 people were engaged, while there was full compliance with local content such that iron, windows, doors, burglary, among others, used for the construction were locally sourced and provided by Edo residents.

“In this state, the quality of materials and specifications is good. The bottom line is, everything we are using is made in Nigeria, from the cement to the door, they are all locally made,” Ani-Otoibhi said.

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Local contractors, Messrs. Osahon Osazee and Gabriel Adesida, hailed the Federal Government and urged it to commence the second phase.

They appealed for timely release of funds to prevent it from being abandoned.

Low-cost housing needs dignity, says Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

Fresh from scooping architecture’s most august award, the champion of housing for the poor is urging greater compassion
The winner of architecture’s “Nobel prize”, Balkrishna Doshi, has called on his profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities.

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The internationally noted champion of housing for India’s poor, Doshi was awarded the Pritzker prize last week, in large part for the Aranya low-cost housing project. It accommodates 80,000 people with houses and courtyards linked by a maze of pathways in the city of Indore.

A celebrity in India where he speaks to packed lectures, 90-year-old Doshi, who studied under Le Corbusier, has worked on other projects – including mixed-income housing for a life insurance corporation in Ahmedabad and the underground Amdavad ni Gufa art gallery – but it is Aranya for which he is best known.

Speaking to the Housing news after the announcement of his award, Doshi said that architects and urban planners involved in low-income housing projects – as well as architectural education – needed to move away from their focus on the designer as individual to being far more collaborative, compassionate and invested in the dignity of those they house.

And in the chequered history of slum clearance and relocation – including in the US after Roosevelt’s New Deal , and in countries like France and the UK in the post-war era – Doshi’s Aranya stands out as a success story in a country with substantial and persisting housing issues for its poorest citizens.
“They are not houses but homes where a happy community lives. That is what finally matters,” Doshi has said in the past of the organising credo for this project.

Doshi believes that a large part of Aranya’s success has been because instead of presenting those who would live there – often in a purpose-built house for the first time – with a ready-made design, the development allows residents the space and opportunity to adapt and improve their homes.

Built around a central spine to accommodate businesses, Doshi’s brick houses – in sizes from a single room to larger homes for wealthier families – were designed around parks and courtyards, with groups of ten houses forming inward-looking clusters.

Beyond aesthetics, Doshi argued that architecture and urban design – done right – can and should be socially transformative for the world’s poorest.

“If you empower people then what happens is that it creates incentives for people that are self-generated. The promise of a home is not a limited hope, but the sky becomes the limit.”

If at times Doshi speaks more like a humanist philosopher than a designer, it is an outlook that was explicitly recognised by the prize committee that “projects must go beyond the functional to connect with the human spirit through poetic and philosophical underpinnings”.

“Housing as shelter is but one aspect of these projects,” the Pritzker jury added in its citation.

“The entire planning of the community, the scale, the creation of public, semi-public and private spaces are a testament to his understanding of how cities work and the importance of the urban design.”

Echoing that theme, Doshi added: “As architects we are supposed to be social, economic and cultural designers. But really we are exclusive when we need to be inclusive.”

“If I as an architect am not able to do something for my people and provide them with what they need, then I should say my job is incomplete.”

For Doshi that has not only meant designing places like Aranya to replace slum housing but to have the curiosity and humility to learn from slums, not least how and why a successful sense of community coalesces, even in situations of extreme hardship.
“I used take students to slum areas. When you talk to the people living there they are lot more open and willing to share and modify because the human being is basically a compassionate animal.

“In Bombay,” he added, “we have a large slum near the airport. When we were studying you could see that besides the situation of living there in absolute misery, people were also willing to challenge themselves to find a better way of life, and seeking to overcome the problems.”

The balance, for Doshi, is a subtle combination of factors including access to the “essentials” of life – shops, cafes and places to do business – with the housing maintaining crucial “privacies” while leaving room for cooperative communities to develop through their own negotiations.

“That means borders that are diffuse. What you need to find is how to create not separations but buffer zones, places where there is room for variation.” Doshi said he found such models in Indian temples and old cities.

