FG plans to commission NHP projects in 33 states

 

Barring any last minute hitch, the National Housing Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government will be commissioned in about 33 states of the federation before the end of this year.The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s effort at addressing the huge housing deficit in Nigeria, which is estimated at 17 million, gave birth to the National Housing Programme.

Under the programme, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, embarked on the construction of massive national housing schemes in 33 states of the federation. The project, according to the Minister in charge of the ministry, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, aside from providing affordable and accessible houses for Nigerians, has also created employment opportunities.

In what appears as his testimony, the Minister whose ministry is directly in charge of the National Housing Programme, declared that it has yielded its first expected result of creating employment for youths.Fashola, who spoke recently while on the inspection tour of the project site in Imo state, said that the programme was initiated as part of efforts by the Federal Government to get the teeming youths across the country back to work.

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“The very first thing that we needed to achieve has been achieved; get people back to work, move the economy back to growth and get the economy out of recession.”“From the food vendors to the number of companies that are employed here, you can see building materials; you can see labour and you can see an ecosystem of growth.”

A tour to some of the project sites across the country, where some of the NHP projects are sited recently revealed that would be-beneficiaries of the housings units would have access to their allocation in the next couple of weeks.Aside from the fact it would provide houses for Nigerians, it has also created jobs for thousands of all cadres of Nigerians.

Its commission date though Housing News could not ascertain, a source at the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, hinted that it would be commissioned soon.
The source said everything about the commissioning has been perfected, saying that it may be done during the presidential campaign.

“Let me assure you that the NHP project would be commissioned before the end of this year (2018).
Everything about the event has been perfected”, the source said.

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There is however some issues like; compensation to the traditional land owners, provision of parameter fencing and allocation to Nigerians that truly need affordable homes which need to be addressed.One of the critical issues that should be urgently addressed before the commission date and handing over of the project units to its owners is compensation of the traditional land owners.
From South to the North, one of the agitations of the locals whose communities are the beneficiaries of the project is issue of the compensation. This however, is not the responsibility of the federal government.

Tope sunday

FHF to deliver decent accommodation for fairly low to modest income earners

 

The Managing Director of Family Homes Fund (FHF), Dr. Femi Adewole has said that FHF is committed to doing an excellent work in providing housing that people on low income can afford.

He made this statement during an Interview with HousingNews Crew earlier today in his office.

“we are doing tons of work in ensuring that we bank adequate land in good locations where these homes will be sited.

“We are ensuring that we maximize the efficiency of the design of these homes which is key to ensuring that we deliver the affordability that our people need” He said

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According to Dr. Femi, In line with the mandate which is centered on providing large scale affordable housing supply and economic development, “FHF is working in partnership towards providing up to 500,000 homes and 1.5million jobs from now till December, 2023”

“Primarily, we are working with partners who can build to scale so that we can harvest the economies of skills that then goes on to deliver lower prices to our target customers”

“we are currently talking to REDAN, Housing Corporations, Federal Ministry of Power, Works & Housing, State Governments, and other parastatals. We are bringing a whole range of people together to partner with us as they all have key roles in ensuring that this programme succeeds” he said.

Dr. Adewole said that FHF is putting a structure in place that allows people to actually be able to afford those houses and be able to buy them even after they have been built.

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“We are coming up and in the final stages of designing home loans assistance program that will ensure that our target market which is basically people who are earning fairly low to modest income can have access to decent accommodation at no more than 30% of their income.” He said.

The M.D. Family Homes Fund expressed with assurance that FHF being the largest housing fund in Sub-Saharan Africa stands a strong chance in delivering on its mandate.

“Because of the large capital that we have, the Family Homes Fund is the largest housing fund in sub-Saharan Africa so we are financing the program with a significantly concessionary interest and rate for development. If we put all those things together, I think it gives us a strong chance for delivering on the mandate.”

Wilson Ifeoma, HousingNews, Abuja.

£2bn fund for building low-cost homes, Theresa May declares

Prime minister to call on associations to help end social housing ‘stigma’ that sees tenants treated as ‘second class citizens’

Housing associations will be handed £2bn in new funding to help them build low-cost homes, under plans set to be announced by Theresa May tomorrow.

The prime minister will tell associations they will be allowed to apply for money for the next decade in a bid to give them greater financial security.

Ms May will also call on housing providers to help end the stigma around social housing that, she will say, sees many politicians “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

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She will tell a conference of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, that “the most ambitious” providers will be able to bid for government money to last them until 2028-29.

