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NHF Deductions: FMBN, Labour Unions, Assure Better Deal For Workers

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Employees Consultative Assembly (NECA) have promised better deal for Nigerian workers contributing to the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme.

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The NHF which is managed by FMBN is a social savings scheme designed to mobilise long-term funds from workers, banks, insurance companies and the federal government to advance concessionary loans to contributors. The proposal which is currently before the national assembly is contained in Section 8 of the amended loans board Act.

Fika further alleged that the disbursement of Home Renovation Loan (HRL) to federal civil servants was done to douse tension. Recall that the FMBN last year disbursed HRL worth N643m to 740 federal civil servants across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the loans board. Addressing journalists in Abuja, the managing director of FMBN, Arc Ahmed Dangiwa noted that the essence of the tripartite collaboration between the bank and labour unions is to widen access to affordable loans and housing to workers.

He lamented that houses sold by developers are exorbitantly high saying that civil servants who are the low and medium income earners cannot access the houses. This he said compelled the bank to come up with plans of either building the houses or sourcing for cheaper low income houses for the workers. Dangiwa debunked claims that the HRL was disbursed to douse tensions adding that HRL is one of the special products developed by the bank to assist workers with N1 million each to renovate existing homes. He maintained that the bank has disbursed HRLs to over 6000 workers in the last five years adding that the bank disbursed N6.5bn HRLs in 2017.

Also speaking, the president of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama kicked against splitting of the National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions adding that labour cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. According to him, “We cannot rob Peter to pay Paul because the operational scope of FMBN is different from that of FGSLB, though there are challenges but we are prepared to face the challenges from both sides. Kaigama noted that the problems observed in terms of the law establishing FMBN and NHF is being ammended at the national assembly saying that the leadership of NLC, TUC and NECA are involved at every stage of administration of FMBN.

He called on federal government to fund the FHSLB and pay up their share holdings in FMBN stressing that the entire funds of FMBN are owned by workers. “Either way there are problems or services being rendered by labour, the two institutions were established by a law and you cannot undermine one law in favour of another because both institutions are working for Nigerian workers”. “The FGSLB is only servicing federal workers while FMBN is servicing federal, state and local government workers as well as the private sector including the formal and informal sectors, so the scope of FMBN is wide”.

Kaigama said though there are problems but such problems would not be addressed by creating more confusion, assuring that NLC and TLC would liaise with the two institutions on how to trash out the areas of disagreement. He sought for the recapitalisation of FMBN even as he appealed to the federal government and Central Bank of Nigeria to pay up their shares in the bank. “Before now, we have not been having it very sound but we are assuring workers that with the new management team of the bank that workers will be better off in terms of getting services that they deserve” . “The foundation has been laid and we are building on that foundation to make sure that we give workers the best services it deserves”, he concluded.

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Infrastructure deficit: Plight of civil servants in Abuja

The legendry Fela Anikulapo aptly captured the daily predicaments of the average Nigerian workers in his epic song, ‘Suffering and Smiling’. Many years after the release of the prophetic record, Nigerians’ plight has not improved, rather, as DONALD IORCHIR observes in this piece, their pitiable conditions get worse with deterioration of infrastructure in the nation’s capital city

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Exorbitant rent
For too long, civil servants working in Abuja have been passing through traumatic stress moving from their residences on the outskirts of Abuja to their offices within the capital city. Due to high rents charged by landlords within the municipality, many civil servants have to seek alternative accommodation outside the city. A good number of civil servants live as far away as Suleja, in neighbouring Niger state, Masaka in Nasarawa state and many other slums along Keffi – Abuja Road, Abuja – Lokoja Road, as well as Kaduna-Abuja Road.


As early as 5am, civil servants from the neighbouring states cram buses and swarm into Abuja heading for their various places of work. In the evenings too, they scramble for buses and taxis to get back to their respective homes after the day’s work. Some civil servants who spoke with to Blueprint revealed that majority of civil servants have been dying in silence.
Okeke Uche, a staff of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said his salary is about N70, 000 per month and as a result he had to secure accommodation in Mararaba at the rate of N 170,000, for a bedroom flat.

