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Legal framework delays new building code implementation

Six months after the Federal Executive Council approved the revised National Building Code (NBC) that specified standards for the construction industry, implementation of the law is being marred by the inability to back the document with a legal framework that would aid its enforcement.

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Formally launched in 2006, the NBC is a document that was evolved just in time to proffer a lasting solution to the persistence hazardous trend in the building industry in some part of the country. This includes incessant collapse of buildings, building infernos and other built environment abuses and disasters.

These disasters come about from lack of plan of our towns and cities, use of non-professionals, insufficient referenced design standards, use of untested products and materials; so called substandard materials, and lack of adequate regulations and sanctions against offenders. The guideline, passed by the National Assembly NASS, was to be reviewed after three years.

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Specifically, under the new code, which was earlier approved by the National Council on Housing, Land and Urban Development has the headship of the building code enforcement division limited to registered architects, builders, structural, mechanical or electrical engineers, unlike in the old code, when it was open to all the registered professionals.

Also, the government, after the new wave of flooding experienced in some parts of the country, provided some specifications and guidelines to ensure safety of residents. Other issues taking into consideration include the endemic and improper housing maintenance as well as unhealthy construction practices which impact negatively on eco-balance and eco-friendliness.

Similarly, some facilities like foam plastic insulation, garage (private), gas cabinet, gas room that were not specified in the old code are well spelt out to be chiefly considered by the inspection team, who are now empowered to determine if any material or its chemical components are hazardous, thereby preventing its usage. Temporary structure, which was pegged at 60 days, is now being extended to 180 days.

The Guardian learnt that the delay has been as a result of the promoters trying to back the document with a legislation, which will make the document enforceable, especially ensuring state governments lead the drive to institutionalise it through adaptation, legislation and enforcement.

The plan is to ensure that the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA will adapt and adopt code, as a regulatory tool in their spheres of influence, and enacted by their respective legislatures, as part of their jurisdictional code.

The Second Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), Mr. Enyi Ben-Eboh said that it is necessary to come up with legal backing to the document to ensure its enforcement. According to him, when there is no law, there would not be punishment for offenders.

He explained that physical planning and development control are vested on state governments; it becomes mandatory for the state authorities to adapt and domesticate the NBC. “If it is not domesticated, it is not enforceable.”

A town planner and former President, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Moses Ogunleye said that “there is the issue by some other stakeholders, including professional bodies that the document should be passed and signed as a law. The process of this has not been concluded.

“This may be part of the delay. But to me, the National Building Code need not be made a law before it can be implemented. A code is like a standard. It is a recommendation for best practice. Normally, it is a technical document on how building material, construction/ methodology and process are applied for the purpose of ensuring quality, safety and health. What each state should do is to prepare their own sub-codes to regulate building construction, “ he said.

The Chairman, National Building Code Advisory Committee, Jimoh Faworaja, an architect, had said that the consequences of an ineffective and non-operational national building code in social and economic terms are so monumental for any sane society to ignore.

His words: “The review has therefore addressed lapses noticed in the first edition with structural re-alignment and in-depth additional inputs to adequately take care of our peculiar national challenges as they relate to the built environment.”

Faworaja called for a collective effort to ensure the implementation of this document as a way of arresting the national embarrassment occasioned by the increasing cases of the built environment failures and the near dominance and takeover of the industry by quacks.

It will be recalled that in 1987, the Defunct National Council of Works and Housing directed that a National Building Code be evolved for Nigeria. All the stakeholders in the Building Industry were duly contacted for input.

Thereafter the defunct Federal Ministry of Works and Housing organised a National workshop at ASCON, Badagry – Lagos State in 1989. To further fine tune the Draft National Building Code, another workshop was held at the Gateway Hotel, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in 1990. The product of the Ijebu-Ode Code was approved by the then National Council on Housing in 1991.

