How to Get a Property with a Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) in Nigeria

Most Nigerians do not know about the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).  Although, Several experts had predicted that the real estate sector is the next money-spinner for investors in the country. To the average Nigerian, this may be all talks and no actions. Many reasons, including wrong investment options, and lack of funds, according to experts in their presentations, may be obstacles to this realization. This position was aptly captured by Mr. Olumayowa Ogunwemimo In his presentation titled: “REIT as an alternative source of real estate financing in Nigeria,’’

The REITs alternative

Ogunwemimo regretted that Nigeria has not fully tapped into the availability of other sources of financing projects in the sector, which would serve as a big complement to the traditional sources of finance to the real estate industry. For instance, he explained that while Nigeria is yet to fully capitalise on the inherent benefits of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), to significantly finance real estate developments, other countries have since keyed into the scheme. REITs are a form of collective investment scheme regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which pools capital from investors and uses same in the acquisition of income generating real estate, mortgage loans, or a combination of both. The portfolio of underlying assets is placed under professional management to maximise returns to the investors, who are able to hold indirect interest in real estate on a flow-through basis, placing them in a position as if the property were held as a direct investment.

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Types of REITs

Ogunwemimo explained that there are three types of REITs; viz: Equity REITs, Mortgage REITs and Hybrid REITs. He explained that Equity REITs are real estate companies that acquire commercial properties – such as office buildings, shopping centers and apartment buildings – and lease the space in the structures to tenants, who pay rent.  After paying the expenses associated with operating their properties, Equity REITs pay out yearly the bulk of the income they collect to their shareholders as dividends.  Equity REITs also include capital appreciation from the sale of properties in the dividends they pay.  In all cases, this significant dividend distribution is designed to approximate the investment return investors would receive if they owned properties directly.

Mortgage REITs deal in investment and ownership of short or long-term property mortgages. It loans money for mortgages to owners of real estate, or purchase existing mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. Their income is derived from the interest they earn on the mortgage loans. Both are registered with the SEC, but non-listed REITs are sold directly to investors by brokerage firms and are not traded on any exchange.  Equity and Mortgage REITs also can be privately held.

According to Ogunwemimo, Hybrid REITs is a combination of the investment strategies of equity REITs and mortgage REITs by way of investing in both properties and mortgages. Their income comes from rentals, capital appreciation, interest, and loan placement fees.

Benefits

REITs has been found to come with a lot of benefits. One of this is portfolio diversification, as real estate investment offers an alternative to equities and fixed income securities, especially for investors interested in diversification.

Liquidity is also another benefit accruable from REITs as it makes for relatively liquid assets (when compared to direct investment in real estate) that can be sold fairly quickly to raise cash or to take advantage of other investment opportunities.

Since a large percentage of property developers’assets are still tied up in real estate assets, REIT provides an opportunity for such companies to free up this cash and still hold an indirect interest in a portion of the assets.

Accessibility is also a key component of REITs as it allows investors with a small amount to diversify their holdings between various geographic areas and property specializations, among other benefits.

Challenges

Ogunwemimo noted that unlike most countries where REITs enjoy a tax-exempt status when it distributes at least 90 percent of its income to investors, in Nigeria, the tax laws are not explicit; hence, an unfavorable tax regime.

Another challenge to this scheme is poor investors’ awareness, as investors in Nigeria have little or no knowledge of REITs.

Also, Return on investment in REITs is relatively low when compared to risk-free government securities, thus making investments in real estate assets unattractive to investors. Equally, the cost of transferring assets from the sponsor to the REIT has hitherto been onerous, constraining the ability of the REIT to generate competitive returns.

However, with the introduction of the Declaration of Trust  Structure (DoT), there has been a significant reduction in the charges incurred by REITs when transferring the assets from the sponsor to the REIT.

Source: The Nation

A Look At Housing Co-operatives In Egypt

Co-operatives were established as part of the “anti-colonial struggle”. The emerging co-operatives were decentralised and self-managed structures based on the Raiffeisen and the British industrial and provident society legal framework.The co-operative movement today consists of five sectors: consumer, agriculture, fishery, housing and production.There are 18 thousand democratic co-operative organisations,providing services to 25 million citizens.

The concept of housing co-operatives first appeared in the 1930s with the aim of providing individuals with appropriate dwellings. These initiatives were based on individual initiatives with some State support.

Until the 1950s, at which time rent control laws were implemented, housing was supplied by private developers. The post revolutionary government (after 1952) was quite active in housing, dealing with dramatic housing conditions. The public sector and semi-public agencies which included housing co-operatives played a major role in housing development from this point on. The financing of these developments came from personal and family savings, the General Building and Housing Co-operative Authority (GAHBC), and low-interest loans from the governorates. GAHBC was created in 1954 to assist co-operatives in providing housing to their members.

Housing co-operative development started in Cairo with the first housing co-operative called Al Shamshargy – the Co-operative Association for Housing – established in 1952 in Maadi. Such development expanded to other cities and governorates and by 1953 21 housing co-operatives had been developed (13 in Cairo, 4 in Giza, and others in Sharqyam Daqahlya, Port Said and Assuit).

