Experts Set Agenda for Buhari Government on Environment

Civil society groups and experts have examined the Buhari administration’s four years’ of environmental stewardship, saying that much needs to be done in the protection of the natural resources through conservation and sustainable practices.
They believe that the Federal Government scored major point in the United Nations Environment Programme report and clean up of the Ogoniland, and pushing for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the superhighway project in Cross River State.
The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey told The Guardian that the process for the EIA was strictly implemented and the promoters were committed to it. “ This aspect of EIA is a plus in which we have not seen in any other administration,” he said.

However, he argued that there is no baseline for assessment of the environment sector. According to him, without that, it will be difficult to assess the government yearly or on regular intervals in terms of air pollution and water.

“People are not warned on the type of air they breathe and we still have contaminated site and oil spills. We don’t see serious sanctions on the oil companies,” he added.

The, Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, said despite the clean up of Ogoni touted as an environmental legacy project, the government scored near zero for its poor environmental protection record.

“There is a lack of an acceptable key performance indicators for the clean up. Although 16 contractors have been reportedly mobilized to site in December 2018, the key performance indicators have not been made public by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) indicating a lack of transparency and accountability of the process.

“The clean up contract awards have been corrupted as political patronage for politicians to enrich themselves at the detriment of the poor impacted victims of the oil and gas pollution.

“Nigeria lacks a holistic approach to environmental protection and sustainable development. It has failed to put in place a National Environmental Action Plan that will specify a framework of action to deliver on set national targets measured by clear indicators on an annual basis,” he said.

Dr. Ojo stressed that government should properly clean up Ogoni, restore public confidence and redeem its dented image as well as put in place a framework for the clean up of the oil polluted Niger Delta that has been the source of protests and violent conflicts.

He added: “As a conflict resolution mechanism, the federal government should delineate the Niger Delta as ecological disaster area and declare environmental state of emergency to focus on the Niger Delta and end gas flaring.”

Bassey urged the government to conduct an environmental audit of the country and put in place a comprehensive drainage master plan to tackle recurring flooding as well as an integrated solid waste management system.

South East Outreach and Communication Adviser, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Paddy Ezeala said, tougher measures should be put in place to checkmate wanton emission of noxious and deleterious gases through gas flaring and use of outdated machines.

He also advised that electricity challenges should be addressed to minimise the use of power generating sets that emit harmful environmental pollutants, including nitrogen oxide, currently the single most important ozone-depleting emission.

Source: GuardianNg

FG, Firm to Develop Software for Environmental Protection

The Federal government has entered into partnership with GEObjects,a software provider operating in Australia and United Kingdom that would lead its initiatives to protect air, water, land and natural assets in the country.

Under the agreement, the government would be able to gain the capabilities to measure and analyse environmental outcomes on equal footing with any participant in carbon economy and management in the subregion.

Speaking at joint workshop in Abuja, Director, Department of Climate Change, Dr. Peter Tarfa said the government brought the software provider to brainstorm on application how it would be used in ministries, department and agencies.

According to Tarfa, currently, there are reviews going on how to calculate emissions, the methods involved, adding, this will not be another ‘white elephant project of government, but to make it applicable to all sectors of the economy.

Earlier, Managing Director of GEObjects, Mark Wood, said the technologies exceed what is obtainable in most advanced governments, adding that Nigeria was the perfect sponsor to drive the change in the world.

Mark also noted that the workshop would focus on developing and refining pathways for advancement of country’s position going into next phase of environmental economy through the use of the software.

He however, explained that the burden of cost of environmental management might be revisited as a way to produce wealth, enrich the people, create social opportunities as well as invigorate Nigerian economy.

Another speaker, David MclLwraith argued that one of the most interesting thing was to bring sophisticated environmental analytics software to every one who needs to use it, ‘the key product is Sphere.’

Explaining further, David maintained that they recognised the expertise of government and agencies and seek to provide a tool to enhance the capability assets. he said that they are ready to train software developers, scientists, and operators technicians.

“We supply and provide environmental analysis software, which is a carbon simulator and system. We also want to establish Nigerian participation in global carbon economy generates revenue, secures her place in pro-carbon age.”

Source: Guardianng

Power grid collapses, causes outage across states

The national electricity grid crashed on Wednesday afternoon, significantly reducing bulk power available for distribution across the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos), Daily Trust reports.

The collapse is coming a day after the national grid rose to 5,114 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, a feat not reached for over two months.

