640 FRSC officers get N640m FMBN loan to renovate homes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Malikatu Umar Shuaibu

Africa and Middle East to spend more on smart cities by 2022

The amount spent by smart cities on technology is set to double in the coming four years within the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

The total spending is anticipated to increase from $1.3bn to $2.7bn during the review period, according to a recent report released by KPMG.

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The report, titled ‘The Rise of Smart Cities – Digital Transformation in the Public Sector’. Dr Samer Abdallah, Head of Digital Transformation at KPMG Saudi Arabia, announced that the leaders in smart city development are Riyadh and Dubai.

“Given the Saudi government’s move to embrace digital transformation in alignment with Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020, information technology (IT) spending in the kingdom is slated to grow by at least 14 per cent each year,” Abdallah stated.

Smart city spending across the world is expected to expand from $81bn in 2018 to $158bn by 2022, Abdallah revealed using statistics from the International Data Corporation.

“As Saudi Arabia makes great strides to build a sophisticated digital infrastructure under its Vision 2030, cloud computing will be a catalyst for digital transformation,” Abdallah said at the “Race to the Cloud: Present and the future of cloud platforms in fuelling Artificial Intelligence’ presentation.

Source: globalconstructionreview

FMBN to retrieve N43bn housing loan, says N5.4bn recovered in 2yrs

THE Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has unfolded plans to recoup N43billion housing loan debts from its debtors within the next 18 months.It said so far, it has been able to recover over N3billion in 2018 in addition to the initial N2.4 billion recorded in 2017.

The bank’s Managing Director, Ahmed Dangiwa who made the disclosure at the 2018 Annual Management Retreat themed“Improved Transaction Turnaround Time: Getting it Done,” held in Kano said this was in line with its loan recovery drive.

The MD stated that already, the bank  is working in partnership with the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property; “in a move that is likely to recoup N43billion from the Bank’s debtors within the next 18 months.”

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He maintained that the Bank was strengthening its collaboration with its key stakeholders, especially the labour unions, whose members constitute the bulk of contributors to the National Housing Fund Scheme.

“This has culminated in the commencement of a need-targeted housing delivery program across the country – the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme (NAHDEP) for Nigerian workers, in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).

“Groundbreaking ceremonies have been done and construction work has commenced in earnest in five states, spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country. Others are in the pipeline as we intend to cover every State across the country. Part of the central focus is to establish a template for affordable housing delivery in Nigeria.


“Accordingly, the implementation concept is unique with the housing designs and bill of quantities (BoQ) directly commissioned by the Bank to ensure the profit motive is greatly minimised. This template has given us the leverage to guarantee that the selling prices for the housing units range between N3.1m and N8.3m for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings,” he said.

Dangiwa further noted progress in its strategic plan to reform and reposition the Institution as a more effective provider of safe, decent and affordable housing for Nigerians despite many challenges.

He revealed that after twelve years of failed attempts at institutional restructuring, Management’s proactive stakeholder engagement drive has resulted in the successful passage of key amendments to the Laws establishing the Institution and the National Housing Fund (NHF) by both chambers of the National Assembly.


According to him, the amended laws when assented to by the President would birth a new, more independent and financially stronger FMBN with a robust capital base of N500 billion.

He added that additional liquidity and operational flexibility will greatly enhance FMBN’s capacity to more effectively deliver on its mandate to provide access to affordable mortgage finance for home ownership by Nigerian workers.

Mortgage refinance applications hit 18-year low

With no major move in interest rates and continued weakness in home affordability, there was not a lot of incentive for homebuyers to make a move last week, and there was even less for homeowners looking to save money on their mortgages.

Total mortgage application volume moved 0.1 percent lower last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume was 22 percent lower than a year ago.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($453,100 or less) decreased to 5.16 percent from 5.17 percent, with points decreasing to 0.48 from 0.55 (including the origination fee) for loans with 20 percent down payments.

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With rates still at the highest level in eight years, mortgage applications to refinance a home loan continued their downward spiral, falling 5 percent for the week to the lowest level since December 2000. Refinance volume was 40 percent lower than a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 38.5 percent of total applications from 39.4 percent the previous week.

