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Lagos Begins Assessment of Public Infrastructure

The Lagos State Infrastructure Assets Management Agency (LASIAMA) has commenced the assessment of public infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, public buildings and MDA’s across the State towards the formulation of a strategic and economic reinvestment plan.

 

A statement issued by the Public Affairs department of the Agency said the assessment will determine the current condition and level of maintenance of assets to enable the government to prioritise maintenance as well as draw up an appropriate budget to fund the reinvestment plan.

The release revealed that the assessment of public schools, which has already taken place at Low-Cost Estate Nursery and Primary School Jakande Estate Oke Afa, Lagos will be conducted by a team of engineers from LASIAMA in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

According to the statement, “LASIAMA has also engaged other technical staff to provide employment for residents in the affected communities during the assessment of public infrastructure project”.

It called on the general public to call 09052236539 and provide information on any damaged public infrastructure requiring government intervention.

The enabling law for Lagos State Infrastructure and Assets Management Agency (LASIAMA) was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2014 to create better management solutions for public facilities, improve cost efficiency as well as establish a system for regular maintenance and refurbishment of assets for better service delivery.

Source: Pmnewsnigeria

Abuja Tenants Groan Under Rent Yoke

As Nigerians grapple with the problem of mounting housing deficit, even with real estate owners expanding their business frontiers in the nation’s capital, there seems to be no hope in the horizon for the poor who populate the informal sector as cost of rent in Abuja continues to be neck-breaking for residents in the city.

Aside the artificially-made-high cost of living in Abuja, a city that has become more expensive than other African giant cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town, as reported in Mercer’s 2018 ranking on Cost of Living Survey which placed the city as the 90th most expensive in the world, renting an apartment in Abuja for an average citizen appears most often to be beyond the bound of possibility, this is just as landlords’ position on rent continues to remain almost irreversible amidst difficult times.

Since the 1990s, the cost of accommodation in Abuja has been well beyond the average professional’s wages. Moreover, indications are that it will continue to skyrocket as more and more people continue to troop in to the city from neighbouring states due to security reasons, while poor housing planning and implementation on the part of the government still act as impediments to affordable housing.

Worse is that rent contracts are only available on a one or two-year lease, and it is not uncommon for the landlord to require that the total amount be paid up front, rather than in yearly instalment.

Even with thousands of unoccupied buildings littered all over the city, particularly in highbrow areas, majority of residents in the FCT cannot afford to rent apartment in choice areas, thus they have to turn to the ever growing and populated satellite towns and villages where landlords are kings waiting to milk them dry of their life savings.

“Living and saving in Abuja is almost impossible because of the cost of rent. Landlords don’t care unless for those who see life differently”, said Ugochuki Amaze, a resident of Karu who lamented that tenants are at the mercy of house owners in Abuja.

“I have lived in this city for 12 years after relocating from Jos with my family. I can’t save because I have to train my children and shoulder other bills, including rent to have something over our heads. House is a necessity, even in your village, you must have a roof over your head,” he said.

Shelter is the most important of human needs after food.

Housing has been identified from various fronts as very important. Home ownership enhances the sense of self-worth in an individual and ministers to man’s rights to dignity of his human person but in the FCT, rent appears to be “life” in its own.

Ask most residents in Abuja what gives them concern most every year, the first thing that comes to their minds is rent.

“It gives me heartbeats and my blood pressure goes up whenever the year is running out and you remember that there is an unavoidable bill waiting for you to pay and the worse is that this thing is on the high side”, Mrs Felix Agbegi, a single mother of five, told LEADERSHIP Weekend.

“Things cannot continue like this. I think the government needs to do something to help low income earners to have buildings of their own,” Felix lamented while showing a text message recently sent to her by her landlord, where a month notice was unofficially given to her to vacate a two-bedroom apartment she has been living in with her children for four years now.

“From 2016 to this year, I have moved to three different locations looking for affordable house to keep my family because of the economic situation in the country. Nothing has changed and these landlords are not ready to cut down the cost of rent”, said Emeka, a civil servant and resident of Jikwoyi.

“In other towns outside Abuja, places like Jikwoyi where roads are not tarred, rents are relatively low but here, the case is different. Any beautiful house here almost goes like what you get in town because people keep flooding into Abuja yearly.”

Although prices of rent in the FCT may be different and this depends on the property owner, the concern, however, is affordability.

Medina Lisa Umar, a fashion designer and resident of Lugbe, who was interviewed by our correspondent on telephone said, she had monitored the rate of rents in Lugbe since 2016 submitting that though rents were still expensive, there had been a relative slash with certain percentage by some landlords.

“For instance there is this house, three-bedroom, a very standard one at that, in my area that was fixed at N1.2m but the landlord had brought it down to N800,000. But in the same area, a poorly built and substandard two bedroom apartment is fixed at N1m and the landlord is not ready to shift ground.

“In my case, for instance, I recently moved to a one bedroom apartment for N450,000 with service charge of N50,000 and another N20,000 which brings the total amount I paid to N520,000.”