Struggle to board bus
According to him, “I spend more than an hour waiting for a bus in the morning, even when we eventually get a bus, valuable items like handset, money and important documents get missing, as a result of the struggle to board the bus”.
Mararaba is one of the slums in the outskirts of Nasarawa state bordering the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. After the demolishing exercise of 2003 and 2004 carried out by then Minister of FCT, Malam Nasir el-Ruiai, most of the affected persons sought refuge in a place like Mararaba and environs. Mararaba is always in chaos with bad roads, very poor sanitary condition couple with overcrowding and congestion. Even, criminals and hoodlums have taken advantage of the over population of Mararaba to make life miserable for residents.
Okeke suggested that government should construct houses according to individual level, civil servant salary should be increased and the government should increase the number of mass transit vehicles on the roads.
Similarly, Saliha Gutus, said the cost of living in the city is extremely high as a result she stays in ‘one man’ village in Nasarawa state.

Decentralise ministries
“I have never gotten home before 9:pm due to hold up.” She stated that her entire salary goes to pay house rent; and always wakes up early to avoid the traffic hold up.
She suggested that government should decentralize the offices so that those staying in far place like Gwagwalada will find it easy to get to their offices on time.
She was of the opinion that if government could build houses like storey buildings in some places and give it out to people to pay on monthly basis, it would solve the stress of waking up early in the morning.
Likewise, Roselyn Yusuf Abdu, who works in the office of Head of Service, while commenting on the pathetic condition of civil servants said, she always wakes up as early as 4am to enable her get to her place of work, stating that sometimes, she gets late to the office due to the long queue waiting to board mass transit buses because it is one of the cheapest mode of transportation. “I spend up to three hours at times before I would get to my office as a result of traffic hold up on the road” she said.

Living from hand-to-mouth
Jombo James, who works in the Ministry of Transportation as a driver bared his mind, saying he and his family are ‘ living from hand to mouth due to his poor salary’. He added that corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of government and that civil servants would continue to suffer.
“There’s no government policy right now for construction of low cost house for low income earners. So, it is clear that the problem will persist for a long time, but prayed for the better”. He maintained.
He said instead of building affordable houses in places like Jabi, Karimo, Karu and Nyanya, where houses were demolished years back, government has shared the plots among top government officials. “There is no way low income earners can live within the city, of Abuja,“ he lamented.
Gloria Peter, while expressing her feelings in the same vain said, she spends one hour to get a vehicle, at the bus stop. “I stay in Mararaba because I can’t afford the house rent in the city.
“Some of us leave our offices by 3pm instead of 4pm in order to avoid the hold-up in the evenings and increment in transportation fare” she added that the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening every day. The truth of the matter is that, many people migrate every day in large numbers to settle in places like Mararaba, Suleja and other slums due to high cost of living and this has aggravated traffic congestion on the road”.

Build subsidised houses
She strongly believes that, the problem of civil servants would be surmounted If the government can build houses and subsidize them, adding that the government should help to increase the salary of civil servants which is now over due
Living conditions have continued to deteriorate on a daily basis with the devaluation of the naira without an equivalent increase in salaries and incomes. Since the early eighties the value, of the naira has continued to decline reducing the purchasing power of the average Nigerian while government has continual to remove fuel subsidy.

Lugbe, Gwarimpa houses no-go area
In Nigeria there is no social housing and majority of Nigerians have to seek any form of accommodation anywhere. There exist a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) that gets allocation of billions of naira every year to build houses for Nigerians; however the authority ends up building houses for only the super-rich. The Federal Housing Estate in Lugbe is supposed to be a low income estate meant for junior and intermediate staff but the cheapest house on the estate costs N 3.5 million, while rents is upwards of N500,000. Gwarimpa is a no go area for the honest Nigerian as houses on the estate sell for as much as N 22 million and rents are upwards of N 1 million and above.

Facing economic realities
The fact of the matter is that there is no affordable housing in Abuja. While civil servants are battling to cope with the challenges posed by the economy, the level of poverty in society has placed another burden on them coming from the extended family. Most Nigerians in the rural areas believe Abuja is a place of delight for everybody living there and as such believe all civil servants are living big while, in reality they are battling to cope with economic realities.

School fees in Abuja
School fees in Abuja are also on the high side with some schools charging as much as N300, 000 per term. Due to the high population density, “most residents cannot secure places for their children in the more affordable public schools and have to send their children to private schools where they have to pay exorbitant fees.
There urgent need for the Federal Capital Territory Administration to designate the area council as settlements for the low income groups and provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities for residents living in such areas. The administration of FCT should take drastic steps and do the needful to ameliorate the plight of FCT residents and workers.