“Treasury rates declined last week, as equity markets continued to see large swings amidst investor concerns over global economic growth,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “As a result, mortgage rates inched back across most loan types, including the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, 5/1 ARM, and 30-year jumbo mortgage rate. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage also declined, stopping a run of six straight weekly increases.”

Mortgage applications to purchase a home increased 3 percent from one week earlier but were 5 percent lower than the same week one year ago. Rising interest rates combined with still-rising home values have pushed affordability to the lowest level in a decade. While the inventory of homes for sale is beginning to rise, it is still painfully low, especially given strong demand.

Monthly housing data for October so far has come in weaker than expected. Single-family housing starts as well as homebuilder sentiment made sizable swings lower, and mortgage applications to purchase a newly built home also fell.

“Every single data point is now extending to ‘what does this mean for the Fed,’ and rate-hike odds past one more in December continue to shrink,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer with Bleakley Advisory Group. “Calibrating monetary policy from here in order to achieve a rare soft landing will not be easy, as it never is.”

Source: Diana Olick

Challenges of Mortgage Finance And The Way Forward

Housing is one of the basic necessities of life. However, basic to any development, housing inclusive, is finance.

Of all the problems of housing development in Nigeria, the problem of finance is very critical and decisive. The best programmes of government, no matter how grand and viable in scope and content will remain a day dream, unless there is sufficient capital to concretise it. Despite various pronouncements, regulations and deregulations, and all financial implementation policies of this country, the challenge of accessing sufficient funds for an effective housing delivery system remains an issue.

In Nigeria, mortgage financing has been a major area of concern, identified as one of the most formidable constraints in the housing sector. The recognition of the critical importance of finance in housing delivery led to the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company in June 2013.

The NMRC was set up to bridge the funding cost of residential mortgages and promote the availability as well as the affordability of good housing to Nigerians by providing increased liquidity in the mortgage market through the mortgage and commercial banks.

Policies of various arms of government in Nigeria had been unstable over the years due to frequent changes and instability in the nation’s system. This instability can be attributed to the government’s failure to develop a viable and sustained housing finance system either because of lack of expertise, lack of knowledgeable industry leaders especially in making policies, and lack of funding for relevant institutional agencies.

Mortgage financing, has been confronted with numerous challenges that have impeded the attainment of its policy objective of acting as a catalyst for the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria.

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Challenges

In 2014, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) highlighted some of the challenges being encountered by Mortgage banks in its annual report.

The report outlined some the challenges which include:

Delay in accessing NHF funds/dearth of long term funds. Most of the PMBs continued to find it difficult to provide the required bank guarantee to access the NHF.

Due to lack of understanding of the nature of business of PMBs by the public, it had been difficult for the PMBs to mobilise deposits to finance their housing projects which were usually long term in nature. The public prefer to open savings/current accounts with deposit money banks (DMBs) rather than with PMBs whose operations were considered to be too complicated.

Another challenge is the Land Use Act, which had made the process of perfecting title to landed property burdensome, slow and costly. That had affected negatively the foreclosure procedures on the properties pledged as collateral.

Also, under-developed Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) which allows mortgage assets to be traded on recognized stock exchanges, do not presently exist in Nigeria.

Appalling state of facilities like roads, transportation, power and water supply had contributed to the high cost of building construction in Nigeria. Furthermore, the high foreign exchange content of imported building materials such as cement, tiles, ceramic wares etc have made housing non- affordable for the average and low income earners.

The lack of foreclosure laws governing the default mortgage loans, the entire cost associated with the task of title transfer, poor infrastructure to provide support for house constructions and highly complicated and lengthy legislative and legal frameworks for land acquisition.

Others are strict financing laws and weak banking structures that have led to volatile markets and made investors, reluctant to do business in such trying market conditions.

 

The way forward
The financing of national housing programmes should be viewed primarily as a national responsibility. The private sector should be encouraged to provide the bulk of actual investment funds for housing middle income and upper income groups.