Although this is the first collapse recorded this month, there are at least two major collapse in April, with one reducing the grid to 180MW. As at Wednesday morning, the grid was 4,212MW before the collapse occurred, a daily report from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said.
Reacting to this, the spokesman of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Oyebode Fadipe said the grid challenge reduced its allocation to 20MW. “In the circumstance, we are unable to service our customers.

We apologise for the inconvenience this may be causing our customers,” it told customers across Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger States in a statement. Equally, Kaduna Electric said the collapse of the national grid interrupted power supply in Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states where it operates.

Its head of Corporate Communication, Abdulazeez Abdullahi in a statement said, “At about 2:33PM today, 8 May 2019 the national grid suffered system collapse, consequently, power supply to all our franchise states was interrupted.”

“Normal supply shall be restored as soon as the grid is back up. We regret any inconvenience this may cause all our customers,” it added.

Source: By Simon Echewofun Sunday & Hassan Ibrahim

Ministerial Panel Canvas for Urban, Regional Planning Tribunal to Tackle Violations

The Inter-Ministerial Committee set-up by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has recommended the establishment of a functional urban and regional planning tribunal that would deal with all forms of violation in our building environment across the country.

The committee also recommended that an Executive Bill on National Building Code should be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law in order to regulate the conduct and operation of professionals and stakeholders in the construction industry.

Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Samson Duna while submitting its report to the minister on Friday in Abuja, said that frequent re-occurrence of collapse building in the country has become a national embarrassment where huge investments and valuables have been lost.

According to the chairman, the ugly incidents of building collapse have rendered many families homeless, individuals injured and causing psychological trauma to the affected families, stakeholders and of deep concern to Government at all levels.

He added that the National Building Code if passed into law would drastically reduce the invasion of building industry by quacks and non –building  professionals which contribute to majority of the recorded building collapses in Nigeria.

Earlier, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that human lives are secured, adding that the anguish and sorrow experienced by Nigerians due to building collapse should not be allowed to continue.

Onu further said that the recommendations of the committee will be utilized by the government to halt the recurring problem of building collapse.

He commended the committee for doing excellent job and coming up with viable recommendations to ensure safety of buildings and human lives in the country.

By Segun Olaniyi

Rising co-working locations underpins growth in start-ups, millennial population

Contrary to high vacancy rates for Grade A office buildings resulting from space oversupply across major cities of Nigeria, development and demand for co-working locations are on the rise, underpinning growth in the start-up community and millennial population in the country.
Co-working spaces, commonly called collaborative work-spaces, are today in high demand driven largely by tech start-ups and the millennials.

Though it is difficult to state the exact population of Nigerians in the millennials class, analysts estimate that they constitute 23 percent of the national population (about 40 million people), noting that this number has moved up since the last population count in 2016.

In its report which monitored the Lagos property market in Q1 2019, Knight Frank, an international firm of estate surveyors and valuers, affirms that millennials and tech start-ups have remained drivers of co-working space demand.

“Co-working locations in Nigeria, from just two in 2011, has grown to 109 and about 1.7 million individuals are now involved globally,” the firm said in the report.

The report quotes industry experts as suggesting that one co-working location opens every month in Lagos, confirming the city as the commercial nerve-centre and economic hub of Nigeria where opportunities and challenges are in mortal contest for the soul of budding enterprises.

In Lagos, co-working is already a trend that is driven by the city’s high start-up ecosystem. Nigeria has a strong entrepreneurial culture, according to Global Start-up Ecosystem 2017 Report, which valued the Lagos start-up ecosystem as the highest in Africa with a growth index of 6.6.

Expectation is that as these start-ups continue to spring up, there will be a stronger demand for co-working real estate solutions which means increased investment opportunities for the space suppliers.

Broll Nigeria, in its office market viewpoint, confirms that co-working in Lagos is expanding quickly and the bulk of supply is by local service providers, typically operating in stand-alone converted residential properties or C-grade office buildings.

“In Lagos, we see the global co-working trend through a varied number of local service providers operating in the market. With over 50 local co-working operators, Regus is the only international brand operating under a direct franchise model in the market,” Bolaji Edu, Broll’s CEO, told BusinessDay.

At the heart of co-working is the ‘plug & play’ concept which mitigates occupational obligations for tenants such as fit-out costs and lease negotiations while offering flexibility and ease of doing business.

These inherent attributes make co-working increasingly popular across the world, especially in emerging markets such as India and South East Asia. The Global Co-working Unconference Conference (GCUC) estimates a global growth of 108 percent by the year 2022, up from the 14, 000+ global co-working spaces recorded in 2017, showing the speed at which co-working is to expand.