Asked if she was comfortable paying such amount for a one bedroom, she said no.

“Do you think I like staying in satellite town when there are good houses in town?, asked Medinat who said people flood satellite towns because those houses in town are not affordable and they pay price at the end of the day.

She further blamed agents for the continue hike in prices of rent. According to her, “sometimes agents are the problem and even the landlord may not be aware. They may ask them for instance to put the price of a house for N200,000 for instance but they will go on their own to add N50 or N100. I was once a victim”, she said.

For Andy Onekpe, a resident of Jikwoyi, his perception is that the cost of living in Abuja was artificially created by those he described as “house lords”.

According to Onekpe, you can’t have a society where people earn less and pay high for living and call it normal. It is insane!

“We can’t live in city centre and here at the outskirts of Abuja, rent are still almost impossible to pay. We pay our electricity bill, we buy water and have to cater for our children school bills. This is too heavy for average salary earners to bear.

“Go to Benin, Edo State capital city for instance, the cost of one-bedroom in a village in Abuja can get a good three-bedroom apartment in GRA in Benin. That is a huge difference. That tells you something is wrong with us as a people. The government must do something about this imbalance,” he said.

Beautiful empty houses

Abuja is known to be notorious for not just land grabbing but abandoned and uncompleted and unoccupied buildings littering the major city centre.

Billions, if not trillions of naira have been sunk into real estate businesses. The irony of it is that, the now over-populated Nigeria capital city cannot accommodate its citizens.

Former president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Bolarinwa Patunola, had in a report attributed it to corruption. He said most of the the unoccupied buildings in the FCT were built from proceeds of corruption and because government did not place tax on these houses, owners did not care what happened to those buildings because they were not from their hard-earned money. He urged the government to impose heavy tax on them to crash high cost of house rent in the FCT

Bolarinwa had advised that, “the government must be involved in two key areas: social and investment housing that will incorporate everyone. The Nigerian government should take a cue from Singapore; there should be a scheme to produce flats on a continuous basis yearly”.

Any way out?

Access to shelter by the poor and even the middle class is one of the main challenges facing government and policy makers in Nigeria. This follows poor policy implementation or abject lack of it in the housing sector in the face of huge urban migration and uncontrolled population explosion.

Although the current administration has invested so much in the housing sector, also partnering with the private sector to reduce the housing deficit in the country and ultimately cut the cost of rent, stakeholders have opined that a lot still need to be done to get things right.

For decades, successive governments have been enormously challenged with the provision of affordable human settlements. Though various policies have been put in place to address housing problems, particularly for low in-come earners, but most of these policies have hardly changed anything.

Much of government’s efforts are focused on the provision of subsidised housing in bid to bridge the ever-increasing housing deficit but no one actually builds for the poor and those at lowest rung of societal ladder.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) projects that the nation’s housing deficit stands at about 17 million. This means that there are about 85 million Nigerians in desperate need of roofs over their heads. This translates to over 50 per cent of the nation’s population of estimated 200 million people.

Over the years, there has been half-hearted address of the ever-increasing housing cost, limited access to land and housing finance, regressive land taxation, and low supply of subsidised housing, all of which have pooled to make it difficult for the poor, and low income households to own homes. The effect is that, residents will continue to pay through their nose to have a place to stay, some analysts have postulated.

Given all of these, experts in the housing sector have argued that private sector housing initiatives remain the way to go. A peep at Nigeria’s mortgage policies over the years equally leaves much to be desired.

At the moment, experts, policy makers, key players and professional bodies interested in housing sector continue to unveil new roadmaps that will not only guarantee shelters for the ordinary Nigerian but also provide a vast array of job opportunities for Nigerians.

‘‘The approach changed from government-led approach to housing delivery to private sector-led approach in housing delivery but the problems that inhibited growth in the first approach are still present in the new approach. We have not addressed them,’’ Dr Paschal Onyemaechi, a researcher in public private partnership, PPP and urban housing said during a presentation before the Senate Committee on Works, chaired by former Kano State governor, Senator Kabiru Gaya.

Onyemachi through research propounded a PPP low-income housing model which has  further been developed into a pro-poor housing programme called “Build For Nigeria,” told our correspondent that “the new model is capable of substantially addressing the housing challenge.”

The initiative is now being leveraged by the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities-CVC as a suitable model for addressing the challenge posed by student’s hostel accommodation in public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“Build for Nigeria” deeply takes into consideration affordability and the informal sector where bulk of the Nigerian population operate.

“The issues are source of suitable and sustainable housing finance for the low-income and poorer groups in the informal sector and the lack of suitable model that administer housing finance in the informal sector.

“The model that will work must overcome these two challenges to be able to tackle affordability and deliver to the targeted group. You will agree with me that the Nigeria’s informal sector is characterised with too many informalities, starting from identity issues, small and irregular income to the uncertianties of informal settlement. These have to be considered before you can offer a workable framework”, he said.