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In Egypt each co-operative sector has its respective law. Before the adoption of a specific housing co-operative law in 1981, housing co-operatives were ruled by the Consumptive Co-operative Law no.109/1975 and were under the supervision of the Central Consumptive Co-operative Association. It was with the adoption of the specific law for housing co-operatives that the housing cooperative sector became independent. Then, internal systems for the primary, joint and united associations as well as the internal system for the Central Union were developed in addition to the implementation of regulations for the sector.

A stronger economy in the second half of the 1970s changed the housing situation. For the two next decades, private developers made important investments. The role of the public sector decreased and became limited to the building of low- and medium-cost units. However, the State assisted greatly the co-operative housing movement through loans dedicated to the co-operative associations (for example in 1991–1992 — 1,2 billion Egyptian pounds) as a result of an increase of co-operatives and membership from 1,660 to almost 2,000 housing co-operatives during the period of 1995–2006.

In 1995–1996 economic reform was implemented to lower the national public budget and reduce the national deficit. This reform reduced drastically the state loans – by 500 million Egyptian pounds in 1995–96. The interest rate for subsidized loans increased from 4% to 6%. Those new measures brought a change in the membership of the housing co-operatives.

Egypt is one of the most urbanized countries in the world with significant population growth in Cairo and Alexandria. The country’s population grows by 1,300,000 annually. This urbanisation brings a lot of informal housing, squatting, and slums. At the beginning of 2000, 400 slums/squatter settlements provided housing to 7 million people. According to Professor Hishma Aref, “50% to 75% of building activity in Cairo takes place through the informal sector”. This means that housing is built without proper land titles and financed through the non-official banking system; informal savings co-operatives being one such method. However, it is important to note that progress has been made with the concerted effort of the government, the private and the co-operative sector.

But the housing situation in Egypt is something of a contradiction, as there are two million vacant units. With 40% of the population living under the poverty line, the majority of people are unable to obtain and repay a loan. Egypt is facing a serious shortage of affordable housing. A more educated population is also demanding better housing conditions, resulting in higher costs and higher rents. The Egyptian housing co-operative leaders have identified three main obstacles in the development of housing co-operatives: very expensive land, high prices of building materials and limited subsidized loans based on eligible but unrealistic square footage.

In the last decades, the whole co-operative movement experienced a painful shift, from being fully supported and promoted by the State to a free market economy. Moreover, the relationship between the co-operative movement and the administrative governmental agencies is difficult. Even though the agencies do not intervene directly in the development of co-operatives as they did in the past, they still maintain strict control over the co-operatives. Co-operative development can be blocked; co-operatives can be dissolved and their activities can be arbitrarily obstructed affecting their growth and capacity to adapt to the new economy. It is particularly difficult for the agriculture sector but all sectors suffer from this problem.

Co-operative leaders are calling for a complete change for the cooperative movement – a new legislation as well as an overall appreciation of what co-operatives are and could do. The General Co-operative Union of Egypt (GCU), the apex organisation for cooperatives, has drafted and submitted to the Egyptian Parliament a new unified law for all co-operatives whatever their field. At this time, co-operatives are incorporated under different laws according to their sector of activities. The co-operative leaders have indicated that “the current co-operative laws are not compatible with the current socio-economic and political challenges”. The proposed law “aims at achieving legislation that secures: the autonomy of the co-operative movement, a coherent structure that emphasizes the economic identity of co-operatives as non-governmental organisations, and the role of the international principles of co-operation”.

Key characteristics of the Egyptian housing co-operatives are:

  • Mostly urban.
  • Owner-occupied: Members buy shares to get the right to occupy a unit. Members wishing to leave its unit during the first 10 years of occupation must reimburse 20% of the unit’s market value to the Co-operative. After the 10 year period, members have full rights on their units; mainly targeted at people with moderate incomes. Members of housing co-operatives from poorer social groups do not exceed 25%.
  • Constituted with people having a common reason to join – such as working in the same field (teachers, engineers, etc.) with the aim of providing them with housing.
  • Built according to the authorized engineering standards at lower prices than other sectors (according to surveys on national socio-economic development plans).
  • Under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing who is responsible to enforce the Co-operative Housing Law.

The housing co-operatives are responsible for:

  • Maintaining the buildings and properties.
  • Collecting the members’ savings and invest them in the housing projects.
  • Providing lands in accordance to the authority given to them by the state through the co-operative housing law.
  • Developing the housing projects (acquiring building materials, participate in designs, engineering and real estate studies).
  • Securing long-term loans.

One of the largest co-operative housing schemes in Egypt was implemented in 1978 with the upgrading of a 100,000 member slum financed through the US Housing Foundation.

The Law on Housing Co-operatives no.14/1981 specifies that housing co-operatives are exempted from numerous taxes and fees such as:

  • Taxes on industry and trade profits, and on the interest of deposits in banks and saving funds.
  • Taxes and fees levied by municipalities.
  • Custom taxes, statistical fees, importing fees and extra fees on imported tools, machines, primary building materials, and means of transportation.
  • Stamp taxes paid on contracts.
  • Several kind of fees on contracts and mortgages.
  • Fees for building licences and land allocation.
  • Legal and publishing fees.