The money will come from housing budgets in the next spending review period – the details of which are not expected until next year.

Ms May is expected to say: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals. Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600m and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.

“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2bn initiative. Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028-29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.

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“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”

Ms May will demand associations “achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing” and call on them “to take the lead in transforming the very way in which we think about and deliver housing in this country” by “taking on and leading major developments themselves”, rather than simply buying properties built by developers.

She will also ask associations to help end the “stigma” around social housing, admitting that too many people, including politicians, “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

“For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing. Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority”, she will say.

“And on the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.”

She will add: “We should never see social housing as something that need simply be “good enough”, nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better.

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“Whether it is owned and managed by local authorities, [tenant management organisations] or housing associations, I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”

Ms May used her speech at last year’s Conservative Party conference to announce £2bn of new investment in low-cost housing – enough to build 5,000 new homes per year – although this was criticised as being significantly less than is needed.

No 10 said the new £2bn was in addition to the amount announced last year.

However, Labour said the latest cash injection would not be enough to reverse the impact of previous cuts to housing budgets.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “Theresa May’s promises fall far short of what’s needed.

“Any pledge of new investment is welcome, but the reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house building programme for over 30 years.”

Benjamin Kentish

Legislative reform and drive towards model mortgage

 

To mortgage sector stakeholders in Nigeria, the need for a functional mortgage system cannot be over-emphasised. This is why the drive towards a model mortgage is receiving all the attention that it requires.

At the fore-front of this drive is the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which is riding on the relative successes it has achieved in the past couple of years of its establishment and pushing for the adoption of a model mortgage and foreclosure law by the states.

As part of efforts at growing a mortgage system that will drive affordability, the company is presently driving a legislative reform in the mortgage sector by proposing a model mortgage and foreclosure law by key pilot states including Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Kano and Ogun states.

What the company is driving at, according to one its directors whose primary mortgage bank is a major shareholder in the company, is to get various states houses of assembly to pass foreclosure laws as a prelude to mortgage-backed affordable housing delivery.

This is good news for home seekers who may need mortgage facility because foreclosure law, upon adoption, aims to fast tract the process for creating legal mortgages, ensuring timely resolution of disputes and creating an efficient foreclosure process.

According to the authorities of the mortgage refinancing company, the model mortgage and foreclosure law is in its final form for engagement with 21 pilot states committing to the implementation of an enabling environment for the development of the mortgage market.

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The company hinted that it would be focusing on building capacity and completing outstanding operational activities. “We will be embarking on an aggressive drive towards the procurement of an ICT infrastructure for the mortgage industry, the completion of our second tranche equity capital raise, and most importantly the completion of our first round of mortgage refinancing; we will work hard to meet our mandate to revolutionize the Nigerian mortgage landscape”, an official of the company hinted.

The company has demonstrated uncommon resolve to live out its mandate with refinancing of some mortgage banks. Mortgage operators have described this refinancing as a milestone and, according to Ben Akaneme, Imperial Mortgage’s managing director, “this is an outstanding achievement in the march towards the realisation of affordable and single-digit interest rates for mortgages in Nigeria. He assured that his bank would continue to strive to achieve its mission of enabling easily accessible and affordable mortgages to Nigerians in order to ensure housing for all.

NMRC seems to be conscious of the demands and obligations inherent in the Nigerian business environment as it assures that it will continue to anchor all its services on global best practices, good corporate governance and strict risk management practices.

By now, the company might have got from its shareholders the approval to, among other things, increase their capital base for three main reasons including capital adequacy, mortgage refinancing and procurement of necessary infrastructure.

As at the time when this request was made, the shareholders who saw the need for capital adequacy for the company, especially for its mortgage refinancing function, could not, however, come to terms with the management‘s explanation on the issue of infrastructure and, therefore, insisted that the capital raise be put on hold until the management was able to spell out those items of infrastructure that made the capital raise necessary.

NMRC came into the Nigerian mortgage market on a very high pedestal, promising a major shift in the interest rate regime in the market. But the authorities of the company have said that, though it is a partnership between the government and the private sector, the company operates as a private sector-led institution, relying on the market to determine interest rate on mortgage loans, meaning that the rate that applies to commercial loans also applies to its mortgage.

“The desire of NMRC, the Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to achieve single digit interest rate, but we are not there yet because the market does not allow single digit interest rate”, the official said, adding, “as it is today, we cannot meet the single digit interest rate until we are able to reach that point where the market allows it”.