“When I say pro-poor housing, I mean pro-poor in all intents and purposes. The design, financing model, accessibility, participation and so on, not pro-poor with elitist’s assessment criteria. That method will not achieve the desired result even in the next 50 years. In fact, most of those difficult criteria automatically exclude the poor and pave way for the rich and powerful to strengthen their position in the market and this is why the deficit figures keep growing,” Onyemachi said.

According to him, “The very interesting contribution from this new thinking (Build for Nigera) is that the model does not require funding from the national budget to operate. It thrives on equity funding.

“I can’t remember any country that have achieved affordable housing for its poorer citizens through commercial mortgage, none. The lead question is how do we make millions of poor Nigerians own decent homes without having millions in their pocket? The answer has led us to the new model. An approach that combines a demand and supply side solution.

“The major objective of the programne is to provide a pool of equity-based fund for implementation of low-cost housing.

“The second objective is to enhance access to housing finance for the bottom 40 per cent of our population. It provides a platform to effectively and efficiently harness the opportunities in the sector to create an equity fund,” he revealed.

“Build for Nigeria” housing programme is designed to accommodate different categories of low-income Nigerians, ranging from those living in the slumps, to petty traders, market women, okada riders, young start-ups, indigent students  (in the case of hostels accommodation in tertiary institutions) etc.

Also the Ag. Head, Marketing and Communication of Millard Fuller Foundation, Mr John Olugbemi, a body that said to have dedicated its time solving housing challenges in the FCT, wonders why there are a lot of unoccupied houses in Abuja housing units being left for so long.

“The reasons are not far-fetched. The cost of those housing units, he told LEADERSHIP Weekend.

“Some of these units are clearly out of the reach of the civil servants of whom majority of them stay around the satellite towns,” said John who complained that most developers have adopted the habit of targeting only the rich while low income earners are ignored even at the detrimental of their investments.

“While many developers are comfortable building for the rich and the middle class, not many of them have the low-income earners in mind”.

He said affordable housing could only be made possible for low-income earners in Nigeria through collaborative partnerships with individuals and organisations and that has become what the objective of the Muller Filler Foundation is premised on.

He added that they had been able to build 700 affordable home (studio, one bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments) which falls within the range of 2-5million naira.

He further disclosed that the “housing units are being taken up through long-term mortgages as provided by mortgage institutions.

Source: leadershipng

Turkish HVAC&R Exporters Association to Support Nigerian Manufacturers

The Turkish HVAC&R Exporters  Association is set to provide sustainable innovations and technology advancement for all sub-discipline; heat transfer, thermodynamics and  fluid mechanics among others.

In a statement delivered by the Chief Executive Officer, Elan Exhibitions West Africa, Jude Jide Chime, the ISIB Expo and Seminar slated to hold  on September, 16-17, at Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos, will feature about  00 meetings at the B2B session, display world class, sustainable and new products in the HVAC &R industry.

The event will also attracts over 1000 professional visitors and 30  nternational participants, with the  trong support f American Society of Heating, Refrigerating nd Air -conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Nigeria chapter nd Nigeria  nstitution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMECHE ).

The  VAC &R ISIB Exhibition is said to be known for its creative  roduct  isplays, world – class exhibition  tand hat showcase sustainable innovations and rends that encompass  arious  spects of the HVAC &R  ndustry  hich  ncludes all sub-discipline  f Mechanics; Heat transfer, Thermodynamics, fluid mechanics.

The exhibition will feature sessions rom various exhibiting companies speaking from  rounded angles of their Specialty, Experience, and Production strength.

Some of the  topics to be discussed include; Air  ilter  election for  VAC  ystems  nd hygenic  pplications, Industrial  ce machines,  obil last Freezers, Mobile Shops, Plate  Heat exchanger applications nd omestic  ater Heater Systems, amongst others.

These  opics  re  ocused  n  rends  hat  ill  ncourage  anufacturing  f  VAC &R  echnologies, innovations  hat  ill   reate ore pportunities  f financial  xchange,  partnership, awareness and corporation  or  ederal and state nstitutions,  EOs, business developers, consultants,  ngineers, mporters , arketers/ dealers, Associations , keystakeholders, policy makers, rtisans and Traders in the HVAC &R Industry.

Source: Sunnewsonlineng

Africa’s Richest Man Makes a $17 Billion Bid for Immortality

Aliko Dangote’s plan to reduce Nigeria’s dependency on fuel imports will carve out an even bigger slice of the nation’s $376 billion economy for his empire.

The best way to appreciate the scale of Aliko Dangote’s empire is to hitch a ride on one of his private jets. A half-hour after his Bombardier Challenger 605 takes off from Lagos Airport, it descends into a seemingly desolate area of Kogi State in central Nigeria, dusty fields and clusters of trees stretching to the horizon. Suddenly a tangle of exhaust stacks, silos, and kilns pierces the sky to the left of the aircraft as Dangote Cement Plc’s Obajana plant comes into view. It’s already the biggest in Africa, churning out enough sacks of cement to fill 1,000 trucks a day. A fifth production line now under construction will make it one of the world’s largest.