Housing co-operatives receive a 25% discount on all State-owned land which could go up to 50% with the Minister of Finance’s approval.

The Egyptian Constitution requires the State to take care of the co-operative associations. Accordingly the Housing Co-operatives Law no 14, 1981 stipulates that State will offer support, protection, exemptions and privileges as described below:

  • Support: the law stipulates that a presidential resolution can transfer public money to co-operative housing projects without returns.
  • Protection: the law stipulates that co-operative housing projects, as public funds, should get all kinds of civil and criminal protection.
  • Exemption: the law grants full tax exemptions to the housing co-operatives in addition to exemptions from custom fees imposed on imported goods.
  • Privileges: the law requires the State to facilitate loans and the acquisition of lands to the housing co-operative association by applying discounts.

The Housing Co-operatives Law no.14, 1981 defines housing cooperatives as “democratic, popular organisations which aim at providing housing for their members, and the required services needed for integrating the housing environment, in addition to providing the property with maintenance and care”. The Federation of Co-operative Housing is under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing. Each ministry is in charge of enforcing their respective law and has the authority to inspect the administrative and financial administration, and monitor the boards of directors, the managers and the employees of housing co-operatives.

The co-operative housing movement in Egypt is a tiered system comprising four levels. It consists of 2,320 primary housing co-operatives, 4 Joint Associations for Building and Housing, 13 Federal Associations for Building and Housing and the Federation of Co-operative Housing (FCH) previously called Central Housing Co-operative Union.

The 4 Joint Associations for Building and Housing are responsible for carrying out the development of joint projects involving several housing co-operatives. They manage the development of the projects and get the necessary financing on behalf of the co-operatives.

The 13 Federal Associations for Building and Housing provide development services to the housing co-operatives in their respective governorates. The services include:

  • Carrying out studies and maintain statistics regarding the housing co-operative needs for lands and building materials.
  • Providing the housing co-operatives with lands (state-owned or private) at the lowest cost possible.
  • Buying on behalf of the housing co-operatives the building materials at wholesale prices.
  • Setting up factories for manufacturing and producing the building materials at the lowest prices possible.
  • Providing the transportation means to carry the building materials on sites.
  • Providing required design and execution expertise as well as building offices.
  • Implementing joint projects.
  • Getting loans to execute the projects.

The Federation of Co-operative Housing (FCH) is the Egyptian apex organisation for housing co-operatives. It is managed by a 19-member board of directors elected for five years. FCH supervises the activities of the primary housing co-operatives and the Joint and Federal Associations. FCH ensures that the activities are carried out in accordance with the co-operative principles. Specifically, FCH’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Making suggestions for the general policy for co-operative housing.
  • Promoting the co-operative ideology.
  • Delivering training and education through its co-operative training center.
  • Exchange and liaison with the international co-operative movement.
  • Conducting researches and studies; collecting information, statistics and data; publishing newspapers and periodicals.
  • Protecting the interest of its members by preparing the organisational, administrative and financial co-operative housing regulations for the minister’s approval.
  • Guiding the co-operatives with appropriate administrative, financial and accounting systems.
  • Providing technical and legal advice and arbitration.
  • Monitoring the operations of the co-operatives including annual budget audits.
  • Liquidating outdated units.
  • Investing money jointly with the housing co-operatives for the development of projects.

The housing co-operative movement has established and manages 129 co-operative tourist resorts on the Mediterranean Sea Coast.

Source: housinginternational.coop

How Nigerians Can Own Their Own Homes Through NHF

If you’ve nursed a long-term dream of becoming a homeowner but cannot afford a commercial housing loan, then here’s good news: you can now achieve that dream through the National Housing Fund (NHF).Whether you are  a civil servant, trader, artisan, commercial driver, or anything else, you too can benefit from the fund and own your own home.

Click here to watch weekly episodes of our Housing Development Programme on AIT

Why NHF?

The National Housing Fund was introduced by the Federal Government to enable Nigerians in all sectors of the economy — especially those within low and medium income levels who ordinarily cannot afford housing loans — to own houses. The fund is managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.According to the Act that created the fund, the scheme will be funded through the following:

  • Mandatory contribution of 2.5 percent of monthly income of Nigerians earning at least N3,000 per annum in both public and private sectors
  • 10 percent of loan and advances portfolio of commercial and merchant banks
  • 20 percent of non-life and 40 percent of life funds in the housing sector (to be contributed by insurance companies)
  • Funds from the Federal Government

Funds gathered from all these sources become available for potential beneficiaries to borrow from, after they have contributed to the fund for at least six months.

Benefits

By registering with and contributing to the National Housing Fund, you stand to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Housing loan of up to 90 percent of the cost of the house
  • Fixed interest rate of 6 percent per annum throughout the life of the mortgage
  • Long repayment period (up to 30 years)
  • Refunds with 2 percent interest on retirement

However, note that you cannot borrow more than N15 million from the NHF.