NICE Worried Over Non-Implementation Of Masterplans

The Chairman, Abuja chapter of Nigeria Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE), Engr. Ben Ossy Oko has stated that the greatest challenge with Nigeria is non-compliance to the master plan particularly in Abuja. In a chat with Housing News  in Abuja, he noted that Abuja is the only city in Nigeria that was designed before government started providing infrastructures.

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He maintained that Cambera, the capital of Australia was the first capital city in the world that was designed before building infrastructure followed by Brazilia, the capital of Brazil and the third Abuja. “If you visit these cities, you will see the way they have been able to follow the implementation of the master plan but in Nigeria, reverse is the case”.

Oko stated that NICE has been providing support and professional guidance to the government given that 80 percent of development in Abuja was carried out by civil engineers. He lamented that the sprawling slum settlements in the city was due to the increasing population at the centre and economic downturn that affected the provision of infrastructure This he said energised residents to seek alternative ways of habitation.

“From the Abuja master plan, we are not supposed to have soakaways, electric poles or build houses anywhere without the presence of infrastructure but today; if you visit places like Kuje, Lugbe, Nyanya, Gwagwalada, you will notice the absence of infrastructure”.

The chairman pointed out that government had in the past built mass housing to control illegal settlements as seen in places like Apo and Pegi. Oko disclosed that their job as a professional body is to advise the government on best ways to reduce slums which is to channel resources towards speedy development of the city. He further pleaded with federal government to develop alternative means of transportation by investing heavily on railways instead of constructing many roads.

“If we have functional railway system in Abuja, somebody living in Kaduna, Keffi, Abaji doesn’t need to live in the city centre. All they need to do is to enter the train in the morning to the city and when they closes for the day, they will enter similar train back home which is what is applicable in every part of the world”. Oko was optimistic that the institution would continue to advocate for increased alternative means of transportation adding that their job as professional engineers is to advise government on people oriented policies.

Nigerian Govt. To Boost Land Registries With Establishment Of National Land Depository

The Federal Government has said that plans were on ground to establish National Land Depository, a huge ICT-backed infrastructure, to enable land investment and integration of various registries in Nigeria.

The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 25th Annual Conference of Directors of Lands in Federal and State Ministries, Department and Agencies.

Fashola, represented by Minister of State II, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, noted that the land depository would enable prospective investors to make quick decisions regarding property investment prospect in the country.

The minister also said that the ministry was working assiduously to strengthen the Federal Land Registry for online transactions in line with global best practice.

“The results of some of these reforms of the Federal Government in this and other respects are responsible for the improvement of the country’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking,’’ he said.

He recalled that with effect from January 1, 2017, Exchange of Letters (EOL) had become the sole instrument of transfer of interests in land between the Federal and State Governments that have not.

“I will implore you to key in and forward the EOL document to the ministry for execution and return for other processes.’’

Fashola also noted that the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPAS) had commenced in Nigeria.

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‘’IPAS is a new accounting reporting standard, approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2010 with January. 1, 2016, the commencement date is targeted at full and transparent disclosure of government financial records.

“As the repository and managers of these public assets, you have major professional role to play in their inventorisation and valuation.’’

The minister assured that the ministry had processed over 1,500 secondary transactions on Federal Government lands nationwide, adding that they had been impacting on the economy.

According to the minister, the ministry is also working hard to title over 2,000 lands, thus empowering the holders to raise investible funds to establish new and grow existing businesses.

He noted that property registration was one of the 13 criteria set by the World Bank for determining the competitiveness to investors.

Fashola stressed the need for concerted effort, to ensure modernised land registry and improve on the country’s EODB ranking which measured its competitiveness to investors.

In a keynote address, Rev. Olurotimi Onabanjo, the Chairman of the conference, said the National Land Policy was formatted in 2014 to provide framework for organised and sustainable deployment of land.

He emphasised that the document had attained advanced stage, adding that it would soon be reviewed, tested and validated by stakeholders, including the director’s forum.

Speaking on Land Use Act, he noted that effort to overcome inherent operational complexities and lapses in the act had proved difficult to amend, due to the cumbersome requirement of 1999 Constitution.

He noted that a compendium of regulations that would facilitate and improve land administration was developed by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR) in 2012 with the support of stakeholders.