The cement plant and its two sister factories in Nigeria have long been the bedrock of Dangote’s fortune, Africa’s biggest. But Dangote’s future—and, as he likes to say, that of the entire continent’s economy—lies to the south on the Nigerian coast. About 40 miles east of Lagos, on more than 6,700 acres of former swampland bound by a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, contractors are putting the finishing touches on a fertilizer plant valued at $5 billion. Next to it, construction of a vast oil refinery—a $12 billion project—is under way.

If all goes according to plan, the complex will immortalize the 61-year-old Nigerian businessman as Africa’s most prominent industrialist, vaulting Dangote Industries’ annual revenue from $4 billion to about $30 billion, roughly 8 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product. Oil industry experts such as London-based CITAC have questioned the project’s timeline, citing logistical and financial challenges. But Dangote insists the refinery, which will be Africa’s largest, is on track. “By 2020 I will finally dispatch oil,” he says during a January interview at his Lagos home.

Despite controlling the world’s 10th-largest oil reserves, Nigeria has only four aging, inefficient state-owned refineries, leaving it almost wholly reliant on imports for its fuel needs. Dangote says his massive refinery could end that dependency and lift electricity generation in a nation plagued by blackouts: “It will change the entire economy of Nigeria.”

The fertilizer plant, which Dangote says will come online in a few months, will be capable of producing up to 2.8 million metric tons of urea a year. “It’s probably the largest-volume urea plant ever executed at one time,” says Alistair Wallace, head of fertilizer research at Argus Media in London. Nigeria’s natural gas prices are the lowest in the world, meaning Dangote’s fertilizer will likely be profitable even in the competitive export market. “It will generate hard currency and bring in dollars. It will be a good look for the administration and for Dangote,” Wallace says.

Born into a wealthy Muslim family of traders in the north, Dangote incorporated his own business selling cement at 21. He shifted to manufacturing the building material in the 1990s, convinced his homeland, the world’s seventh-most-populous country, could meet its own demand for staples. Dangote factories churning out sugar, flour, and salt followed. A vertical integration push gave rise to other businesses, including oil, property management, packaging, and port operations.

Four publicly traded companies under the Dangote Industries umbrella account for about a third of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange. While shares of Dangote Cement tumbled 26 percent in the past year amid a sell-off in emerging markets, the fertilizer plant has helped boost Dangote’s net worth to $17  billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. (No value is attributed to the refinery in Bloomberg’s analysis because it’s still under construction.)

In many ways, Dangote’s ascent recalls that of Gilded Age tycoons such as Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who accumulated great fortunes as they created industries. While the emergence of a new generation of business titans that includes Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has drawn attention to rising income inequality in the U.S. and elsewhere, Dangote’s net worth is particularly disproportionate to the lot of ordinary Nigerians, almost half of whom live in extreme poverty.

Critics have attacked him for holding much of his wealth offshore and say he’s a shrewd monopolist who has plied his political connections to secure an advantage over competitors. They claim his market-dominating cement company squeezes local consumers with prices three times the global average while slashing prices in neighboring markets to crush rivals. A World Bank report published in 2016 found that African cement prices averaged $9.57 per 50-kilogram bag, compared with $3.38 globally. Dangote’s cement business has also been accused of exploiting a government-run investment promotion program to secure generous tax breaks.

Dangote shrugs off such criticism, while preaching the gospel of markets as the best way to narrow the divide between the haves and have-nots. “China in 30 years has taken almost 500 million people out of poverty,” he says.

Soft-spoken and unfailingly polite, he offers up his chair in meetings to guests and serves food for others during a lunch in an office conference room. But the courteous chief executive officer is also a hard-driving manager. “ ‘Not possible’ aren’t words he understands,” says Giuseppe Surace, chief operating officer of the refinery project, as our convoy of Toyota Land Cruisers sets off on a four-hour tour of the site. “In his own way, he is very tough.”

Nigeria’s $376 billion economy is, by some measures, Africa’s largest, but the operational challenges for companies are also outsize. The World Bank assigns the country a lowly score of 53 on ease of doing business (Kenya gets a 70, and South Africa a 66). Besides an overabundance of red tape and weak protections for investors, the country is perceived to be more corrupt than many of its neighbors. Nigeria’s chronic logistical logjams, infrastructure failings, and political risk are why CITAC says Dangote’s 2020 timeline for the refinery may not be feasible.

Even the so-called smart money has stumbled here. Five years after pledging to invest $5 billion in infrastructure alongside Dangote, Blackstone Group LP is in the process of exiting an African subsidiary called Black Rhino Group because of a dearth of suitable opportunities, a person familiar with the matter has said. KKR & Co. disbanded its Africa deal team in 2017.

Dangote, for his part, has decades of experience negotiating Africa’s pitfalls. Yet even by the continent’s standards, the refinery project could be characterized as a heavy lift. Dangote Industries bought the plot for $100 million at the end of 2013, but it ultimately took almost three years—and many truckloads of sand—to prepare the swampy ground for construction. The company erected a jetty and widened and reinforced roads to accommodate shipments of cranes and other equipment.