However, the Broll report takes note of a few downsides in Nigeria as against global trend. Co-working in its truest essence is a fairly new concept in Lagos. Its operators tend to incur both the capital and operational costs of running their spaces which is a deviation from global trends that incorporate other operating models.

“Co-working in Lagos for many service providers is a secondary service line to other core service lines in the business. Typically, these businesses tend to be knowledge hubs that diversify into co-working services,” Edu observed, pointing out that there is a strong patronage of co-working in Lagos as many service providers are operating at full capacity and are rolling out expansion plans.

Available statistics show that 87 percent of operators are unwilling to expand to prime-grade buildings. Average occupancy rate is 74 percent; 50 percent of the operators have co-working as the core business line, while only 19 percent of the operators own their own space.

Source: By Chuka Uroko

EU unveils solar tree, contributes 165m euros for renewable energy in Nigeria

The delegation of the European Union (EU) to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has unveiled a solar tree at the EU Delegation Office Complex Abuja, to highlight the union’s commitment to renewable solar energy in Nigeria.

Solar power plant Ambassador of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, unveiled the solar tree on Thursday to spotlight its current actions in Nigeria and as part of activities to highlight the use of the sun as a source of energy.

”On the occasion of Europe Day this year, we decided to put the spotlight on one particular issue that is vital for everything else and that is the accessibility to affordable energy.

”For the availability of jobs, it is absolutely vital that businesses can thrive and for businesses to thrive it is important that they have access to affordable energy in order to compete,” Karlsen said. Also read: EU to support Nigeria’s sustainable energy investment — Karsen Karlsen revealed that the EU set aside 165 million euros to cater to over 90 million Nigerians and business owners without access to affordable renewable energy.

”A very significant number of people do not have access to affordable energy options, as a result, the EU has set aside 165 million Euros, supplemented by other financing opportunities with specific funding for Nigerian businesses in order to promote better use of renewable energy in this country.

”This room we are sitting in is being fueled by renewable energy, very soon we will unveil the source of that energy in this compound that will be fueled by solar energy. ”

We thought that instead of preaching this we should walk the talk ourselves by making use of renewable energy sources for our own day to day work. ”Now we need to reach out to the people that need renewable energy all over Nigeria.

”We are meeting and working closely with federal and state counterparts to see how life-changing it could be when people who do not have access to affordable energy all of a sudden have it, this also affects business owners,” he said.

Source: Vanguard

Hong Kong’s March Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in 2-1/2 years

Hong Kong’s private home prices, one of the world’s most expensive property markets, rose in March at their fastest pace since September 2016 on strong pent-up demand and improved sentiment.

Home prices in the densely-populated city gained 2.9 percent last month, the third straight rise and accelerating from February’s revised 1.6 percent increase, government data showed on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s home prices fell from August to December last year weighed by U.S.-China trade tensions and higher interest rates after rising for 28 consecutive months, but then quickly rebounded since the beginning of this year.

“The rise is higher than expected,” said Thomas Lam, executive director of Knight Frank. “If the index continues to rise in the next two, three months and there are no other negative factors, housing prices will see another uptrend in the short term.”

Over the past decade, ultra-low interest rates, limited housing supply and large capital flows from mainland Chinese buyers into the financial city on China’s doorstep pushed housing prices up more than 200 percent, angering many Hong Kong residents who could not afford to jump on the bandwagon.

Property consultancy CBRE named Hong Kong the least affordable housing market for the eighth year in a research report published earlier this month, with an average property costing $1.2 million or $2,091 per square foot. That compares with Singapore, ranked the second priciest, at $874,372 and $1,063, respectively.

Another consultancy JLL said on Monday the drop in stamp duties levied on non-first time and foreign homebuyers in the first quarter suggested the bulk of buyers were local first-time purchasers.

As the property market starts to revive, developers are selling new launches at higher prices than a few months ago.

Last week, New World Development and Henderson Land launched their joint high-rise residential development in Kowloon at a floor price 10 percent higher than the neighbourhood. Analysts expected developers will offer less attractive selling prices than last year going forward.

 

In the first quarter, developers sold a total of 5,532 new flats in the first three months, the highest in 10 quarters. The figure was up 70 percent from the previous quarter and 44 percent from a year earlier.