“The regulations were recently approved by the National Economic Council and would soon be presented to FEC for approval by the National Council of States,’’ he said.

He said the conference, aimed at improving land administration in Nigeria, was held last in Ilorin in 2008 due to no budget line.

Onabanjo said that the break was also due to funding constraints which inhibited the Federal and state governments which had earlier committed to the conference.

“The 10-year break has inflicted tremendous setback on the conference and numerous capacity and skills building benefits accruable.’’

The Two-day conference with the theme “Effective Land Governance for National Economic Growth and Development ’’ is a peer review platform to develop requisite skills for effective management of public lands.

Low-cost housing needs dignity, says Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

Fresh from scooping architecture’s most august award, the champion of housing for the poor is urging greater compassion
The winner of architecture’s “Nobel prize”, Balkrishna Doshi, has called on his profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities.

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The internationally noted champion of housing for India’s poor, Doshi was awarded the Pritzker prize last week, in large part for the Aranya low-cost housing project. It accommodates 80,000 people with houses and courtyards linked by a maze of pathways in the city of Indore.

A celebrity in India where he speaks to packed lectures, 90-year-old Doshi, who studied under Le Corbusier, has worked on other projects – including mixed-income housing for a life insurance corporation in Ahmedabad and the underground Amdavad ni Gufa art gallery – but it is Aranya for which he is best known.

Speaking to the Housing news after the announcement of his award, Doshi said that architects and urban planners involved in low-income housing projects – as well as architectural education – needed to move away from their focus on the designer as individual to being far more collaborative, compassionate and invested in the dignity of those they house.

And in the chequered history of slum clearance and relocation – including in the US after Roosevelt’s New Deal , and in countries like France and the UK in the post-war era – Doshi’s Aranya stands out as a success story in a country with substantial and persisting housing issues for its poorest citizens.
“They are not houses but homes where a happy community lives. That is what finally matters,” Doshi has said in the past of the organising credo for this project.

Doshi believes that a large part of Aranya’s success has been because instead of presenting those who would live there – often in a purpose-built house for the first time – with a ready-made design, the development allows residents the space and opportunity to adapt and improve their homes.

Built around a central spine to accommodate businesses, Doshi’s brick houses – in sizes from a single room to larger homes for wealthier families – were designed around parks and courtyards, with groups of ten houses forming inward-looking clusters.

Beyond aesthetics, Doshi argued that architecture and urban design – done right – can and should be socially transformative for the world’s poorest.

“If you empower people then what happens is that it creates incentives for people that are self-generated. The promise of a home is not a limited hope, but the sky becomes the limit.”

If at times Doshi speaks more like a humanist philosopher than a designer, it is an outlook that was explicitly recognised by the prize committee that “projects must go beyond the functional to connect with the human spirit through poetic and philosophical underpinnings”.

“Housing as shelter is but one aspect of these projects,” the Pritzker jury added in its citation.

“The entire planning of the community, the scale, the creation of public, semi-public and private spaces are a testament to his understanding of how cities work and the importance of the urban design.”

Echoing that theme, Doshi added: “As architects we are supposed to be social, economic and cultural designers. But really we are exclusive when we need to be inclusive.”

“If I as an architect am not able to do something for my people and provide them with what they need, then I should say my job is incomplete.”

For Doshi that has not only meant designing places like Aranya to replace slum housing but to have the curiosity and humility to learn from slums, not least how and why a successful sense of community coalesces, even in situations of extreme hardship.
“I used take students to slum areas. When you talk to the people living there they are lot more open and willing to share and modify because the human being is basically a compassionate animal.

“In Bombay,” he added, “we have a large slum near the airport. When we were studying you could see that besides the situation of living there in absolute misery, people were also willing to challenge themselves to find a better way of life, and seeking to overcome the problems.”

The balance, for Doshi, is a subtle combination of factors including access to the “essentials” of life – shops, cafes and places to do business – with the housing maintaining crucial “privacies” while leaving room for cooperative communities to develop through their own negotiations.

“That means borders that are diffuse. What you need to find is how to create not separations but buffer zones, places where there is room for variation.” Doshi said he found such models in Indian temples and old cities.

“You want slight shifts – to create gaps – because architecture is not mechanical.”

Instead Doshi sees communities and the physical places that they live as “organic” and “messy” and inevitably adapting what the architect has designed.