Dangote’s existing empire gives him advantages. The new refinery is a big customer of Dangote Cement, and the roads to and from the surrounding quarries are clogged with his trucks. Also, his timing was fortuitous. The project geared up during a recession, giving him more bargaining power over contractors keen to land work. Plus its location inside a free-trade zone means the complex should be better insulated from the Nigerian political scene, according to Dangote’s lieutenants. “We’re an island,” says Surace, an Italian who previously worked at oil services company Saipem.

Talk to ordinary Nigerians and plenty crack smiles at the mention of Dangote, who’s featured in internet memes, while a recent single by Nigerian singer Teni plays on his wealth. It’s the kind of name recognition any politician would envy. Results from Nigeria’s Feb. 23 general election, which was marred by delays, technical glitches, and violence that killed at least 39 people, saw President Muhammadu Buhari beat his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar. But Dangote, who’s long avoided playing political favorites and deflected questions on the election throughout the campaign, says he’s not interested in governing. “If I exit from business and go into politics, nobody can actually sit in Dangote Group and take the kind of risk that I can, because I’m the owner,” he says. “My real job is to see how do I transform Nigeria and Africa and to take this kind of risk.”

While Dangote has confined his business activities to Africa so far, he expects to expand beyond his home continent after revenue tops $30 billion. There’s not “capacity to be able to invest that kind of money just in Africa,” he says.

Signs of his burgeoning fortune abound. His namesake foundation spends as much as $100 million a year on projects such as hospitals and malnutrition, according to its CEO Zouera Youssoufou. Dangote’s offices feature photos of him with Bill Gates and Barack Obama, and he says he’s in the process of setting up a family office that will have outposts in London and New York. Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein is helping set it up and the unit will invest alongside the private equity firm, Dangote said. Rubenstein, who hosts a show on Bloomberg Television, declined to comment.

“It’s very much on paper now,” Dangote says.

He could even acquire that archetypal billionaire trinket: a professional sports team.

An Arsenal fan, Dangote says he’s prepared to stomach the multibillion-dollar price tag the English soccer club would command once the refinery is finished.

“I will go aggressively after Arsenal,” he says.

For now, though, his focus is on the vast project taking shape on the Atlantic coast.

The last time I see Dangote, it’s past midnight at his Lagos home. He’s sitting at the head of the dining room table, near a barely touched bowl of fish stew and a chunky Casio calculator. He turns his head, with closely cropped hair flecked with gray, toward the accounts in front of him.

He’s absorbed. Seconds tick by in silence, then minutes. Finally he’s satisfied. He signs off and—ever the host—patiently fields a few more questions before seeing me and his other guests out before heading to bed.

Waiting for my ride, I turn back and see Dangote, the $17 billion man, climbing the stairs.

He’s back on the phone, still working.

Source: bloomberg

Rwanda’s Infrastructure Development How does Kagame do it?

Rwanda’s Infrastructure Development deserves some study. With 12 million people, barely $2 billion in total annual government revenues, not much more than a billion dollars annually available for capital expenditure, and a per capita GDP below $800, it’s quite easy to see that Rwanda is a decidedly low income country; with significantly constrained public sector resources available for development.

Yet, this small, landlocked, densely populated country, located as it is in an incredibly challenging geopolitical postcode has managed over the past 25 years to triple per capita income, achieving “high growth (which) has raised income levels and reduced poverty, (although) incomes and labor skills are still catching up to peers,” according to IMF’s latest review of the country’s economic performance..

By any measure (and despite some valid criticism of its statistical methods), a historically important economic miracle has been pulled off in Rwanda since the horrific its crisis in 1994– average annual public and private sector investment levels consistently higher than 20 percent of GDP per annum points to one of the more important sources of that growth.

Much energy has been expended in examining the political model that produces these outcomes (a very important area for consideration, and long may it continue), but that vital debate need not detain us today. My particular area of interest and expertise is in exploring the principles of economic governance that made these kinds of development outcomes possible.

Financing large infrastructure projects in Rwanda (Africa Finance Corporation has funded a power plant that is nearing completion, and we are now working on a new airport for the future) provides a vantage point from which to observe the approaches and principles that drive economic development and attract investment into the country.

How does Kagame do it? This is without a doubt, a deceptively simple question that is impossible to answer comprehensively in any kind of summary manner. Keeping aside the question of politics and state security (areas with evidently very little room for compromise), some common themes are easy to observe.

The first is a systematic approach to attacking development problems. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this seemingly innocuous original step. In the area of public infrastructure delivery in Africa, there are quite simply, no simple problems.

Taking the time upfront to scope out the multiplicity of interconnected factors that prevent or delay success in the implementation of a project (or a series of projects in any sector) is invaluable best practice. Often, a comprehensive and well-documented technical, commercial, legal and regulatory assessment will be the most proper instrument for achieving this.

Next, for each developmental challenge or objective, a carefully thought-through institutional framework is conceived of, with all the required parties for a solution mapped out. In practice, this will often lead to the creation and promulgation (or more often, when they exist already, restructuring and amendment) of appropriate institutions and legislation required for an effective intervention by the state. Extensive consultation with private sector, donor and development partners will also take place at this point in time.