How to register for the NHF

Registering for the National Housing Fund is a straightforward process. Here are the steps involved:

  • The employer (or self-employed individual) visits any branch of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to obtain the Employer Registration Form (NHF1).
  • The completed form is returned to the nearest branch of FMBN. The employer will be registered and an employer’s registration number will be issued, alongside an NHF2 form to be completed by the employees.
  • After employees complete their individual NHF2 forms and return them to the employer. The employer in turn submits all the forms to the FMBN.
  • The FMBN will then register all the employees and allocate employee participation numbers to them and issue them passbooks. Thereafter, the employer deducts 2.5 percent of the employees’ basic salaries as contributions to the NHF. At this point, the employees have become fully registered participants of the NHF.

So, if you work for an employee, you will register for the fund through your employer.

Getting the loan

This includes zero equity contribution for the provision of housing loans of up to N5 million and 10 percent contribution for housing loans ranging from N5 to N15 million by contributors to the NHF. The loan comes with 6 percent interest and is repayable over a period of 30 years.Other eligibility requirements include registering through a duly accredited mortgage loan originator and providing satisfactory evidence of regular income.

To access the loan, you must provide the following:

  • Open a savings account with a registered PMB
  • Have satisfactory evidence of regular flow of income to guarantee the loan.
  • Letter of consent to mortgage to your chosen PMB
  • Completed application form
  • Photocopy of title documents e.g. Certificate of Occupancy, Title Deed, etc.
  • Current valuation report on the proposed house to buy or bills of quantities (BOQ) for the house to be built
  • Three years tax clearance certificates
  • Copies of pay slips for the previous three months
  • Equity contribution of 30 percent, 20 percent or 10 percent depending on the loan amount applied for.
  • Offer letter/Acceptance and Allocation letter (in case of government projects)

Important things to note:

  • You cannot use the NHF to purchase a piece of land for building a house You’re expected to have your land ready before applying for the loan.
  • You can use the loan to either develop landed property or purchase a house directly from an estate developer.
  • You are allowed to obtain NHF loan facility only once in your lifetime.
  • The only collateral you need to secure the NHF loan is the property in question.

Affa Dickson Acho with Agency reports

Top 10 most developed states in Nigeria

Each of the 36 states can be nice to live in. Everything depends on where you were born and where your family and friends belong to. Still, being a part of the smaller and less developed states can play a big role in your childhood years. When we grow up and the time comes to select a college or university, find a good paying job and build a family, the thoughts come whether it is time to move to the most developed states in Nigeria or not. Why does this happen? It is understood most of us wish to live in a place with great infrastructure, many social facilities and financial opportunities.

This is when developed states in Nigeria come to our mind. Who doesn’t want to start his or her business in a place with many potential customers who have money? Taking all these thoughts into consideration, we have created a list of top 10 most developed states in Nigeria that offer amazing opportunities and great chances of changing your life for the better in 2019.

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1. Lagos State: Lagos is always number 1 when it comes to choosing the most developed state in Nigeria in 2019. This place attracts millions of citizens from all over the country. People choose to live here because Lagos is rich in industries, which means you can always find a job, and it also boasts wonderful infrastructure if compared to many smaller areas of our country. Lagos state has the fast-growing economy. This place is often called the financial center of Nigeria, and it is well known all across Africa.

2. Kano State: This is probably the most developed state in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is the heaven of agriculture and the place where many food crops are produced and exported. The country’s economy gets money from the export of groundnuts cultivated here. Besides, local businesses are involved in the industrial production of cotton, millet, chili pepper, and other popular products. Kano has always been a commercial center, and it remains an exciting place to live in 2019. It is one of the biggest industrial centers in our country after Lagos.

3. Anambra State: If you look at the map of Nigeria, you would see how small Anambra State is compared to others in terms of territory. Still, experts and locals call this area the ‘light of Nigeria’ because it has all the chances to even outgrow Lagos and Abuja in the future. Anambra State has many natural resources. Besides, local soils are arable, and this gives amazing opportunities for developing agro-based industries (farming, fisheries, pasturing, etc.) and building future businesses that could become the basis of the Nigerian economy.

4. Abia State: The state and its big commercial center Aba are also greatly developed. Firstly, the place is rich in gas and crude oil. Local production of these popular products contributes nearly 40 percent to the state’s gross domestic product. Most residents are involved in agriculture, but some find jobs at the textile manufacturing and different plants that produce cement, soap, cosmetics, plastic, footwear, etc.

5. Rivers State: Rivers State is not only one of the top 10 most developed states in Nigeria, but it also boasts an amazing wild life and flora collection. There are many rare tropical plants, insects and animals here, so you can enjoy both infrastructure, business opportunities and nature.

6. Enugu State: Enugu is an interesting place where you can start your business, receive education, and enjoy your life. The state’s major city (capital) is located at the intersection of the roads that lead to different developed cities such as Onitsha and Aba. This means that you can stay close to the country’s biggest trading centers. Enugu has a pleasant climate and great soils. People who enjoy it when the air temperature changes from 15 degrees Celsius in November to 30 degrees Celsius in February will love it here.

7. Akwa Ibom State Being geographically close to Abia and Rivers States, Akwa Ibom is also a wonderful place where several million Nigerians enjoy living. Why? Well, this area is developed and economically stable thanks to the gas and oil production. Besides, Akwa Ibom state boasts seaports, airport, and other infrastructure that attracts tourists, visitors from different corners of Nigeria and businesses.