Unfortunately this document was not ratified by the then Federal Executive Council for use in the Country. The 1991 approved document was re-presented to the second National Council on Housing and Urban Development held in Port-Harcourt, November, 2005 and the Council directed that the document be widely circulated to all stakeholders for input to facilitate the production of an acceptable National Building Code.

The code was reviewed after professionals pointed out grey areas as it is based essentially on foreign codes – some of which may not have direct relevance to our environment, another salient objective of the exercise is to encourage professionals in the building industry to produce the most appropriate Code suited to our environment for subsequent use and application.

The new document is expected to open a new vista in the building industry and eliminated or reduced to the barest minimum the incidents of collapsed building in Nigeria; promote safety and qualitative housing for every Nigerian.

Besides, the main objectives is that every tier of government, (federal, state and local) must imbibe the spirit and intent of this Code. To this end, State Governments are implored to integrate the provisions of this Code into their local laws particularly those relating to Design, Construction and Maintenance (Post Construction) and efficiently monitor the implementation of the Code.

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam

One person feared dead as explosion destroys storey building in Ife

THERE was pandemonium in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, on Saturday night when an explosion destroyed a storey building, forcing residents near the scene of the incident scampered to safety, Housing News reliably gathered.

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Credible sources informed our correspondent that the incident which caused apprehension occurred around Moore area of the historic town at about 11.05 pm as most residents in the affected neighbourhood had already gone to bed.

Though details surrounding the cause of the explosion were still sketchy as of the time of filing this report, findings indicated that the blast might have been precipitated by an improvised explosive device, where one person was reportedly feared dead.

Eyewitnesses further hinted a pharmaceutical firm, identified as Ebenco Pharmacy was located inside the building destroyed by the explosion.

One of the sources, who pleaded anonymity disclosed that an unidentified man, who was critically injured at the back of the building was subsequently rushed to the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, where he later died early Sunday morning.


The explosion brought down the building and also damaged adjoining structures in the area, while two policemen were spotted at the scene of the incident.

Reacting to the incident during a chat with journalists in Ile-Ife, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi said there was a dispute over the building by the family members of the deceased owner, assuring that elders of Ife at the community level would intervene over the matter.

Poor Remittances by Discos Threaten NBET’s N701bn Power Fund

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

There are strong indications that the N701 billion payment assurance facility secured by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) for power generation companies (Gencos) in Nigeria may not last up to the 24 months disbursement timeline it was originally planned for. This is because of the poor financial remittances of the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country.

The fund, which was established in 2017, was to be disbursed till 2019,

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Housing News gathered at the weekend that following the consistent drop in the monthly remittances of the Discos to the NBET for electricity sold to them, NBET might have been forced to take more from its N701 billion payment facility to ensure it met the 80 per cent payments to the Gencos. This, sources in the industry explained to the paper, constituted a real threat to the 24-month disbursement window of the facility. Similarly, the NBET, it was learnt, had documented this threat and presented the likely scenario – that is, how long the facility could take the sector if the poor remittance levels of the Discos continued – to relevant authorities of the federal government for actions.

In December 2017, NBET disclosed that the remittance performances of the Discos dropped to an all-time low of 8.33 per cent, as against the 100 per cent they were supposed to do. It explained then that five Discos, comprising Ikeja, Kano, Kaduna, Yola, and Jos, did not remit any money to it, and that it got just N4.47 billion out of the N50.21 billion December invoice it sent to the Discos. NBET also stated then that while the total financial shortfall for the month was N49.766 billion, it still paid the Gencos up to 80 per cent of their invoices with support from the N701 billion facility.

Again in January 2018, NBET stated that just four of the Discos – Abuja, Enugu, Jos, and Yola – paid parts of their invoices to it. It said out of N44.85 billion invoice it sent to the Discos in January, only N6.08 billion was received from the four Discos while seven others paid nothing. The remittance for January, it noted, represented 13.58 per cent of the invoice.