Finally, it will not be unusual to observe that incredibly smart, typically quite young and very often female, citizens have been identified, recruited, trained and handed sufficient responsibility for driving the desired solution, within the context of an already well laid-out framework. From here on, development tends to take on a life of its own. The results are clear to see: remarkable public sector accomplishments and large private investments in the areas of education, technology, healthcare, tourism, manufacturing as well as infrastructure, combining to deliver the enviable and much-talked-about economic growth and poverty reduction.

More can be done evidently (this is still a poor country, with up to 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to some of the more critical, non-government analyses). And Rwanda is a small country with a peculiar history of its own, so caution is always necessary in reading results across to other African countries.

Critically, a major area of concern is in the area of sustainability, and the extent to which outcomes depend entirely on the currently applicable political system and leadership. But if our objective is to learn from economic development everywhere we encounter it, then there is a great deal of pedagogic value that must be taken from the work that has been done in Rwanda.

Some ambitious ideas for infrastructure development lie in the future of Rwanda. In particular, establishing communication by rail with important regional trading locations, and ultimately with a deep-water seaport on the coast would be a transformative development for the country’s economy. Already, the same energy and discipline that I have tried to describe above is being applied to this challenge, and with a lot of luck, more successes lie ahead.

Source: Businessdayng

Construction Slows Despite Infrastructure Rhetoric

Nigeria’s construction industry saw growth slow the most in the past three quarters despite government’s acclaimed commitment to address decrepit infrastructure which continues to hurt business growth and deter investment.

Data released by the country’s statistics office showed that the sector expanded a marginal 0.67 percent in the second quarter of the year compared to 3.18 percent in the preceding quarter.

This implies that the construction sector grew 1.92 percent mid-year 2019, lower than 3.06 percent expansion registered in similar period last year.

Nigeria’s construction sector, one of the most vibrant in Africa, suffer setbacks from ‘corrupt’ government officials, which has stalled many developmental projects, industry players say.

“Lack of will and misappropriation of few available funds are the bigger issues facing the industry,” said Olumide Akinyemi, project manager at Lagos-based Global Building Limited.

“Contractors don’t get paid on time, so how do you expect them to fund projects?” Akinyemi queried.

The sector contributed 4.4 percent to Nigeria’s economic output in second quarter, up 4.1 percent three months earlier, but below African peers such as South Africa (15%) and Kenya (11%).

Babatunde Fashola, at his ministerial screening at the senate chamber last month, tied the woes of the industry to cash shortage and called for the introduction of N10 trillion infrastructure bond to finance projects.

Worrisome is the fact that government’s rising capital spending has no corresponding impact on economic growth.

To put in context, public capital spending has surged 157 percent to N1.7 trillion in the three years through 2018, while the broader economy managed to grow by an average one percent in that period.

Government has been relying on the domestic capital market and international investors for cash to finance budget by raising debt securities through the Debt Management Office (DMO). But analysts have raised eyebrows on Nigeria’s rising debt profile, even as debt servicing is expected to gulp 82 percent of Nigeria’s revenue by 2022.

Last year, the state debt agency raised an N100 billion sovereign Sukuk bond to finance 28 projects across the country including the LagosIbadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge. This followed after raising its debut N100 billion bond in 2017 which was over-subscribed by 6 percent.

Nigeria’s construction unimpressive performance took a toll on companies’ evidenced by theirhalf-yearearningsscorecard which showed players struggled to improve profitability amid a significant jump in cost.

While Julius Berger, the biggest listed player in the industry saw profit rise 9 percent mid-year 2019, Arbico incurred loss worth N38 million, after posting N71 million profits last year.

“The cost of construction in Nigeria is one of the highest in Africa. This is even as over 65 percent of materials are sourced abroad. Foreign exchange is not smiling as well,” Akinyemi stated.

Source: Businessdayng

BREAKING: FG Approves Construction of Ebonyi International Airport

The Federal Government has approved the request for the construction of a new International Airport in Ebonyi State.

This followed a request for the approval of the airport by the state government.

Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika conveyed the approval in a letter to Governor David Umahi.

In a letter signed on his behalf by the Director Safety and Technical Policy, Capt T A Alkali of the Ministry, the Minister said the approval followed the visit of a Technical team from the ministry and its agencies to the state on inspection of the proposed site for the airport.

“I am directed to convey the approval of the Honourable Minister of Aviation for the construction of a state-owned/financed International Airport on the inspected site”, he wrote.

The Minister, however, noted that the approval is subject to the State Government’s fulfilment of certain requirements.

He listed the requirements as strict compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority requirements; compliance with all relevant environmental regulations, adherence to the provisions of the subsisting Civil Aviation Act 2006, Nigeria Civil Aviation Policy 2013 and other regulations that may evolve with time; and payment of statutory fees.

Other requirements according to the Minister include: Issuance of Security Clearance fro the Department of State Services(DSS); removal of all obstructions on the site and involvement of the Ministry and its relevant agencies at every stage of the development of the airport to ensure compliance with Standards and Recommend Practices (SARPs).