For the low income group, however, continued public support, individual initiative and labour movement involvement, will be required for housing and community development. Empirical evidence shows that private sector participation in housing is the most assured way to induce stability in the market.

Indeed, the role of Government should emphasize creating an enabling environment to stimulate private sector participation in long-term housing finance. This includes provision of physical infrastructure, enhancing the soundness and competitiveness of mortgage finance institutions and developing property rights.

The housing fund contribution should be integrated into the personal income taxation system such that a defined proportion of taxes paid are allocated to the housing fund pool, as it is done in Singapore.

There is need for constant re- engineering of the capital and money markets in order to cope with the renewed challenges of provision of some mortgage financing. In this regard, the restructuring and strengthening of the FMBN becomes imperative for it to remain a viable financial institution with the capacity to enhance efficient housing finance development in Nigeria.

Cooperative and savings and credit institutions are complementary organizations in the housing sector. Savings and loan investment funds may be better able to serve low-income families if they are channelled through cooperatives. Infact, the cooperative societies may be necessary to encourage savings and loan associations to finance genuine low-income housing, since it enables small individual savings to be pooled into a collective mortgage.

In addition to funds through regular budgetary and fiscal programmes, there is need to put in place other measures to boost available investible funds in this sector.

New sources should be explored through the development of a variety of instruments for the mobilization of fund from the capital market. This include, the large-scale securitization of mortgage portfolios, a mechanism that has remained the primary engine of growth in the housing finance systems of the United States, Germany, France and Italy to name only a few.

For example, the National Housing Fund in South Korea thrives on, not only the deposit subscriptions, but also housing bonds issued by the Housing Bank to finance housing development programmes. Therefore, broadening the capital market to encourage sales and exchange of housing-related securities, i.e. housing bonds, mortgages, loan participations and certificates, can generate additional leverage. This is an important means to attract short or medium-term investment fund into the sector.

There is need to continue with sound economic and monetary policies to overcome the negative effect of inflation on housing and other construction finance, which require long-term credit in the country. This is because high and persistent inflation erodes the real value.

Housing is one of the basic necessities of life. However, basic to any development, housing inclusive, is finance.

The Housing Sector plays a more critical role in a country’s welfare than is always recognized because it directly affects not only the well-being of the citizenry but also the performance of other sectors of the economy.

With a good macroeconomic environment, sound policy, better data and increased access to affordable credit, an enabled housing market can increasingly provide housing that the average household in Nigeria can afford.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho

How to prepay your home loan

Home loan prepayment can be understood as the early repayment of a home loan by a borrower. This can be done in part or sometimes full repayment. It is done in order to avail lower interest rates by the means of optional refinancing. Also, it is sometimes possible that the borrower secures enough money and can try to make the full payment earlier than expected. But is it better to invest that money somewhere else or is early repayment a better option?

According to financebuddha.com, home loan pre-payment refers to nothing but paying your full or half due earlier than the tenure. Most of the home loans are around 10 years and considered to be one of the best investments. In case you plan to close this before the schedule then you must inform the bank or the financial institution or organisation in writing.

Almost all of the housing finance companies and banks charge a prepayment penalty usually if the loan is paid off before the tenure completes. Some of the banks do not allow this if you manage to establish the funds to put in for the pre-payment.

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Prepayment penalties on home Loans

Banks are forbidden from collecting prepayment penalty anymore on floating rates of loan, this is as per the new rules mentioned by Reserve bank of India.

You don’t have to pay anymore penalty. That is a huge leap forward for the home loan borrowers and consumer welfare if your bank still charges you for a pre-payment penalty; you are eligible to lodge a complaint.

The need for home loan prepayment

Home Loan Prepayment is a good idea because it ends up eating a lot of money in the name of interest. It is not good for your own financial health to give away a big chunk of money as a home loan. There is Home Loan tenure for each and every loan that is passed. Borrowers prefer prepayment in order to clear off their debt when they get a big chunk of money either in the form of an annual bonus, money from matured investments or any other form. Prepayment of home loan is needed in most cases because it leads to an increase in the overall cost of property.