Property developers also became more active in land auctions. A land plot in the New Territories received 11 tenders last week, according to Hong Kong media, a high in recent months despite the record-asking price of the area. ($1 = 7.8440 Hong Kong dollars)

By Clare Jim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

Transcorp wins Afam power plant with N105.3 billion offer

It was yet another victory yesterday, as Transcorp Plc, core investors in the Ughelli Power Plant, won the bid for Afam Power, by beating two other contenders to emerge winner with an offer of N105.3 billion at the bids opening ceremony, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, in Abuja.
Accordingly, the Chairman, Technical Committee, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Mr. Muhammad.K. Ahmed, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ago Teriba, announced the Transcorp Power Consortium as the winner of the commercial and financial bids for the privatisation of Afam Power Plc.

The NCP also declared Diamond Stripes, which bid N102.4billion, as the first runner-up and reserved bidder. Speaking, the President/Chief Executive Offier, Transcorp Plc, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, said: “it has been very obvious that governments can’t run business. They need the private sector to do so. I am glad that we are here to prove once again that point.”He said that the purpose of Transcorp remains to impact lives and transform Nigeria, adding that the company’s ability to turn around the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, and Transcorp Power Limited in Ughelli, is an indication that it has what it takes to also turn around the Afam Power plant.

Similarly, for the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), Quest Electricity, the sole bidder, won the bid with its offer of N19billion.Ahmed had earlier explained that the trio of prospective investors: Diamond Stripes Power Consortium, Transcorp Power Consortium, and Unicorn Power Generation Consortium were in the bid for the acquisition of Federal Government’s 100 per cent stake in Afam Power Plc.

He also revealed that although Sandstream Nigeria Limited, and Quest Electricity Ltd., were in the race for the acquisition of Federal Government’s 60 per cent stake in YEDC, the former was disqualified for not submitting a bank guarantee alongside the commercial proposal as required by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

This led to the nullification of Sandstream Nigeria’s bid, which automatically made Quest Electric the sole bidder for the acquisition of majority shares in the Yola DisCo. For the acquisition of the YEDC and Afam power shares, BPE’s Director-General, Mr. Alex Okoh, had recalled that in line with the approval of the NCP, the Bureau had called for expressions of interest (EoIs) on August 16, 2018.

Upon the expiration of the deadline on September 16, 2018, about 12 firms expressed interest in Afam Power. He noted that during the evaluation of the EoIs, nine firms obtained the qualifying marks, and were consequently shortlisted to the request of proposal stage.

The deadline for the submission of technical and financial bid was March 15, 2019, he said, during when BPE received technical and financial proposals from three firms and consortia out of the nine that prequalified. Okoh also explained that only two firms, Quest Electricity Nigeria Limited, and Sandstream Nigeria Limited were qualified for the Yola DisCo.

Meanwhile, the representative of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Aisha Mahmud, noted that the power sector is presently grappling with numerous challenges such as liquidity, non-cost reflective tariff, and others. She however said the regulator is working hard to ensure that there is a functional electricity sector, and that by next year, there is a high hope that everything would have been put in place for the industry efficiency.

Representatives of the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Directorate of State Services were in the ceremony to monitor its transparency.

Source: By Mathias Okwe

Mouka launches insect repellent products

Mouka Limited, one of Nigeria’s manufacturer of mattresses and other bedding products, has launched an innovative range of insect repellents into the Nigerian market.

The Chief Executive Officer of Mouka, Raymond Murphy, said the launch of Mouka Mozzi Insect Repellents which create a protective halo from mosquitoes, is the company’s contribution towards the global campaign against malaria.

The three newly introduced products, he explained, are Mouka Mozzi soak and dry, mattress spray, and textile and fabric spray. According to Murphy, in addition to Mosquitoes, Mouka Mozzi also provides protection from bedbugs, mould, bacteria spores, spiders, cockroaches and dust mites.

“With each application, a consumer can enjoy 24 hours protection for up to 3 months which is not possible with insecticides,” he further explained. Dr Omoniyi Kayode Yemitan, who conducted the chemical evaluation, efficacy and toxicological assessment of Mouka Mozzi, endorsed the products as safe for all members of the family including pregnant women and young children, adding that the active ingredient in Mouka Mozzi is extracted from plants which makes it non-hazardous for humans.

The representative of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Chairman in Lagos, Dr. Sodipo Oluwajimi, expressed admiration for Mouka’s indigenous feat, adding that the NMA would be willing to endorse the innovation as it joins Mouka in its resolve to tackle the malaria

Source: By Risikat Ramoni

Lagos Tops Ogun in Manufacturing Investments for 2nd year in a Roll

Lagos has once again overtaken Ogun State, once touted as Nigeria’s industrial hub, in manufacturing investments. This is coming on the back of a new wave of poor doing business practices that have dogged Ogun in the last two years.