8. Ogun State It is located next to Lagos State which is number one on our list. Being an important industrial and manufacturing hub, Ogun State has many job opportunities for specialists and young people looking for excellent places to start their career.

9. Oyo State Being the passage route between several major states, Oyo State is surrounded by Kwara, Osun, and Ogun States as well as the Republic of Benin. Government focused on this state even before official independence. Oyo state is home to the first Nigerian University, University of Ibadan which became fully autonomous from London soon after Nigeria’s independence. These days the state boasts many high schools, several universities, many attractions for visitors from all over the country and from outside Nigeria, and opportunities for people who are interested in agriculture. The local climate is great for growing maize, millet, rice, cocoa, plantains, and other crops.

10. Kaduna State Being located almost in the heart of Nigeria, Kaduna State can be a good place for obtaining an education, getting medical help, and doing your business. The state’s capital, Kaduna city is a big transportation hub with many roads and railroad. This place is developed, which should not surprise you because it used to be the capital of the Northern Region of Nigeria when the country was under British rule. All these developed states in Nigeria follow the latest tendencies and can be a wonderful home to you and family.

Source: www.legit.ng

 

India is building a brand new city from scratch

Gujarat International Finance-Tec City – or ‘GIFT’ for short – is a present for the Indian financial services sector.

The brand new city is designed to help India compete with international and regional finance hubs, such as Hong Kong and Singapore. The team behind the project hope it will appeal to global firms by providing high-class infrastructure and facilities, with a stream of top Indian talent to fill jobs.

The opportunity is significant: India’s financial sector is growing rapidly, and could generate 11 million jobs and contribute up to $400 billion to GDP by 2020, according to the group behind the project.

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The plan is to build a Central Business District (CBD) between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in the west of the country, with state-of-the-art connectivity, infrastructure and transport links.

By attracting international investment, the city’s developers estimate they could provide a million direct and indirect jobs, in areas including capital markets, trading and IT services. The city also hopes to take advantage of rapid economic growth, with the IMF forecasting  growth of more than 7% for the current fiscal year which ends in March 2019.

And the appeal of a financial services hub is clear. Take the City of London, for example, which was responsible for 50% of the UK sector’s output in 2017 and provided 1.1 million jobs.

White elephants and ghost cities

Building new infrastructure from scratch can be risky though – especially if no one moves in.

Consider Spain’s Ciudad Real airport, which opened in 2008 – only to close just four years later. It has remained closed ever since, with the site reportedly sold earlier this year for just a fraction of its build cost.

There are also the infamous ghost cities in China – entire developments that have stood empty since completion. Reserach published this year suggests that as many as 50 million homes in China stand empty.

Future-proofing our cities

However, ensuring urban areas are prepared – particularly as the Fourth Industrial Revolution changes the way we live our lives – is vital. By 2050,two-thirds of us will live in urban areas.

The World Economic Forum’s Agile Cities: Preparing for the fourth Industrial Revolution. report calls on cities to be agile in order to meet challenges but also to take advantage of new opportunities.

And if cities are to thrive, they will need to innovate with more advanced buildings and smart infrastructures. Building a city such as GIFT from scratch certainly provides opportunities for that type of innovation.

9 Practical solutions to solving housing problems in Nigeria

Nigeria with a population of about 180 million people is facing a national housing deficit of about 17 million units.Since independence, there have been several interventions by the Nigerian government to solve these housing deficits in the country.

In spite of all these interventions and policy formulations, access to affordable housing has largely remained a mirage to the vast majority of Nigerians. Housing problems is still giving stakeholders and government sleepless nights irrespective of the huge benefits it will accrue to the nation if addressed properly.

In order to solve the millions of housing deficits in Nigeria, and achieve sustainable housing delivery in the country, government and stakeholders should adopt the following 9 practical measures;

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1.Review and Totally Implement the National Housing Policy

The major aim of housing policy is to solve housing problems.Majority of the Nigerian residents are low income earners which the policy supposedly deemed to address but cannot afford housing being produced under the programme.

The national Housing Policy should be reviewed in line with the unique diversity of Nigeria’s cultural inhabitant as well as the financial, human and material strength. The policy at when revised should be implemented totally.

2.Establishing a Viable Mortgage System

A viable mortgage system will strengthen home ownership. For example a mortgage system where rent payment will lead to owning a house. This system will afford the low income earners the opportunity of owning an apartment after many years of paying rent to the mortgage institution. From being a tenant, they become a landlord. Government should therefore come in to provide the enabling environment by encouraging mortgage.

3.Easy Registration

The process of building plan approval and issuance of certificate of occupancy should be made faster and less cumbersome. The cumbersome property registration processes are major barriers to housing development and home-ownership, leading to the country’s huge housing deficit.

The revision of the cumbersome property registration process, acquiring land title documents and transfer will bring the needed improvement and growth to both the housing and mortgage industry in the country.

4.Public Housing Projects

Government should consider public housing as a form of social responsibilities considering that the financial arrangement with the mortgage institutions may be beyond the reach of low income earners in Nigeria.

5.Private Sector Participation

The private sector should be encouraged in housing production with the aid of incentives, loans and subsidies and building land should be readily available and accessible to potential builders.