While Home loans are handy, they end up eating a lot of money in the name of interest.

However, there are scenarios where continuing with home loan can be beneficial as well. Let us have a look at all the possible scenarios so that it becomes easy for you to decide whether or not should you be going for a prepayment and/or a pre-closure.

When should you go for a home loan pre-payment?

First thing, a customer can save a lot of money on interest by making a pre-payment of their home loan before the tenure. This is obviously the best pro for prepayment of the home loan.

Paying the entire amount early in the loan tenure so you can take the advantage of foregoing less on interest is the trick. Even at a later stage in the tenure, where customer has paid much of the interest,

If he or she has an excess of cash, it is always a good practice to prepay the loan and get some money off your back.

When should you not go for a pre-payment?

In the case where a home loan is not being a burden on your head, it is sometimes beneficial to continue with the regular EMI schedule. This needs to be brought up as there are tax benefits which home loan offers.

In another case, suppose of prepaying the whole amount, you invest the money somewhere else, let’s say mutual funds, which will also help you earn returns over years.

Consider other options before you prepay

Sometimes it is advisable to invest the money you would be investing to prepay, somewhere else, such as a mutual fund or a business which might earn you more in the long term. You obviously save the interest money, but you can earn more than the amount you are saving from the interest money by putting it elsewhere. Being smart and making smart and intelligent choices where home loans are concerned is very important if you want to avoid the long-term difficulties and issues.

Dont’s

Don’t make a hasty decision

Hasty decisions never did any good for anyone. Making a hasty decision would overlook the cons of prepaying the loan and that could adversely affect you.

Don’t borrow another loan

It is quite common where you see people getting under a burden of another loan to pay the previous one, this makes you fall under a never ending cycle and web of constant payments and that can spoil your CIBIL score as well.

Don’t put up all the money to prepay the loan

Putting all the money to prepay the entire amount would add up more to your financial stress, you sure have to take care of other aspects and keep yourself financially healthy, again this focuses on the first “don’ts” which asks you not to make any decision in haste. Sometimes, it is more beneficial to prepay only half or parts of the principal amount than paying everything in one go.

Source: Punch

Technology can free planners to plan and boost the housing market say digital experts

The planning profession in the UK needs to take bolder steps to embrace digital technology to help boost the sector and get more homes built more quickly, it is claimed.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and digital planning pioneers Future Cities Catapult (FCC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build awareness amongst RTPI’s 25,000 members.

It sets out the opportunities of using digital technology, or PlanTech, to enhance their impact and digitise more monotonous tasks, freeing planners to plan.

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The RTPI and FCC have also been meeting with the Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to explore how digital technology can help fix the broken housing market.

The MOU sets out how the RTPI and FCC will work together to raise awareness of digital tools and approaches in planning, through signposting, guidance, conferences and outreach, including a joint PlanTech conference in 2019 and a new PlanTech award as part of the RTPI annual planning awards.

They will also utilise the RTPIs extensive partnerships with academia, industry and professionals to research, analyse and communicate the key opportunities for PlanTech and embed PlanTech into academic and CPD courses to ensure that new and existing planners are well placed to lead on this agenda.

‘Now more than ever we need planners to be strategic and creative to address the challenges and opportunities the country faces. In our ongoing campaign for the planning function to be better resourced and valued, we must also look at what planners can do themselves to make their job more satisfying and game changing,’ said Victoria Hills, RTPI chief executive.

‘Digital technology, already used by many of our members, has huge potential for the profession. This partnership with Futures Catapult will boost our expertise and vision to drive it forwards,’ she added.

According to Stefan Webb, director of digital planning at FCC, research and development has suggested that a digitally transformed planning system has the potential to radically change the way that planners do their work.

‘In particular we are excited about the opportunities to remove many of the dull and monotonous tasks that take up planners time, and free planners to plan. This new partnership with RTPI will allow the pioneering work Future Cities Catapult have been doing to bridge the digital divide between town planners and digital technologies, to be scaled to RTPI planners in the UK and its network globally,’ he explained.