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Right now, the company is working under market conditions hoping that, over time, as the market deepens and grows, the issue of single digit interest rate will be expected. Whatever the rate is today, the desire is to drive it down to single digit.

Chuka Uroko

Obaseki’s affordable housing: Emotan Gardens’ first phase of 86-units ready by year end – EDPA boss

 

In what has been described as a revolution in Edo State’s housing sector, the first set of homeowners in Governor Godwin Obaseki’s affordable housing project, Emotan Gardens, will move into their property at the end of the year.

Emotan Gardens Executive Chairman, Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), Isoken Omo, disclosed this in a chat with journalists and assured prospective buyers that 86 units of the houses, which constitute the first phase of the project, will be delivered before the end of 2018.

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She said, “Emotan Gardens is a 1, 800-unit gated housing estate which will be done in phases and clusters. The first phase is actually a show phase with about 86 units in it. When it is finished, people can live there. While they are living there, the other phases will be built. In the end, everything will be joined together to become a full estate.”

She explained that the construction of the 86 units is ongoing and assured that it will be ready at the end of the year, noting, “By then people will live there. There will be infrastructure and not just the houses will be ready. We will have roads, lawns, water and electricity there.” According to her, “The sales for the properties opened at the Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) convention, in Toronto, Canada. All the slots are available. Because it is being delivered in phases, it will work in two ways so that we will deliver on our promise. For example, if you don’t have all the money, and then deposit some amount and tell us when you want it ready, it gives us enough time to build up capital.”

On the first phase, Isoken explained, “We have different types. We have four 2-bedroom in a row; 3-bedroom row of houses, 2 and 3-bedroom semi-detached; 3-bedroom semi-detached; blocks of flats; 4-bedroom stand-alone bungalows, terrace houses, 3-bedroom with a maid quarters.

“We have commercial plots and residential plots. Within the commercial plot, we have shopping malls. Within the estate, we have made provision for school, hospital, police station and all those things you need in a community.”

Explaining that there is provision for those who want to build for themselves to buy plots of land, she said, “You can buy a plot of 450 sqm land or 900 sqm land. There is a design guide but it is not rigid. The guide is to ensure homogeneity.”

On the prices for the houses, Isoken said, “The house starts from N5.7 million for the cluster of 2-bedrooms and it goes up to N7m, N8m, N9m and so, according to the housing type. But N5.7m is the entry price. We expect 25 per cent down payment at expression of interest, and then you complete the necessary forms, including the Know Your Customer (KYC) form.

She explained that the KYC form is to “ensure the money is not laundered, and that it came from a clean channel. The onus is on us to check that to ensure we don’t fall foul of the laws. After this, we process the form, then you pay the deposit and we send you your Letter of Offer with terms of payment.

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“There are different payment options. We have outright purchase; 18-month payment plan for payment in tranches, and mortgage arrangement. We are looking at different mortgage options that people can tap into which will be affordable.”

Isoken assured prospective buyers that the model house and other houses on that row are nearly completed, while painting work is ongoing, adding, “The inside of the model house is ready. We are painting others on that row. Some are at the roofing stage, others are at the block stage. By December when we are ready to deliver, all of them will be ready. At the same time work is ongoing on the greenery.”

FMBN, NHIS, PenCom AND PENSIONERS

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) are three major institutions that have profound influence in the way the welfare of Nigerian workers, retirees and pensioners is shaped.

The three institutions share certain features in common: one of the features is that Federal Government employees are automatically enrolled as contributors to the pool of money meant to make it easier for them to meet their need for housing and basic health care while still in service, and periodic pension payments on retirement, respectively.

The amount of money deducted from the salary of each worker as contribution to each of the trio is decided without any consultation with the worker. This feature, which negates the principle of participation, is also common to the three organisations.

The decision on how and when any worker can benefit from his own money deducted and lodged with them ostensibly to further the welfare of the worker is left to the three powerful institutions to choose. This is another shared feature.

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To illustrate, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria may only advance loans to a worker to build or renovate or purchase a house when its management deems fit to do so, not necessarily based on the urgency of the need of the worker to have accommodation. Likewise, the NHIS, in addition to severely limiting the type of health care accessible by workers, it totally denies retired contributors access to its services regardless of the extent of their need for such services.

They are denied, even at the point of death. On its part, the National Pension Commission is supposedly constrained by the Act establishing it to pay Federal retirees a single kobo out of their Retirement Savings Accounts, even in the face of starvation, except after the Benefit Redemption Fund is activated in favour of the retirees. Some people perceive this arrangement as absurd.