“You want slight shifts – to create gaps – because architecture is not mechanical.”

Instead Doshi sees communities and the physical places that they live as “organic” and “messy” and inevitably adapting what the architect has designed.

Commenting on the importance of the award for India, Alok Ranjan, Jaipur-based professor and member of the Indian Institute of Architects, told AFP last week: “This is very good news for Indian architects because he is our godfather. We are very proud.

“What stands out about his work is that it is for all strata of society … not only for the elite but also for the middle- and low-income groups.”

Work with EFCC, ICPC, CCB to curtail corruption in built industry, FG tells QSRBN

By Chris Ochayi

Disturbed by high cost of projects occasioned by corrupt activities in the built environment, the Federal Government has asked the Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, to work closely with the country’s anti-graft agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and Code of Conduct Bureau CCB, in order to curb the menace of corruption in the construction industry.

Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who gave the charge during the 2018 annual assembly of registered quantity surveyors and induction of newly registered quantity surveyors and practising firms, expressed concerns over rising incidents of corrupt practices in the sector. Fashola said: “I therefore urge your Board to work closely with anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, among others to tame the menace of corruption in the construction industry.”

He said that the Federal Government is waging a fierce war against corruption in all aspects of our national life and will always encourage partnership with bodies such as the QSRBN, adding that to win this battle, “I encourage you to continue to put the fight against corruption in the front burner of your activities until desired milestone of success is met.” According to the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mohammad Bukar, “Ethics is a major challenge to professionalism in Nigeria. Therefore, in regulating your profession, the Quantity Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, should strive to maintain the highest standard of professional ethics among quantity surveyors.

“The Board must not hesitate to blacklist any quantity surveyor found wanting in this regard. Another area deserving urgent attention of your Board is the menace posed by activities of quacks. Quacks inflict much damage on the economy. They are not qualified and are unregistered.

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They do not subscribe to any professional ethics and codes of conduct, hence their unscrupulous activities. “Construction project costing and estimation is of course in the domain of quantity surveyors. It is therefore, illegal for any person not so trained and registered by the Board to offer such professional services to government either for remuneration or otherwise. Quantity surveyors have a major role in helping government to achieve value-for-money in the procurement of capital goods, works and services”, Fashola said. In his address, the President, QSRBN, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu, noted that the Board is better placed to drive the current administration’s corruption fight to ensure the creation of value-for-money in public procurements, adding that “If as a country, we want to be taken seriously in our procurement of public goods and services. We must involve quantity surveyors in all costing at all levels from inception to commissioning of projects”.

Workers seek withdrawal of funds from NHF

For not meeting their housing needs, Federal Government employees are mounting pressure to break the monopoly of National Housing Fund (NHF) on workers’ contributions. To show their seriousness, they are currently seeking withdrawal of their contributions from the NHF to Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) for easy access to their money.

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Their demand is contained in the proposed Amendment to the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) Act currently before the House of Representatives. The proposed amendment is hinged on the need for federal public servants to derive guaranteed benefits from their contributions to NHF. Under the proposed amendment, Section 8 of the new Act is proposing that 50 per cent of Federal Public Service contributions to the NHF be channeled to the FGSHLB to guarantee contributors’ access to the fund.

Justifying this in his lead presentation to House of Representative Committee on Public Service Matters in Abuja, Director, Legal Services, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Emmanuel Omonowa, stated that many workers, who were contributors to the NHF, who should be helped to put money together to own their own houses, were denied access during and after retirement. According to him, what has been on ground is that money would be deducted from work ers’ salary at source and given to primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) to build houses that civil servants cannot buy due to high cost, adding that this has been responsible for rising nation’s housing deficit. In view of the fact that contribution to the NHF is being done by federal public employees, the director of legal services proposed that “50 per cent should be ordered in the Act, to be amended, to be paid to the loans board.”