6.Locally Manufacturing Building Materials

Local building materials should be encouraged and also mass production of building material. This will make the materials to be affordable to the poor.

7.Provision of Rental Houses

Rental housing are still very relevant and should be incorporated into the housing policy especially based on the demographic and resource pattern of each state either in form of subsidized housing or incorporating social housing into the policy.

8.Provision of Infrastructures

Government should make provision of more infrastructures like bore holes, electricity, road connectivity and drainage among others its priority especially within the new housing locations.

9.Policy Research

Finally there is the necessity for public policy decision makers to understand the relevance of policy research as an important ingredient of housing delivery. Such research should focus on the goal and objectives of the housing policy vis-a-vis its implementation, monitoring and review.

Conclusion

Following these 9 practical solutions will go a long way to solving the 17 million housing deficits in Nigeria. By so doing, the nation will be positively affected and enjoy the following benefits of solving the housing deficits in Nigeria;

Impact on the Economy: Housing can serve as an important contributor to the growth of the economy based on its tremendous multiplier effect by its contribution to GDP. It can contribute to GDP through two main channels, namely: private residential investments (such as, construction of new homes); and also via the consumption spending on housing services.

For example, in the USA, the private residential investments contribute about 5% of GDP, while housing services contribute another 13% of GDP, summing up to a total housing sector contribution of 18% of GDP.

Job Creation: Housing provision creates huge access to jobs to artisans and craftsmen such as electricians, welders, masons, painters, plumbers and to other degrees of professional builders such as, civil engineers, architects, structural designers, consultants etc.

From Community to Nation Building: Home-ownership often gives citizens a true stake in their communities. After owning a home, many citizens tend naturally to be concerned about the provision of public goods in their communities — from schools, to clinics, to security.

China Infrastructure Deals: Four Things African Governments Must Get Right Before Negotiating

China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants in Angola and Guinea, an oil refinery in Nigeria, and a new city in Egypt.

Yet, when you look closely at what happens on the ground, some African countries are much better at negotiating with the Chinese than others. Railway projects in East Africa appear to be a good example. In Kenya, the Standard Gauge Railway is the largest infrastructure project since independence from Britain in 1963. China Eximbank provided most of the finance for the first phase – 472 kilometres of track between Nairobi and Mombasa – at a cost of US$3.2 billion.

In neighbouring Ethiopia, an electric train line from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, which is also Chinese-financed, opened two years ago. The cost for this more expensive type of railway was US$3.4 billion – for 756 kilometres. Kenya claims that its railway cost more for reasons like the terrain and the need to carry higher volumes of cargo. At the same time, however, many believe other issues to have been at play – including failures around the negotiation process.

Ongoing research into China funded infrastructure projects is confirming that African governments can learn from best practice in this area. The best deals depend on the following four conditions being met.

1. Involve everyone

The process in Chinese deal-making tends to go like this: Beijing will begin by making financial pledges, often aimed at a number of countries; these are followed by meetings at state level between a Chinese delegation and the African head of state and their senior officials. Infrastructure projects under discussion have often already been passed over by Western donors.

Once a project is broadly agreed, the relevant Chinese contractors, mostly state owned enterprises, will typically contact African civil servants in the relevant branches of government to get detailed negotiations underway – with support from the Chinese trade mission and local embassy. Topics to be discussed will include costs, but also the use of materials and workers; technology transfer; and the effect of national regulations in areas like labour, construction and the environment

In countries like Togo and Cameroon, key ministries like finance, planning or even the cabinet will lead the negotiation. In the likes of Benin and Senegal, the relevant technical ministry, such as transport or housing, will lead instead or take over. They are supposed to consult with departments like finance and planning, but they often press ahead on their own to speed up the process – sometimes without any experience of dealing with China.

In practice, such deals can be less beneficial to the country in question. Where one arm of government is not clear about what another is doing, it increases the potential for corruption – there has been a corruption investigation in the case of the new Kenyan railway, for example, and I have been told during my research that this was also linked to coordination failures during the negotiations.

When all relevant government departments are involved in a negotiation, it does take longer. The process is more coherent, however, and the resulting project is less likely to breach national regulations.

2. Empower the negotiators

The president or his senior advisors also frequently intervene during negotiations. This is likely to be politically motivated – a need to fulfil electoral promises around infrastructure development, perhaps, or pressure from the Chinese authorities.

Where civil servant negotiators are being pressed to hurry up, it can mean that national regulations get ignored. In Benin, for example, during negotiations over road projects several years ago, the Chinese contractors were unhappy about certain conditions being imposed. Then president Yayi Boni agreed to intervene on their behalf to bypass national regulations in areas including labour and construction. Such situations are best avoided.

On the other hand, some outside interventions can be positive. In Togo, Senegal and Tunisia, and the current government in Benin, there have been examples of the cabinet hiring international law firms with experts who have worked in the Chinese government and its development banks. This can bridge the differences in Chinese and African negotiating styles.

The Chinese often adopt a take-it-or-leave-it approach. In many cases, Africans are not confrontational enough in return. They don’t appreciate that China has a surplus of domestically produced materials they are seeking to offload, for example. Wiser negotiators will play China off against other countries seeking to finance infrastructure projects on the continent, such as South Korea or the United Arab Emirates.