The way and manner the three institutions operate need to be tampered with a human face; with empathy and in the context of the spirit of the humane intention that justified the establishment of each of the three institutions.

While the PenCom was busy earlier this week talking to Directors of Pension Operations, frustrated retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme, which the Commission oversees, were crying out loudly for attention and payments of their pensions in several states of the country. So unsettling.

In the case of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, its Managing Director told State House Correspondents after his meeting with the Vice President of Nigeria that a fresh approach toward facilitating house ownership has taken off, thus raising hope on future housing projects for thousands of beneficiaries with zero equity subscription. This is a good initiative, but the reported case of 2017 and 2018 retirees who are still patiently waiting for the refund of their contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) by the FMBN should be treated with the urgency it deserves. September is especially significant as school children resume, and the refunded money can be handy for many in paying school fees.

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The sum total of this article is that the Acts establishing the three institutions, which came into being to preserve and advance the welfare of their contributors, should be usefully flexible: in the case of the FMBN the zero equity approach is good, the rent-to-own concept is wonderful with lower interest charges; the NHIS establishment Act deserves amendment to extend access to basic health care to pensioners who were contributors. The PRA 2014 should be revisited to make it possible for retirees to access part of their savings while remittance to their RSAs from the Benefit Redemption Fund is processed.

The three institutions should be the drivers of the process of making their operations flexible in the interest of their clients.

Salisu Na’inna Dambatta

 

Barclays and UK government plan £1bn housing fund

Bank chairman John McFarlane says fund will address ‘vital need’ for new homes

Barclays and the UK government have revealed plans for a £1bn fund to help property developers meet what the bank’s chairman calls a “vital need” for new homes, including social housing and retirement homes.

The UK bank will commit £875m to a new Housing Delivery Fund, alongside £125m from Homes England, the government’s national housing agency. Small and medium-sized house builders and developers will be able to take loans of between £5m and £100m to fund their projects, with a loan-to-value ratio of up to 70%.

The goal is to diversify the housing market, Barclays said in its statement on the fund, adding that almost two-thirds of homes are currently built by just 10 companies. The fund will be open to existing Barclays clients as well as new customers and will prioritise builders of social housing, retirement homes and homes for private rental.

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The interest rate of the loans was not disclosed, but Barclays said they would be “competitively priced”.

Barclays chairman John McFarlane said: “There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country. This £1bn fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need.”

James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market.”

Then-housing secretary Sajid Javid launched Homes England in January as the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency.

The government has set a target of delivering an average of 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s. Its housing white paper, published in February 2017, described the UK’s housing market as “broken”.

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In her foreword to that paper, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote that the government’s goal is to “fix this broken market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future”.

May went on: “The starting point is to build more homes. This will slow the rise in housing costs so that more ordinary working families can afford to buy a home and it will also bring the cost of renting down.”

She added that diversifying the housebuilding market would involve “opening it up to smaller builders and those who embrace innovative and efficient methods”.

Tim Burke 

3 reasons to worry about the housing market

Home prices in the United States have never been higher. In January, housing values eclipsed their 2006 pre-crisis peak and since then have only pushed higher, according to the Case-Shiller home price index.

The culprits are a crazy tight job market, rising wages and the fact that the homeownership rate is rising again after bottoming in 2016.

But storm clouds are gathering as the Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher, part of its ongoing fight to keep a lid on inflation. Higher rates weigh on home affordability — and thus depress demand. Here are three growing headwinds the housing market faces:

Affordability
Thanks to the resolve of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who is resisting President Trump’s calls for a slowdown of the rate hike pace, monetary policy continues to tighten. That’s pushing up long-term interest rates, with the 30-year Treasury yield pushing back over the 3 percent threshold recently, up from less than 2.7 percent in December and a low of 2.1 percent in the summer of 2016.

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Looking at the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, rates are at 4.5 percent right now, up from 3.8 percent last September and lows around 3.3 percent in 2012 and 2013.

As a result of rising mortgage rates and higher home prices, Gluskin Sheff economists estimate that housing affordability has crashed to lows not seen since 2008, well off the highs seen in 2011 and 2012 when a combination of lower prices and lower rates helped put an end to the housing collapse.
Sales activity

A slowdown in new home construction during the housing crisis resulted in a backlog of demand for brand-new homes. Builders have responded to consumer appetite for newly constructed homes, which has helped pushed up the average price of a new home from a low of $250,000 in late 2011 to a high of $402,900 in December, before cooling slightly.