He said: “Number one, for anybody to retire from the public service today, they request that you must bring a certificate from the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board that you do not owe. These are the people contributing to NHF and they must come to the board to obtain a certificate to show that they do not owe. “So why not put their contributions here (FGSHLB), so that when they come for their certificate, if they have not obtained any loan, then you put their contributions together and give to them.”

The NHF Act compels workers to contribute two and half per cent of their salaries to the fund and the law empowers employers to deduct the contributions at source. Although the law covers workers in both the public and private sectors, only federal public servants have been contributing to the fund since the law took off in 1993. The existing law setting up the NHF gives the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) the power to manage the funds being contributed by workers.

The argument, however, is that FMBN operates as a secondary mortgage institution that does not deal with individual contributors. This was identified as a problem in accessing to the NHF by contributors. Representative of Senior Civil Servants Association of Nigeria, Mr. Apebo Joshua, maintained that contributions of public servants to the NHF should be transferred to the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board.

He said: “This is because we do not benefit from our contributions to the National Housing Funds, being managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.” According to him, even if FMBN gave money to private developers to build houses, many houses built by developers won’t be affordable to civil servants with the current N18, 000 minimum wage. He said: “If a developer charges N4million for a house, a civil servant who desires to own such a house would be required to pay 10 per cent of the sum, amounting to N400,000. How much is minimum wage? Minimum wage is N18,000, in 12 months will give you N216,000.

“The sum of N216,000 is not up to the 10 per cent being demanded by the developer. So how can somebody acquire that type of house?” But a representative of FMBN, who did not want his name in print, told the House Committee that the NHF Act, which empowered FMBN to manage the fund, was opened to all contributors to the fund. He added that civil servants and members of the public sectors have been benefitting from it.

The FMBN representative further explained: “We reckon that the Act provided for the monies collected (through NHF), to be channeled through Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs), for on lending to contributors, and we have our problems there. We have been seeking to amend our own Act and then the NHF Act, to meet the realities of the time.” In an effort to ensure that civil servants that cannot afford equity contributions to own a house have access to fund, the FMBN representative said the bank floated Home Renovation Loan to enable them access to funding to renovate existing homes.

Akwa Ibom Lawmaker Donates Housing Estate To Constituents

In what could be considered a unique deviation from the common political empowerment practices of giving cars and cash gifts, Engr. Otobong Ndem, the lawmaker representing Mkpat Enin state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, has donated a mini-housing estate to members of his constituency.

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The 620-square metre per plot 20-unit housing estate, right in the heart of Uyo capital city, is indeed one of its kind in the history of political empowerment in the state.

Speaking with newsmen in Uyo at the weekend as part of activities to mark his mega constituency briefing/empowerment slated for April 18 2018, the lawmaker said 20 members of his constituency would on Wednesday receive land allocation papers.


He explained that two beneficiaries of the scheme had already moved into their new homes, while many others have been mobilized to site and were at advanced stages of completion. Others who were yet to be allocated, would, according to Ndem, be handed the land documents during the empowerment programme.

His words “The housing estate which situates in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital (Aka- Etinan – Mbiokporo road, opposite Jehovah Witnesses Assembly Hall), measures 620 square metres per plot of land. The mini-housing scheme is my own way of providing one of the basic necessities of man, which is shelter, within the state capital to some members of my constituency who were yet to have houses of their own in Uyo.”


He explained that under the housing scheme segment of his empowerment scheme, beneficiaries were allocated a plot of land in the estate to build any house of their choice, while he would assist them in the building construction with cement and roofing materials.

On the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries of his empowerment schemes, Ndem said the choice of beneficiaries were usually thrown to ward and community leaders within the 14 wards in Mkpat Enin to ensure that no deserving individual was left out.

Providing a feed forward to his empowerment programme, the House of Assembly Services Committee Chairman explained that in addition to the housing scheme, several of his constituency members would smile home with buses, cars, starter packs, financial aid, among other empowerment packages.

Presenting a scorecard of his representation, Ndem reported to have so far sponsored three bills and no fewer than six life touching motions which were debated on and acted upon.