Source: PropertyWire

Stakeholders believe CBN proposed MGCs can help bridge Nigeria’s housing deficit

The break of dawn may be near for Nigeria’s housing industry, as stakeholders pulled in a BusinessDay survey are optimistic that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) proposed Mortgage Guarantee Company (MGC) may bring solution to the ever widening housing deficit in the country.

 This is following CBN’s exposure draft on the regulation for the operation of MGC in Nigeria which was published on the apex bank’s website on October 20th directed to banks, federal mortgage banks, Nigeria mortgage refinancing company and mortgage banking association of Nigeria.

The industry stakeholders said the initiative is a game changer and it is good for the market.

Adeniyi Akinlusi, President of Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria and also Chief Executive, TrustBond Mortgage Bank said “we have been working with CBN and we know that MGCs is good for the industry. The initiative will help reduce the housing deficit, ownership deficit as Nigerians will have more access to mortgage.”

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“Putting a guarantor in place will enable an average Nigerian to access mortgage, and this is going to go a long way in making home ownership in the country easier,” a property analyst who pleaded anonymity told BusinessDay on phone.

Nigeria’s apex bank disclosed in the exposure draft that it is with effort to promote a mortgage financing and advance home ownership in the country that it has proposed the introduction of MGCs in Nigeria.

“MGCs are designed to deepen the mortgage market through increased access to mortgage finance and enhancing credit risk with mortgage lending institutions. This is furtherance of the CBN’s Objective of promoting affordable financing and a safe and sound financial system,” CBN explained.

Meanwhile, a Mortgage Guarantee Company is a financial institution established to provide guarantees or partial guarantees to lenders against losses resulting from borrower’s defaults on residential mortgage loan.

 

On how the proposed MGCs will help bridge the about 22 million units housing deficit in a country that has the highest population in the African continent.

Akinlusi explained that MGCs will help deepen the market because the volume of mortgage transactions will increase owing to the guarantees on mortgages.

“This means that mortgage banks will be encouraged to give out more loans knowing that there is now guarantee on them,” he said.

Another industry experts who asked not to be quoted because of the position he occupies said the MGCs will help bridge the housing challenges in the country, although to some extent.

“This initiative will help reduce capital requirement for any mortgage by about 50 percent. This means less capital can be used, when a guaranteed loans is issued,” the analyst said anonymously.

 

Meanwhile, Nigeria government had in time past introduced a number of laudable reforms to enable mortgage lending institutions achieve their core mandate of creating mortgages to improve home ownership. These reforms are aimed at addressing capital and governance requirements as well as restricting their activities to concentrate on mortgage and project financing.

However, the subsectors have been plagued with paucity of long terms funds, foreclosure difficulties, inability to meet existing underwriting standards, to concentration of risk on the mortgage lender.

Nigeria’s current mortgage to GDP ratio is estimated at 0.6 percent, as opposed to 2 percent in Ghana, 31 percent in South Africa, 32 percent in Malaysia, 77 percent in the United States and about 80 percent in the United Kingdom.

Also, the 2018 second quarter  figures reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the real estate sector reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of -3.88 percent compared to the -9.40 percent rate recorded in the previous quarter, in what is the 10th consecutive quarter in contraction since the first quarter of 2016.

“The concept of MGC is therefore designed to further deepen the mortgage market through access to mortgage finance and sharing of credit risk with mortgage lending institutions. MGCs guarantee will reduce or replace equity contribution that would otherwise disqualify mortgagors from accessing mortgages as required by the uniform underwriting standards,” the exposure draft reads.

The objectives of the MGCs as stated in the draft shall be to support mortgage originators such as Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and commercial banks to increase mortgage lending by guaranteeing or partial guaranteeing against losses resulting from borrower defaults on their residential mortgages or on their mortgages loan portfolio.

“As a financial institution, the MGC would be under the regulatory and supervisory purview of the central bank of Nigeria,” CBN cited.