But now sales activity is rolling over, threatening to break the recent trend of rising activity. Sales of existing homes has flatlined over the past year.

 

Demographics

Millennial homeownership rates are still poor, mired as they are with student loan debt and tepid wages.

According to the Urban Institute, the homeownership rate of millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 is about 8 percent below Gen X and baby boomers at the same age. If millennial homeownership matched previous generations, there would be 3.4 million more homeowners today, they estimate.

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The risk is that the longer this generation delays homeownership, the more baby boomers looking to downsize will be pressured into lowering their home prices when they enter retirement.

Indeed, a study by Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research group warns of a “mass exodus” on the horizon as the “homeownership demand from younger generations is insufficient to fill the void left by multitudes of departing older owners.”

Anthony Mirhaydari

Nigeria not yet mature for Rent-to-Own home model – Previs

The Nigerian real estate market is not yet mature and ready for the burgeoning rent-to-own homeownership model, Previs Development, a special purpose vehicle in the James Cubitt Group, has said.

The company, whose vision is to make property ownership possible, enjoyable and meaningful for everyone, notes that despite the seeming simplicity of this model, careful study of the offers in the market now shows that the absence of mortgage financing has significantly limited the number of homes that can be delivered using that model.

As a homeownership model, rent-to-own, also called rental-purchase, is a type of legally documented transaction under which tangible property, such as land or a house is leased in exchange for a monthly, quarterly or annual payment, with the option to purchase at some point during the agreement.

The model is gaining popularity among developers and is being championed by the Lagos State government as a viable option for providing ‘cheap’ housing accommodation for its civil servants.

But Previs says that with some of its building developments sold out using the rent-to-own scheme, it has observed that the Nigerian real estate market is not yet ready for a rent-to-own model for houses.

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“We want to cater to Nigeria’s underserved middle market. This is why we have created a product called Rent-to-Own-Land (RTOL). The logic is simple: without access to bulk funds, aspiring property owners must approach their home ownership in milestones – land first. Getting land is where the journey starts for most homeowners,” explained Peter Coker, Previs’ managing director, in a statement.

“Our planned estates are strategically located. Subscribers under our RTOL scheme enjoy up to 200 percent capital appreciation because the estates are in developing areas which are receiving focused attention from the government, ” Posi Lawore, the Project Lead for Previs, disclosed.

“These estates are properly planned. Subscribers know that their neighbour will not turn their residences to office spaces years down the line,” Lawore assured.

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The number of residential accommodation being transformed to offices spaces continues to increase daily. This invariably changes the dynamics to the living conditions and may affect property usage and pricing.

Tolulope Olorundero, Marketing and Communications Lead, disclosed that the Phase 1 of their property in Lekki Scheme 2 was sold out, while Phase 2 was also fast selling out because their subscribers enjoyed monthly or annual payment plans of up to 5 years.

“The estate is designed to deliver social amenities such as schools, recreation spots, and communal spaces,” she said

“Artisans can now have pride in their skills”– Bldr. Opaluwah

The Vice Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Bldr. Samson Ameh Opaluwah has said that with the collaboration of N-Power, C-STEmp, CORBON and the Federal Government, artisans are now going to enjoy their pride of place in the society with the upcoming Construction Artisans Award.

Bldr Samson Opaluwah made this statement during a chat with HousingNews Correspondent earlier today.

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“from now henceforth skills of artisans will be rewarded and their importance in running the engine of the Nigerian economy will be identified.” He said.

The Construction Artisans Awards which is slated for the first quarter of 2019, he said, is platform aimed at showcasing and rewarding excellence and competence of artisans all across the federation.

“It is not a competition; however we want to see who is competent and who is skilled in a particular area and begin to reward them.” He said.

He added that the Construction Artisans Award was birthed due to the little importance given to technical education, in the area of acquisition of adequate requisite skills of artisans in the construction sector and the need to ginger youths to know that competence has value and acquiring skills is rewarded in the society.

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“No matter how educated, knowledgeable or proficient the engineer, architect, quantity surveyor and builders are, the person who translates the idea into reality is the artisan and if the artisan is not properly trained in his skill it becomes a major challenge because all the intellectual inputs cannot actually benefit the eventual development that is intended.

Bldr. Samson charged all artisans to raise their tools and utilize them maximally as the upcoming Construction Artisans Awards is aimed at showcasing their worth to the society and rewarding them for their enormous efforts in the physical actualization of ideas of professionals in the construction sector.

 

Wilson Ifeoma Nonye – HousingNews, Abuja

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