He listed some of his motions to include; “the Motion on Death Fangs from Consumption of Illicit Drinks popularly known as Kaikai (Ethanol and Methanol); Motion for the Rehabilitation of Cottage Hospitals in Asong, Ikot Abia and Ikot Ekpaw, all in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area; Motion on Community Based Budgeting (Participation of People in Budgeting for Creation of Community Based/People Oriented Budget); and Motion on Checking Roadside Markets and Trading on Highways in the State to Safeguard Lives; among others.

Some of his bills included The Akwa Ibom State Investors/Investments Protection Bill, 2016, The Akwa Ibom, State Economy Strategy Bill, 2016, which have both passed the second reading and the Akwa Ibom State Urban and Regional Planning Bill 2017.

He said he had trained hundreds of constituent members, most of whom he said will be given starter packs during the empowerment programme. He however appealed to those who have not been captured in the first two phases of his empowerment programmes to forward their names to his constancy office, as he is currently planning a third phase of empowerment in the next two months and the fourth phase before the end of his first tenure in office.

He listed some of his interventions in Mkpat Enin to include; the provision of a solar powered boreholes in Ikot Ekpaw, Ukam and Ikot Akata, facilitate the provision of transformers in Ikot Akata, Nya Odiong and Ikot Abasi-ufon, reactivation of electricity in Ikot Abasi Akpan, Ekpuk, Ikot Ekpaw and Nya Diong, and construction of a befitting Unity Hall in Ukam.

Abia to improve housing provision using Lagos model

The Abia State Government is set to improve housing provision in the state using the Lagos State Government’s model.

Based on this, the Abia State Ministry Commissioner for Housing, Mr. James Okpara, paid his Lagos counterpart, Gbolahan Lawal, a courtesy visit recently.

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Okpara said his team came to learn from the housing projects of the Lagos State Government with a view to replicating some in Abia.

He stated that when he became the commissioner last year, he found out that the state did not have a housing policy.

“I promised that even if it is the only thing I do before leaving office, it must be done. The housing policy is not being taken very seriously in many states but Lagos is the most advanced state in the country and we know that we can get the best from here; so, we want to learn how the state is doing it and succeeding,” Okpara stated.

Lawal told the delegation that Lagos had created programmes on housing to bridge the close to three million deficit.

“We need to build about 187,500 houses annually to bridge the three million housing gap in the state. As of today, we are on 17 sites working on 6,000 housing units. We are also partnering the private sector because we know that working with the players will help us bridge the gap,” he said.

Lawal stated that not too long ago, a delegation from Kano State also came for a similar visit, adding that he was glad that other state governments found Lagos’ housing initiative attractive enough to replicate in their states.

A presentation on the various housing programmes in Lagos State was made to the delegation, followed by a tour of one of the project sites.

“The policy is good, we couldn’t expect any less from Lagos State being the centre of excellence; what we learnt will go a long way in helping us with our vision. We will take part of it, Lagos and Abia are not the same, but there are some parameters that will be the same; so, we will take those that suit the state,” Okpara said at the end of the meeting.

‘How foreign capital aids Nigeria’s commercial real estate rebound’

Notwithstanding that real estate recovery has taken time to gain traction, foreigners are fueling capital injection in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, with South Africa and United Kingdom investors leading the way.

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Although, an oversupply of high-end property and limited access to finance have underpinned the market’s slow bounce back, prospects are looking up for the second quarter of the year.

According to a report from international brokerage, Knight Frank, the persuasive long-term investment case for Sub-Saharan Africa has drawn increased numbers of international investors to investigate opportunities within the region over recent years, albeit transactional activity has been restricted by the limited availability of investment- grade stock and the opacity of the markets outside of South Africa.


Interest in the sector remains heightened, despite the weakening of some Sub-Saharan economies over the last two years.

Two years ago, Investors’ appetite for Sub-Saharan real estate was highlighted by the announcement that the UK-based emerging markets specialist Actis had raised US$500 million for its third African property fund, Actis Africa Real Estate Fund 3.

This is the largest amount that has ever been raised for a private real estate fund focused on Sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, and it included a commitment from the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).