With the approval, all is now set for the smooth take-off of the construction of the airport.

The airport is to be sited in a big expanse of land at the boundary between Ezza South and Ezza North local government areas.

The approval comes at a time when the only International Airport in the Southeast, located in neighbouring Enugu State has been shut down by the Federal Government indefinitely.

The Federal Government said it shut down the airport to effect repairs on its dilapidated infrastructure including the runway.

Despite playing host to two out of the top three market hubs in the country located in Aba, Abia State and Onitsha Anambra state, the Southeast have lacked adequate infrastructure to aid import and export of goods from the region.

The new airport is expected to help in opening up the zone as well as neighbouring Cross River and Venue States in the South-South and North-Central zones.

Source: thenationonlineng

Steel company

Ajaokuta Project in PMB’s Next Level Agenda

The dream of Nigeria to have reliable steel industry that will not only form the bed rock of the country’s industrialization, but also place her in a competitive position with her counterparts worldwide led the Federal Government to come up with the idea to restructure its priorities.

Thus culminating into the establishment/take off of several steel projects in Nigeria, such as Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Delta Steel Company Limited Aladja, Jos Steel rolling mills, Inland rolling mills in Osogbo, Katsina rolling mills and the Nigeria machine tools Limited also in Oshogbo. It is unfortunate to mention that most of these steel projects are today liquidated and under lock and key.

The Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited the largest steel industry in Africa and third in the world remained moribund and yet to see the light of the day because it’s final completion has become a political issue with successive governments.

Part of several failed efforts by past administrations to fix this integrated steel plant and give a boost to the country’s industrialization drive gave birth to the idea to concessionaire the steel project, thus leading to the signing of dual concession agreements at various times between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Solgas Energy Ltd and Global infrastructure holdings Ltd, under Olusegun Obansajo’s administration.

Today, it is interesting to learn that all legal issues that trailed the review of the concession agreement has finally been resolved by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is also heart warming to note the efforts of the Buhari administration in the area of the completion of the Itakpe – Warri – Ajaokuta rail project for the movement of goods/services and people. However, of serious concern to this writer is the recent notion in some quarters that the present administration has listed Ajaokuta steel company as one of the state – owned outfits to be disposed of during Buhari’s First Tenure.

This unpopular opinion was given credence to by the manufacturer Association of Nigeria. Some critics of the Buhari administration even claimed that the completion of the steel project is far from Buhari’s heart, adding that it accounted for the president’s casual comments of the projects when he came on campaign visit to Kogi State before the last general elections.

However, while this negative opinion persists, both chambers of the 8th National Assembly towards the end of it’s tenure passed a resolution for the government to remove ASCL/NIOMCO Itakpe from the list of outfits billed for privatization and recommended that government should put $1 billion for the completion of the steel plant. Sad enough, this lofty proposal of the 8th National Assembly was rejected by President Buhari on the ground that the recommendation did not have the input of relevant organs, such as the ministry of power and steel. The above action of both chambers of the National Assembly summarises the wish of Nigerians on the issue of Ajaokuta steel project.

Therefore, what Nigerians are waiting for is for President Muhammadu Buhari to “reconsider” and assent to the resolution of the immediate past National Assembly by releasing the appropriated funds for the completion of the steel plant. Whereas some critics have variously described President Muhammadu Buhari as not too good in the management of the country’s economy, some said he lacks the political will to tackle the industrial growth of the country, but in my candid view, no reasonable leader will not wish the development of his/her constituency well.

As reasonable followers too, what our leaders expects is our support, by way of good suggestions/advice. Both the leader and followers must resist the temptation of trivializing and politicizing issues. It is therefore my candid opinion that the President should use the opportunity of his second coming to lay the foundation for the industrial growth of the country, by ensuring that Ajaokuta Steel Project is fully completed and operational.

“By So Doing, The President Would Have Not Only Proved That Nigeria’s Progress Is Not Tied To Foreign Dictates, But Also That He Is Capable Of Managing Well The Economy Of The Country”. First, President Buhari should jettison the idea of privatizing ASCL/NIOMCO Itakpe by aligning himself with the resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the need to complete Ajaokuta steel project in line with the wishes of generality of Nigerians.

This is because records have shown that public utilities like N.E.P.A, NITEL AND others privatized by past administrations did not bring about the expected improvement or positive result in terms of economic gains and services. Rather, the exercises tends to enrich the various individuals/management of the utilities so privatized to the disadvantage of the public.

Apart from the fact that the completion of Ajaokua steel project will lead to the industrialization of the country and by extension enable the country to attain economic, viability, the project when completed will generate mass employment for the citizens; reduce joblessness and crime in our society. To demonstrate commitment, the President should direct the ebullient Minister of Mines and Steel, Hon. Olamilekun Adegbite to reaccess the current condition of the steel plant and report to him (President) before Mr. President pay a working visit to the steel plant with a view to having a personal assessment of the gigantic project that have remained neglected and wasting.