3. Keep the public onside

China tends to be popular in Africa – more so than the US in around 60% of countries on the continent. Yet the public also see negatives: many think Chinese products are poor quality, while there is a growing perception that dealing with China tends to favour Chinese labourers.

African governments need to bear these concerns in mind. If not, they risk being denounced by the media or civil society organisations – as has happened in Kenya over the railway, for instance.

4. Increase knowledge

African governments are still relatively new to dealing with China; they should take every opportunity to share lessons with one another. There is a role for African universities here. They should set up more centres of Asian studies to close the gap in information and knowledge.

Some have argued in the past that many African governments fail to negotiate successfully with the Chinese because they lack a strategy.What is required is a more coordinated and coherent approach – something China has been working on from its own perspective. It is better for African governments to have no deal than a bad deal. With the right approach, they can achieve much more than is often thought to be the case.The Conversation

This article was written by Folashade Soule, Senior Research Associate,University of Oxford.

Types of Commonly Used Paints

Oil Paint

Oil based paints are slow drying paints which consist of particles of pigment suspended in drying oil or oil varnish as the basic ingredient. The commonly available oils are linseed oil, Tung oil, poppy oil, nut oil. Oil-based paints are thicker and harder. They are also glossy and smoother.

Synthetic Paint

Paints produced using synthetic resins as binders instead of natural oils or resins. Although most of the paint resins used nowadays are synthetic, use of synthetic paint term for defining alkyd resins is still common.

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Water paint

Water paints are is mostly opaque, the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution.

Emulsion paints are water-based paints in which the paint material is dispersed in a liquid that consists mainly of water. For suitable purposes this has advantages in fast drying, low toxicity, low cost, easier application, and easier cleaning of equipment, among other factors

Varnishes

Varnishes are in effect paints without pigment; they provide a protective coating without substantially changing the colour of the surface, though they can emphasize the colour of the material.

Cellulose Paints

Cellulose paints are mostly used as spray paints in car industry because they dry quickly by evaporation of solvents. They are not satisfactory for general building work, but can be used for furniture and fitting in houses.

Specialty Paints

Among the many kinds are aluminium paints, bituminous paints, chlorinated rubber paints. These are used for special applications and manufacturer’s instructions should be followed for thinning and application of the required number of coats.

THE TIME FOR CITIES TO GET SMART IS NOW

The standard criticism of the smart city concept is that it’s all talk and no action. Smart cities – based on ultra-efficient technologies and infrastructure responding to real-time data – seem to be always five to 10 years away.

The smart-city project most people are talking about is not in Asia or South America – but Glasgow. Glasgow was announced as the Technology Strategy Board’s winner of the Future Cities Demonstrator, having beaten competition from 60 other cities.

Much of the work has already begun. “We are developing an integrated operations centre, looking at social transport, street lighting, energy efficiency and active travel … [for example] we can harness the physical infrastructure of street lighting to be able to do more things than just light up streets, using this network as a digital platform for the city. This can be as basic as new CCTV for community safety, or as complex as a city-wide data collection and sharing network. That is already happening – we’ve got a pilot with 1,000 lights, and are talking with Green Investment Bank and others to extend that to 20,000.”

Data handling is central to the smart city model. By learning how people use the city, Glasgow will be able to design new solutions. Burns admits that up until now a lot of this has been based on guess work and a “guy with a clipboard”. Whereas a central operations system houses, “a data repository to collate data and bring it out the other end to help us understand city behaviour and design future services.

Another smart city that is well underway is Barcelona. Vicente Guallart, chief architect and director of urbanism at Barcelona, explained that a central operations system is also crucial to its model, as are lamp-posts: “We are making fibre optics in parallel to power to every lamp-post in the city. So from that we can have sensors everywhere and Wi-Fi everywhere.” These sensors can monitor everything from noise levels to C02 emissions and simple street use – if no one is using the street, the lights turn off. Such intelligent use of lighting combined with LED technology could save a city up to 80% off its lighting bill.

This combination of sensors, central data and citizen input is what Guallart calls “slow data and fast data – slow data, such as which buildings are meeting which regulation. And then fast data coming in from sensors and from citizens”. The ultimate goal is to be a “slow city within a smart city”, says Guallart.

Barcelona’s digital infrastructure intends to lure business and industry back into the city limits, meaning more people can walk and cycle to work; some municipal green space is also being transformed into urban orchards. Smart cities need not mean bright lights and big screens; in Barcelona, much of the technology will remain below the surface, allowing people at street level to revert to a slower, greener way of life.

Delivering smart cities increasingly requires the private and public sectors to work together. The days of city governments being able to forge ahead on their own are long gone. The Glasgow project, for example, is a partnership between the local authority and private firms. As Gareth Macnaughton, points out: “We can’t operate in this sphere alone, we need partners. The more we share our technology, the more the energy sector, the water sector and the healthcare sector will take our technology and do far better things with it than we originally imagined.”