The report revealed that Actis’ two previous funds, closed in 2006 and 2012, have been involved with some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most modern commercial property developments, in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania.

In recent years, Actis has exited from many of its first wave of investments, selling its interests in assets including the Accra Mall, Nairobi Business Park and Ikeja City Mall.

When Actis launched its first Sub-Saharan Africa fund over a decade ago, it was a pioneer entering a market largely untapped by global property funds.

However, its third fund will enter a significantly more crowded marketplace as a series of property investment vehicles have emerged in recent years targeting Sub-Saharan real estate.

Many of these are South African- controlled funds, albeit often registered or listed offshore in Mauritius.

A prominent example is RMB Westport, which was created in 2008 as a joint venture between Rand Merchant Bank and the Westport Property Group.

Its development projects were the Wings Office Complex in Lagos and Muxima Shopping Centre in Luanda. RMB Westport’s second fund, which has a target of raising US$450 million, has attracted commitments from both GIC and the UK investor Grosvenor.

Other real estate investment vehicles to have been launched in the last two years include a pan-African joint venture created by Growthpoint and Investec, which has the target of raising US$500 million.

Momentum Global Investment Management and Eris Property Group have also formed a joint venture, the US$250 million Momentum Africa Real Estate Fund, which has allocated capital to development projects in Ghana and Nigeria.

The Anglo-South African group Old Mutual signalled its intention to expand its African footprint by announcing a partnership with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

This venture aims to raise US$500 million for a real estate fund, in addition to a US$200 million agriculture investment vehicle.

A further noteworthy event was the creation of Mara Delta, a pan- African real estate fund formed from the merger of Delta Africa and Mara Diversified Property Holdings.

During 2016, Mara Delta was one of the most acquisitive buyers of real estate across the region, growing a portfolio which currently includes assets in Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia.

An estate surveyor and valuer, Mr. Akin Olawore who doubles as the president of Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), told The Guardian that most of the commercial buildings standing today were financed and built by such investors.

“These are part of the sums that make up Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Nigeria, which is highest in the last five years in SSA.

“Statistics show that we have opportunities in those sectors and also have the strength of bringing in anchor tenants.

Also private equities need big assets to finance to be lucrative, a number of these assets may be bundled into REITS package to create exit for the investors to take over. “

A past Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors & Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State Branch, Mr. Stephen Jagun said that the returns are too juicy to be ignored.

“Get the right location and deliver a super product; and if possible pre-let or pre-sale to target audience. We also have the huge population to our advantage.”

For Mrs. Erejuwa Gbadebo, Chief Executive Officer, International Real Estate Partners (IREP) Nigeria said the foreign investors have not revived the real estate.

FCTA To Partner Chams On Abuja ICT Smart City Project

The minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Muhammad Musa Bello, has said the FCTA is working on arrangement to partner with Chams Plc, a leading provider of identity management and intelligent business solutions on the Abuja Smart City project.

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Speaking during a presentation by Chams Plc in Abuja recently, the chief of staff, FCTA, Mr Bashir Mai-Bornu, who represented the minister at the event, said the FCTA would like to engage the company in providing ICT solutions in the areas of education and health. He said: ‘‘Technology is the future and anybody that ignores it does so it at his own peril. The FCT requires a lot of ICT solutions because of the services it provides.

We believe with what Chams has done in the country in its 33 years of existence, it can play a big role in making Abuja a smart city.’’ In his response, the group managing director, Chams, Mr Femi Williams, said the company has a lot of creative ways of solving problems.

According to him, the company is good at understanding challenges and can generate Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the FCTA from any area with different strategies. In his presentation, Williams said the company has provided intelligent business solutions for many clients which include: Osun and Anambra state governments, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, among others.

‘‘Most of our solutions are built and managed by Nigerians. We don’t sell solutions, we adapt them. We are very good at understanding challenges. We do intelligent business solutions that add value to our customers.’’ Chams, a conglomerate commenced business in Nigeria in 1985 as a computer hardware and maintenance company. The company is quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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