Commenting on the importance of the award for India, Alok Ranjan, Jaipur-based professor and member of the Indian Institute of Architects, told AFP last week: “This is very good news for Indian architects because he is our godfather. We are very proud.

“What stands out about his work is that it is for all strata of society … not only for the elite but also for the middle- and low-income groups.”

Work with EFCC, ICPC, CCB to curtail corruption in built industry, FG tells QSRBN

By Chris Ochayi

Disturbed by high cost of projects occasioned by corrupt activities in the built environment, the Federal Government has asked the Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, to work closely with the country’s anti-graft agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, and Code of Conduct Bureau CCB, in order to curb the menace of corruption in the construction industry.

Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, who gave the charge during the 2018 annual assembly of registered quantity surveyors and induction of newly registered quantity surveyors and practising firms, expressed concerns over rising incidents of corrupt practices in the sector. Fashola said: “I therefore urge your Board to work closely with anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, among others to tame the menace of corruption in the construction industry.”

He said that the Federal Government is waging a fierce war against corruption in all aspects of our national life and will always encourage partnership with bodies such as the QSRBN, adding that to win this battle, “I encourage you to continue to put the fight against corruption in the front burner of your activities until desired milestone of success is met.” According to the minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mohammad Bukar, “Ethics is a major challenge to professionalism in Nigeria. Therefore, in regulating your profession, the Quantity Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, should strive to maintain the highest standard of professional ethics among quantity surveyors.

“The Board must not hesitate to blacklist any quantity surveyor found wanting in this regard. Another area deserving urgent attention of your Board is the menace posed by activities of quacks. Quacks inflict much damage on the economy. They are not qualified and are unregistered.

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They do not subscribe to any professional ethics and codes of conduct, hence their unscrupulous activities. “Construction project costing and estimation is of course in the domain of quantity surveyors. It is therefore, illegal for any person not so trained and registered by the Board to offer such professional services to government either for remuneration or otherwise. Quantity surveyors have a major role in helping government to achieve value-for-money in the procurement of capital goods, works and services”, Fashola said. In his address, the President, QSRBN, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu, noted that the Board is better placed to drive the current administration’s corruption fight to ensure the creation of value-for-money in public procurements, adding that “If as a country, we want to be taken seriously in our procurement of public goods and services. We must involve quantity surveyors in all costing at all levels from inception to commissioning of projects”.

Workers seek withdrawal of funds from NHF

For not meeting their housing needs, Federal Government employees are mounting pressure to break the monopoly of National Housing Fund (NHF) on workers’ contributions. To show their seriousness, they are currently seeking withdrawal of their contributions from the NHF to Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) for easy access to their money.

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Their demand is contained in the proposed Amendment to the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB) Act currently before the House of Representatives. The proposed amendment is hinged on the need for federal public servants to derive guaranteed benefits from their contributions to NHF. Under the proposed amendment, Section 8 of the new Act is proposing that 50 per cent of Federal Public Service contributions to the NHF be channeled to the FGSHLB to guarantee contributors’ access to the fund.

Justifying this in his lead presentation to House of Representative Committee on Public Service Matters in Abuja, Director, Legal Services, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Emmanuel Omonowa, stated that many workers, who were contributors to the NHF, who should be helped to put money together to own their own houses, were denied access during and after retirement. According to him, what has been on ground is that money would be deducted from work ers’ salary at source and given to primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) to build houses that civil servants cannot buy due to high cost, adding that this has been responsible for rising nation’s housing deficit. In view of the fact that contribution to the NHF is being done by federal public employees, the director of legal services proposed that “50 per cent should be ordered in the Act, to be amended, to be paid to the loans board.”

He said: “Number one, for anybody to retire from the public service today, they request that you must bring a certificate from the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board that you do not owe. These are the people contributing to NHF and they must come to the board to obtain a certificate to show that they do not owe. “So why not put their contributions here (FGSHLB), so that when they come for their certificate, if they have not obtained any loan, then you put their contributions together and give to them.”

The NHF Act compels workers to contribute two and half per cent of their salaries to the fund and the law empowers employers to deduct the contributions at source. Although the law covers workers in both the public and private sectors, only federal public servants have been contributing to the fund since the law took off in 1993. The existing law setting up the NHF gives the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) the power to manage the funds being contributed by workers.