But local government mindsets can be hard to change. Kaveh Memari, chief executive of Renew, told how his smart bin design for recycling pods coupled with live information screens and Wi-fi hubs struggled with some local authorities for the very reason that they address several problems at once: “You could see the fear in their eyes as they realised how many people would have to sign off these things … there were four committees that had to say ‘yes’, but nine that could say ‘no’,this is the matrix in which we are trying to bring out innovation [and] that is one of the barriers to the smart city concept.”

Some feel that this is slowly changing. The need to collaborate and innovate is greater now than ever as budget restrictions force departments out of silos. And a willingness to embrace new technology is seeing success stories emerge; with each success, others will follow.

Why these 10 African cities are the fastest growing in Africa

For decades, Africa has been growing in the shadows, nearly invisible to the Western business press. But behind the biased news coverage of Africa is a continent that is poised to take the lead and burst onto the world stage.

Africa is home not only to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies but also the majority of the world fastest growing cities. Keep in mind that the average annual population growth rate for the average city is 1.84%, whereas most African cities are growing at rates between four and eight percent. In Nigeria,Port Harcourt and Abuja are growing at 5.1% and 6.2% respectively.

And according to the consulting firm, McKinsey, 24 million Africans will move to cities each year between 2015 to 2045, compared to 11 million in India and nine million in China. All this matters because productivity doubles in urbanised settings compared to the countryside, thereby significantly growing a nation’s GDP at the macro level.

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Factors driving urban development

So given all this growth, what are the reasons fuelling this rapid concentration into urban areas? Among the dozens of factors being debated among experts, three stand out as being the most impactful

1.Migration caused by connectivity. Before 2000, a tiny fraction of Africans owned cell phones. Today, hundreds of millions of Africans own not just cell phones, but smartphones. The level of connectivity this has enabled is impossible to measure and will only grow throughout the 2020s. But aside from improving Africans’ ability to communicate, these devices have also allowed Africans to better collaborate. For example, those who live in cities share the promise of jobs and opportunities with their rural family members and friends, encouraging them to migrate into urban areas by the tens of millions annually.

2.Push factors. Opposite to the migration driven by the attraction toward better opportunities, sadly, migration is also being driven by more negative push factors, like famines and droughts, rural conflict, environmental degradation, and more.

3.Organic population growth. Africa’s population is among the fastest growing in the world, so an obvious factor driving urban growth is the increasing natural birth rate—a rate that is far surpassing the natural death rate.

On the whole, one of Africa’s biggest challenges will be to figure out how to manage the growth of its cities sustainably. Whether its building sufficient housing projects, sanitation and water drainage networks, roads and transit systems, all of these fundamentals of urban life will need to be built to accommodate both today and tomorrow’s population. With this in mind, let’s review some of Africa’s fastest growing cities:

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

If you think a population of 12 million is a lot today, Kinshasa, in the DRC, is forecasted to grow into the second largest city in Africa with 75 million people by the 2050s. Located along the Congo River, Kinshasa is a chaotic urban center attracting people looking to escape war and poverty, as well as searching for opportunity.

Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

By population, Dar es Salaam is both the largest city in Tanzania and eastern Africa overall. The city is also a regionally important economic center and trading hub. Between 2010 and 2025, this city’s growth will outpace all other African cities, especially as its population is set to double to over six million people by 2025.

Nairobi, Kenya

As the capital and largest city of Kenya, Nairobi is seeing its population grow by 500,000 annually—and like Dar es Salaam, this pace will see Nairobi’s population double to over six million people by 2025. Fortunately, the city is already investing in new housing to accommodate this growth.

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

The cultural hub and largest city in French-speaking West Africa, Abidjan is Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital. The city’s massive industrialization and urbanization growth rates will see its population rise to 6.3 million by 2025.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

One in every four urban Ethiopians lives in the country’s capital and largest city, Addis Ababa. But with a population of 3.6 million (2018) and an annual growth rate of 3.8%, the city is expected to see its numbers swell to 4.7 million by 2025, making it the world’s largest city in a landlocked country.

Luanda, Angola

An industrial seaport gateway for the export of iron ore, petroleum, fish products, and diamonds, Luanda, Angola’s capital, is not only the country’s largest city at seven million, but is also among the most expensive African cities to live in. The city is thriving and is well positioned to fund its growth sustainably.

Casablanca, Morocco

Both economically and demographically, Casablanca is not only the heart of Morocco, but it’s also the largest city in the Maghreb. Given its position as Morocco’s center of commerce, Casablanca is well positioned to manage its growth well into the future.

Cairo, Egypt

Across the Middle East and the Arab world, Cairo is without question the region’s largest metropolitan area, along with also being Egypt’s capital and largest city. Due to economic and political hardships in recent years, it has proven difficult for the city to keep up with the demands of its growing population. To address this concern, Egypt is investing in the development of an entirely new city just 40km to the east of Cairo that is expected to house seven million people in its first phase alone.

Johannesburg, South Africa

The center of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest and wealthiest city. It even ranks in the top 50 largest urban areas in the world.

Lagos, Nigeria

Last, but not least, though not the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is the country’s commercial hub. This growing coastal city not only has the highest GDP, but also one of Africa’s busiest and largest ports.

Source: Ronald Chagoury is the Vice Chairman of Eko Atlantic city, a new state-of-the-art-city set to become the new financial center in Lagos, Nigeria.

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