Apart from assenting to the resolution of the National Assembly on the steel project, the President should come out with a reform in the supervising ministry in order to ensure that best hands professionals are given the opportunity to manage the steel company. In this regards, this writer who has interacted with First Republic leaders, the military leaders all through Nigeria Civil War 1967 – 1970 applauds the choice of the new Sole Administrator of ASCL, Engr. Ismail Abdul-Akaaba has brought life back to the steel territory in assumption of office. It is our conviction that with every necessary support, the steel plant can grow under the supervision of the new Sole Administrator and move to the next level in line with President Buhari’s second term agenda.

Source: dailytrustng

Why Infrastructure Increases Value of Property –Experts

An expert in the built environment has advised property owners to seek ways of providing basic infrastructure in their environment. 

Morkuola Fadesiri, an independent developer in the eastern part of Nigeria, said that what increases the value of any property include infrastructures like roads to and out of the estate, electricity, social amenities, recreational centres, worship places, market place and educational facilities.

According to him, government has the role to provide the infrastructure while the private individuals could develop the estates since the infrastructure are neither movable or transferable.

He frowned at the idea of occupants rushing to secure apartments in Islands saying, however one plans his environment is the way it will look like. “The fact that everyone is drifting to live on Islands does not mean there are no good apartments for high networth men and women on Lagos mainland. People should endeavour to attract infrastructure to their areas. It does not necessarily mean that if government fails in its responsibilities, you cannot better your life. Try an make yourself comfortable no matter what because it is your life,”he said.

Another respondent Mrs. Aisha Achuba, stated that once one has a motorable way in and out of his environment, he does not need to look at the caliber of men and women there.

“A residential estate is a group of homes and other buildings built together as a single development. It is usually built by a single contractor, with similar  building design, so they tend to be uniform in appearance. Most people already assume that residential estates are very expensive because of the services that come with them. The good news is, residential estates on the Lagos mainland are not as expensive as those on the Island, as residents still tend to enjoy the same benefits,” he stated.

He went further to say, “This year has been one of twists and turns for the real estate market. As with every real estate year, the market can shift in an instant. For this reason, real estate professionals need to keep their eyes open for the next up-and-coming trend to hit the market and cause a stir. Knowing in advance what to expect in terms of market trends for the real estate industry will not only give you an edge over your competition, but can help you serve your customers better.

Source: sunnewsonline

6 Communities to Benefit From N60m Enugu Rural Projects

To bring succour to the lowly placed and those with various levels of impairments, the World Bank in collaboration with the Enugu State Government has earmarked over N60 million for provision of boreholes, roads and electricity, among others, for gender and vulnerable groups in six communities in the state.

General Manager of the Enugu State Community and Social Development Project (CSDP), Dr Maximus Asogwa, disclosed this recently while formally presenting the first tranche of the fund for the projects for the gender and vulnerable groups which included widows, orphans and People Living With Disabilities (PLWD).

According to him, over N22 million was disbursed as first tranche of the Fund to the Gender and Vulnerable Group (GVG) by the General Manger at the event. Asogwa listed the benefiting groups as: Mbu in Isiuzo Local Government Area, Umuigbo, Amurri in Nkanu West Local Government Area, In God We Trust at Umuogbuagu in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area , Ameke-Oduma in Aniniri Local Government Area, Chidera at Ezineri/Ezinese Mgbidi in Agwu Local Government Area and Amanasato-Oduma in Aninri Local Government Area of the state.

He  said the present administration in the state would continue to accord priority to the welfare of the people, saying that it was as a result of it that the state government keyed into the World Bank projects to provide succour to the rural communities.

“The beneficiaries should make judicious use of the project funds and execute the projects within time frame. The World Bank and the state government have zero tolerance to corruption.

“Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) is a World Bank Assisted project that promotes Community Driven Development. The project is co-financed by the Federal Government and 30 participating states of which Enugu State is one of them.”

Earlier, the management of CSDP in the state had held a training workshop at Cordial Hotel, Enugu for members of Group Project Management Committee (GPMC) of benefitting communities. Participants including widows, disables, orphans,  handicapped, elderly/old people, people living with HIV/AIDS, children with broken homes, destitute, were drawn from different communities in the state.

It was also observed that responsibilities of beneficiaries, contribution of counterpart fund (cash or kind), the need for active participation in execution, supervision of the CSDP projects topped the discussion at the workshop with roles and responsibilities of stakeholders  by Damian Udegbunam

Another Speaker from the CSDP stable was Mr. Ishiwu Ifeanyi ( Procurement Officer) who warned against against fraud during the execution of the projects. He advised on the need for accountability and transparency and advertising the quotation of the project in major streets and market square of the benefitting community for quality work to be executed by competent contractors.

Also, the Finance and Administration Manager, Anthony Onu spoke on management and effective utilisation of funds as well as sound financial management which he said was critical to project implementation, hence the achievement of the desired goals in various Gender and Vulnerable Groups in the state.

“Budget for the project should be followed strictly with internal control and accounting of funds flows. Responsibility should be shared for checks and accountability”, he added.

Source: sunnewsonline

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