The argument, however, is that FMBN operates as a secondary mortgage institution that does not deal with individual contributors. This was identified as a problem in accessing to the NHF by contributors. Representative of Senior Civil Servants Association of Nigeria, Mr. Apebo Joshua, maintained that contributions of public servants to the NHF should be transferred to the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board.

He said: “This is because we do not benefit from our contributions to the National Housing Funds, being managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.” According to him, even if FMBN gave money to private developers to build houses, many houses built by developers won’t be affordable to civil servants with the current N18, 000 minimum wage. He said: “If a developer charges N4million for a house, a civil servant who desires to own such a house would be required to pay 10 per cent of the sum, amounting to N400,000. How much is minimum wage? Minimum wage is N18,000, in 12 months will give you N216,000.

“The sum of N216,000 is not up to the 10 per cent being demanded by the developer. So how can somebody acquire that type of house?” But a representative of FMBN, who did not want his name in print, told the House Committee that the NHF Act, which empowered FMBN to manage the fund, was opened to all contributors to the fund. He added that civil servants and members of the public sectors have been benefitting from it.

The FMBN representative further explained: “We reckon that the Act provided for the monies collected (through NHF), to be channeled through Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs), for on lending to contributors, and we have our problems there. We have been seeking to amend our own Act and then the NHF Act, to meet the realities of the time.” In an effort to ensure that civil servants that cannot afford equity contributions to own a house have access to fund, the FMBN representative said the bank floated Home Renovation Loan to enable them access to funding to renovate existing homes.

Blacklist unethical quantity surveyors, Fashola tells QSRBN

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has asked the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria to blacklist any quantity surveyor who flouts the ethics of the profession.

According to Fashola, many practitioners find it tough to uphold their professional ethics, a development that is impacting negatively on the nation’s economy.

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The minister, who spoke at the recent 2018 Annual Assembly and induction of newly registered quantity surveyors and practicing firms in Abuja, said, “Ethics is a major challenge to professionalism in Nigeria.

“Therefore, in regulating your profession, the QSRBN should strive to maintain the highest standard of professional ethics among quantity surveyors. The board must not hesitate to blacklist any quantity surveyor found wanting in this regard.”

Fashola, who was represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Ibrahim Tumsah, told the surveyors’ board that another area that deserved urgent attention was the menace posed by the activities of quacks, as they were inflicting much damage on the economy.

He said, “They (quacks) are not qualified and are unregistered. They do not subscribe to any professional ethics and codes of conduct, hence their unscrupulous activities. Construction project costing and estimation is, of course, in the domain of quantity surveyors.

“It is, therefore, illegal for any person not so trained and registered by the board to offer such professional services to the government, either for remuneration or otherwise.”

The President, QSRBN, MurtalaAliyu, said the assembly was an opportunity for professional surveyors to review their journey so far, look into the challenges they face in various sectors of the economy, discuss them and come up with acceptable ways to move forward.

He stated, “As professionals in the built environment, we need to review our relationships with one another and redefine our own perceptions of ourselves and of others within the industry and beyond. We must, therefore, think together, plan together and act together.

“This is the only way we can survive and remain relevant to our societies and to humankind. To achieve this, we need the support of the government. For governments all over the world try to support their internal capabilities by providing the appropriate environment, support and patronage.”

Akwa Ibom Lawmaker Donates Housing Estate To Constituents

In what could be considered a unique deviation from the common political empowerment practices of giving cars and cash gifts, Engr. Otobong Ndem, the lawmaker representing Mkpat Enin state constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, has donated a mini-housing estate to members of his constituency.

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The 620-square metre per plot 20-unit housing estate, right in the heart of Uyo capital city, is indeed one of its kind in the history of political empowerment in the state.

Speaking with newsmen in Uyo at the weekend as part of activities to mark his mega constituency briefing/empowerment slated for April 18 2018, the lawmaker said 20 members of his constituency would on Wednesday receive land allocation papers.


He explained that two beneficiaries of the scheme had already moved into their new homes, while many others have been mobilized to site and were at advanced stages of completion. Others who were yet to be allocated, would, according to Ndem, be handed the land documents during the empowerment programme.

His words “The housing estate which situates in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital (Aka- Etinan – Mbiokporo road, opposite Jehovah Witnesses Assembly Hall), measures 620 square metres per plot of land. The mini-housing scheme is my own way of providing one of the basic necessities of man, which is shelter, within the state capital to some members of my constituency who were yet to have houses of their own in Uyo.”