 

The guarantee company as disclosed by Nigeria’s apex bank can carry out the following permissible activities; full or partial guaranteeing or residential mortgages loans; invest in government securities, assume ownership of residential property in the event that a lender is unable to dispose of foreclosed property. Provided that such holding shall not exceed 20 percent of its shareholders’ fund unimpaired by losses without the Bank’s prior written approval.

But it is however not permitted to carry out among other things  the following; acceptance of demand, savings and time deposits, or type of deposits; Grant consumer, commercial or mortgage loans; originate primary loans; estate agency or facilitate management; project management relating to real estate development , foreign exchange; and commodity and equity trading.

Dolapo Omidire, Founder of Estate Intel, a real estate research firm,  had said that “MGC is something that can help the mortgage industry, it will make mortgage which seems to be out of reach for the average Nigerians more accessible.”

Although CBN also proposed that the financial requirements which may be varied as the CBN considers necessary, consist of the following; minimum capital N6 billion. Non-refundable application fee of N100,000, Non-refundable licensing fee and change of name fee of N1 million and N50,000 respectively.

A major challenge as cited by the apex bank that has limited the growth of mortgage creation by primary mortgage banks in the country, is lack of mortgage refinancing facility to provide long term refinancing which mortgage business mots of necessity have.

“The Nigeria Housing Finance programme (NHFP) has made efforts towards overcoming this hurdle through the launch of a mortgage refinance company which mitigates the risk of asset and liability mismatch from the books of mortgage lenders,” it noted.

Source: Endurance Okafor

Coalition Advocates Reform in Urban Policies, Resources Allocation to Councils

Global experts have enjoined African governments to review their National Urban Policies (NUPs) to address structural impediments and lay the foundations for inclusive urban expansion.

They pinpointed out that 18 NUPs drafted in Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria are full of the standard policy jargon.

The technical capabilities, legal frameworks, financial instruments, and political will to deliver on these complex policies appear to be lacking.

However, progress in implementing them has been slow, suggesting political and administrative disincentives for devolving budgets and power.

This was the submission of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a major global initiative to support national governments to accelerate economic development and tackle dangerous climate change by transforming cities.

It provides an independent, evidence-based approach for thinking about how to manage urban areas, and the accompanying process of economic, social, and environmental transformation, to maximize benefits for people and the planet.

The Coalition is a special initiative of the New Climate Economy and jointly managed by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

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It brings together major institutions spanning five continents including research institutions, city networks, international organizations, infrastructure providers, and strategic advisory companies and is guided and championed by an urban leadership council.

The experts disclosed that if NUPs are to be meaningful and implementable, they have to coordinate government, donor, civil society, and private sector efforts to ensure that the urban transition in Africa realizes its potential benefits and avoids risks.

“NUPs need to go beyond donor-funded tick-box compliance with the African Charter or UN-Habitat requirements.

They must create governance arrangements that can address local contexts by establishing common goals, clear roles and balanced power relations among the stakeholders that influence urban development.”

NUPs emerged from Habitat III in 2016 as the policy instrument through which national governments can engage and shape an urbanizing world.

They are particularly important in Sub-Saharan Africa, where urbanization is rapid and local governments are typically weak.

NUPs can bring greater coherence and legitimacy to authorities and agents in cities and—critically—recalibrate the balance of power shared by different levels of government, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), civil society and the private sector.

According to the group, the effectiveness of NUPs hinge on their capacity to reflect the lived realities of African urban growth, including political tensions, informal settlements and economies, and acute shortages of public funds.

“NUPs need to go beyond infrastructure and finance wish-lists if they are to address the barriers to functional multilevel governance in urban Africa. Although each country is different, there is a common need to strengthen national governments’ political and legislative commitment to cities and coordinate the formal and informal rules of the game.”

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In a position paper ‘Developing Prosperous and Inclusive Cities in Africa – National Urban Policies to the Rescue?, the coalition revealed that African countries will be able to realize the potential urbanization dividend only by establishing enabling multilevel governance arrangements that are ONE: Committing to increase the capacities of and resources allocated to urban governments—and codifying those commitments in law.