Lagos got 52 percent of total manufacturing investments in 2018 as against Ogun State’s 34 percent, data from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), a group with over 2,500 investors, show.

While Lagos, which includes Apapa and Ikeja industrial zones, got total investments valued at N287.16 billion out of the total N552.64 billion, Ogun got N186.47 billion.

In 2017, Ogun mustered only 28.59 percent of the total N329.94 billion invested that year, whereas Lagos got 50.11 percent.

But this was not so between 2014 and 2016, when 50 to 70 percent of investments in agro processing, heavy and light manufacturing went to Ogun, while Lagos attracted less than 20 percent of the total.

The elephants in the room are multiple taxes charged by Ogun State and poor state of roads left unattended to by the state government, which seems more interested in revenue collection than attracting more investors, manufacturers say.

“I will like to put on record that the only motorable road within the OPIC Estate was constructed by members of MAN within the estate,” Paul Gbededo, group managing director, Flour Mills of Nigeria plc, told Dapo Abiodun, governor-elect of Ogun State, on April 11.

Gbededo’s reference was to the dismal state of roads at Agbara, one of the major industrial clusters in Ogun, which also hosts Unilever, Pharma Deko, Beloxxi Industries and Nestlé Nigeria, among many others.

We gathered that the government in 2018 asked manufacturers operating within the zone to contribute 30 percent while the state contributes 70 percent for the rehabilitation of the roads.

Gbededo said reconstruction of Agbara/Atan road was critical, adding that though manufacturers were willing to collaborate with the government on the project, government needed to take the lead in ensuring its proper and timely completion.

At the meeting, Seleem Adegunwa, chairman of MAN, Ogun State chapter, explained to Governor-elect Abiodun that the activities of government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Environment, were sometimes inimical to investments.

Ogun State is currently Nigeria’s leading industrial hub, with virtually all the large enterprises in Lagos having a factory in the state. But the state is hard hit by insecurity, poor infrastructure and money-chasing regulatory agencies hampering investments. Recently, Procter&Gamble, located in Agbara, which was until July 2018 United States’ biggest non-oil investment in the country, packed up.

In 2018, manufacturers told us that they pay a large number of taxes in Ogun each month, including those demanded by the Federal Government.

They added that things were becoming more predictable in Lagos and less so in Ogun as many government agencies demanded the same fees and levies in Ogun.

“Ogun is gradually becoming less organised,” said Olusegun Osidipe, director of research and statistics at MAN.

“Many things are still handled manually in Ogun, but you can easily check who owns a piece of land on the system in Lagos. You know how much to pay on Land Use Charge in Lagos, but not so in Ogun,” Osidipe said in 2018.

In the first half (H1) and second half (H2) of 2018, Ogun got N95.31 billion (out of total N305.56 billion) and N91.16 billion (out of total N247.08 billion), respectively, while Ikeja got N54.8 billion in H1 of 2018 and N85.76 billion in H2 of 2018. Similarly, Apapa got N93.31 billion in H1 and N53.29 billion in H2 of 2018.

Compare these with previous data. In 2014, for instance, manufacturers invested N691.77 billion, out of which N514.87 billion went to Ogun State, representing 74.42 percent of the total.


Apapa and Ikeja in Lagos contributed N15 billion and N85 billion to the investments, respectively, representing a combined 15 percent of the total.

Also, out of the N180.12 billion invested in the manufacturing and agro-allied industries in Nigeria in the first six months of 2015, N128.3 billion went to Ogun, representing 71.23 percent. Ikeja and Apapa industrial zones got N15.74 billion and N6.98 billion, representing 8.7 percent and 3.9 percent share of the total, respectively.

Similarly, manufacturing investments worth N309.33 billion were made in H2 2015, out of which N302.26 billion went to Ogun, representing 97.7 percent of the total. Apapa and Ikeja shared the remaining less than 3 percent with other industrial zones across the country.

In the first half of 2016, total investments estimated at N54.55 billion were made by manufacturers in the country, out of which N37.51 billion moved to Ogun within the period. This means that 69 percent of all investments within H1 of 2016 were channelled to Ogun State. Apapa and Ikeja shared the remaining 31 percent with other industrial zones such as Edo/Delta, Imo/Abia, Oyo/Ondo/Osun/Ekiti, Kano/Sharada/Challawa, Kano Bompai,

Anambra/Enugu, Bauchi/Benue/Plateau, Rivers, Kwara, and Abia.
In the second half of 2016, MAN survey shows that N313.62 billion worth of investments were directed to Ogun out of the total N448.94 billion. This represents 70 percent of the total.

Source: By Odinaka Audu

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