He explained that under the housing scheme segment of his empowerment scheme, beneficiaries were allocated a plot of land in the estate to build any house of their choice, while he would assist them in the building construction with cement and roofing materials.

On the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries of his empowerment schemes, Ndem said the choice of beneficiaries were usually thrown to ward and community leaders within the 14 wards in Mkpat Enin to ensure that no deserving individual was left out.

Providing a feed forward to his empowerment programme, the House of Assembly Services Committee Chairman explained that in addition to the housing scheme, several of his constituency members would smile home with buses, cars, starter packs, financial aid, among other empowerment packages.

Presenting a scorecard of his representation, Ndem reported to have so far sponsored three bills and no fewer than six life touching motions which were debated on and acted upon.

He listed some of his motions to include; “the Motion on Death Fangs from Consumption of Illicit Drinks popularly known as Kaikai (Ethanol and Methanol); Motion for the Rehabilitation of Cottage Hospitals in Asong, Ikot Abia and Ikot Ekpaw, all in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area; Motion on Community Based Budgeting (Participation of People in Budgeting for Creation of Community Based/People Oriented Budget); and Motion on Checking Roadside Markets and Trading on Highways in the State to Safeguard Lives; among others.

Some of his bills included The Akwa Ibom State Investors/Investments Protection Bill, 2016, The Akwa Ibom, State Economy Strategy Bill, 2016, which have both passed the second reading and the Akwa Ibom State Urban and Regional Planning Bill 2017.

He said he had trained hundreds of constituent members, most of whom he said will be given starter packs during the empowerment programme. He however appealed to those who have not been captured in the first two phases of his empowerment programmes to forward their names to his constancy office, as he is currently planning a third phase of empowerment in the next two months and the fourth phase before the end of his first tenure in office.

He listed some of his interventions in Mkpat Enin to include; the provision of a solar powered boreholes in Ikot Ekpaw, Ukam and Ikot Akata, facilitate the provision of transformers in Ikot Akata, Nya Odiong and Ikot Abasi-ufon, reactivation of electricity in Ikot Abasi Akpan, Ekpuk, Ikot Ekpaw and Nya Diong, and construction of a befitting Unity Hall in Ukam.

Operators cut pension investment in real estate by N30bn

Despite a steady increase recorded in the total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme, the Pension Fund Administrators reduced investment of the funds in real estate by N30.99bn between December 2016 and December 2017.

Statistics obtained from the National Pension Commission revealed that the total amount invested in real estate fell from N234.34bn at the end of 2016 to N203.35bn in 2017, despite recording a rise in pension assets from N6.15tn in 2016 to N7.5tn at the end of 2017.

READ:ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

According to the commission, as of the end of 2017, N5.29tn, which is about 70.4 per cent of the funds, was invested in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s bonds, which include treasury bills, agency bonds, sukuk bonds and green bonds.

Eight per cent of the money, totalling N672.2bn, was also invested in domestic ordinary shares.

The figures showed that N152.2bn amounting about two per cent of the funds was invested in state government securities.

Last year, the commission reviewed the regulations of investment of pension funds. And in the reviewed regulations, PenCom stated that the PFAs must offer a multi-fund structure for the Retirement Savings Account and that there would be a transition period of six months, effective from the commencement date of the multi-fund structure for all the PFAs to restructure their respective portfolios.

It stated, “The multi-fund structure shall comprise Fund I, Fund II, Fund III, and Fund IV (retiree fund). Funds I, II, III, and IV shall however differ, according to their overall exposure to variable income instruments.”

PenCom also said it would raise the pensions of retirees opting for programmed withdrawal and were being paid by the Pension Fund Administrators this month.

The Acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said this when the commission submitted a memorandum to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service at the public hearing on a bill for an Act to amend the Pension Reform Act, 2014, to provide for definite percentage a retiree could withdraw from the RSA and for other related matters.

She, however, stated that some retirees would not be entitled to the increase due to low balances in their RSAs.

Dahir-Umar said, “Indeed, the commission has just concluded an exercise to increase the monthly pension of all retirees on programmed withdrawal due to the income earned on investing their pension assets.

“The outcome of this exercise showed that 30 per cent of the retirees would not benefit from the increase due to insignificant income earned on the small balances in their respective RSAs.”

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