“The importance of NUPs lies in their ability to outline mandates and responsibilities across tiers of government. National governments are typically best placed to oversee matters such as sectoral alignment in the national economy and the stewardship of water basins and national power grids.

“Local governments may be or solid waste management—but they need support to develop the requisite capacities and manage the associated budgets. The appropriate balance of mandates requires regular recalibration, particularly as new technologies emerge that alter the nature of public goods and the best locus of coordination.”

TWO: Creating a culture of rights and social justice. NUPs provide an opportunity for national governments to articulate natural rights (such as rights to water, sanitation, and shelter) and legal rights (such as rights to citizenship, suffrage, and peaceful protest) that can provide the foundation for a social contract.

Tanzania’s land management policies—in which the president has important powers to acquire land for public use but legal protections are in place for landholders and occupiers2—illustrates how national policies can balance public and private interests.

They argued that establishing an urban rights culture can validate the contributions of grassroots organizations, informal livelihoods, the media, and academia in forging new development pathways and vibrant cities.

“It can also facilitate the social participation and economic contribution of marginalized urban residents, such as women and youth.

To date, national governments have displayed little willingness to engage alternative voices in anything other than confrontation.”

THREE: Collecting data and assimilating evidence that demystify all aspects of African cities, including the informal sector. NUPs in Africa can help make informality more legible to planning efforts and investors.

The process of designing, implementing, and reviewing NUPs offers an opportunity for decision-makers to collect and share evidence from multiple sources, formal and informal.

This requires closer engagement between government agencies, academia, private sector and civil society actors, all of which generate relevant evidence that needs to be brought to bear on urban decision making.

The paper authored by Anton Cartwright, Ian Palmer, Anna Taylor, Edgar Pieterse, Susan Parnell, and Sarah Colenbrander noted that NUPs need to establish multilevel governance over planning, construction, and operations to ensure that transport is affordable and accessible to low-income households, financially sustainable from the perspective of transport operators and local governments, capable of connecting commuters with work, services and leisure opportunities as well as afer for commuters and pedestrians than existing modes of transport, which kill more commuters per travelled distance than in any other region.

Source: Chinedum Uwaegbulam, The Guardian Newspaper

City of Cape Town Exceeded its Housing Delivery Target in The Last Financial Year- De Lille

Outgoing Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on Thursday said the City of Cape Town has exceeded its housing delivery target by 62 percent in the last financial year and has budgeted more than R2 billion on new housing opportunities over the next three financial years.

“Between 2012 and 2018, over 42,000 housing opportunities were provided to the residents of Cape Town. In the past financial year — for the first time in its 18-year history as a metro government — we exceeded our housing delivery target by 62 percent. We must continue on this trend and we have set aside R2.1 billion on new housing opportunities over the next three financial years, with R590 million being budgeted for 2018/19 alone,” she said.

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De Lille was addressing her last Cape Town City council meeting at the Council Chambers Civic Centre in Cape Town.

She said housing was one of the biggest challenges that the metro municipality had committed to address in order to ensure that qualifying residents were provided with housing opportunities.

“Mr Speaker, in terms of our commitment to redressing the imbalances of the past, under my leadership this caring City has ensured that residents who were previously denied property ownership can reclaim that right. The City has ramped up the handover of title deeds and we have issued over 16,000 deeds to beneficiaries since 2011,” said De Lille.

“As much as we have achieved over the past seven years, there is still a lot to do to bring greater parity of services. Local government is not just about delivering utility services such as water and electricity, it is responsible for much more.  This is why we established the area-based service delivery model to make sure the services of all 10 City departments are landed in all areas in the city.”

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According to De Lille, In 2011, at her first inauguration as Cape Town mayor, she told residents that she was determined to “work tirelessly, day and night, to live up to this vote of confidence to ensure that we do justice to the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all the citizens of our great city”.

“I became the mayor to serve people and not be served. As elected representatives, we must constantly give feedback and report to residents on what we have delivered and what we are still going to deliver because we are accountable in terms of the election promises we made,” she said.

Source: African News Agency (ANA)

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