However, sources in NBET explained to Housing News that if the poor Discos’ remittances continued, the N701 billion may be depleted by September 2018, some four months ahead of the 2019 disbursement duration. One of the sources even told the paper that a term-sheet had been prepared by NBET in this regard, and shared with the government. He said it was expected that this would lead to some pre-emptive measures from the government.

NBET was supposed to have started disbursing the N701 billion facility from January 2017. Drawdowns according to the term-sheet of the facility would be made on a monthly basis over a period of 24 months.
The facility, from its scope, would be used to assure payments for the energy delivered by the Gencos, gas companies for gas supplied and transported to them, as well as certain specific and critical creditor obligations of the Gencos.

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In a related development, Housing News gathered that the management crisis rocking NBET had simply refused to go away, with a religious slant now introduced into the internal battle for supremacy between the Managing Director of NBET, Dr. Marilyn Amobi, and two of her subordinates – Mr. Waziri Bintube and Mr. Abdullahi Sambo – both of whom have reportedly been dismissed or suspended from the services of the company.

According to petition letters written to NBET by two Muslim groups – the Muslim Media Watch Group and Abuja Muslim Forum –which was obtained by Housing News, Amobi was accused of injustice and religious victimisation of Bintube and Sambo in the company. The groups accused NBET under Amobi of religious intolerance and unconstitutionally depriving both officials of their salaries and emoluments, which they said had been in arrears.

In their petitions, they claimed Amobi had continued to exhibit acts of executive lawlessness, despite interventions from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in the management struggle between her and the duo.
The petitions were signed by Nasir Balogun, who is the national secretary of the Muslim Media Watch Group, and president of the Abuja Muslim Forum, L. J. Ahmad.

Housing News gathered that Amobi might have called the attention of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, to the development, being that they are both president and vice president of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), respectively.

Officials of NBET, who are close to the development, however, told Housing News, on condition of anonymity, that the issues relating to Bintube and Sambo bordered on basic organisational discipline and respect for rules governing the actions of government officials. They explained that both officials left their duty posts when the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation seconded two of its officials to NBET to help it attain a self-accounting status. That exercise, they noted, required some management reshuffling and Bintube and Sambo were, thus, moved to head new departments. This, the NBET officials alleged, did not go down well with the two officers and they subsequently left their duty posts for up to six months in disregard of both the government and NBET’s rules of engagement.

Accordingly, both officers rejected their appointments and, reportedly, petitioned a non-existent board of NBET, with the insistence that Amobi had no right to redeploy them to new departments.

When Housing News called the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of power, Mr. Louis Edozien, for comments on the development in one of the agencies under his ministry, and especially on the fact that NBET does not have a board yet to sit over the issue, as expected, he simply referred the matter to the media unit of the ministry, saying the unit should be able to handle the request.

Further, the paper placed a call to Mr. Hakeem Bello, who is Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to clarify the situation, considering that the Muslim groups alleged that Fashola had directed Amobi to take back the two officials. But Bello stated that he was not aware of such petition or the minister’s directive. He, however, promised to investigate the matter and revert back to resolve the queries. Bello had yet to respond at the time of filing this report.

CBN Governor deploys new deputy governors

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele has assigned duties to the newly appointed Deputy Governors who assumed duty on March 28.

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The acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, in a statement on Sunday said Aishah Ahmad was deployed to the Financial System Stability, FSS, Directorate, while Edward Adamu was assigned to Corporate Services.


Mr Emefiele also approved the deployment of Okwu Nnanna from the Financial System Stability, FSS Directorate to the Economic Policy Directorate.


“Mr Adebayo Adelabu, however, retains his portfolio as Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate,” Mr Okoroafor said.
According to Mr Okoroafor, the affected principal officers have since assumed duty in their new duties.

Diversification through mortgage for economic growth

There appears to be a slow down on the discourse on diversification through which the federal government seeks to refocus the economy towards non-oil sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing which are noted by the government as major growth areas with low hanging fruits.

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This is to be expected as oil price has climbed several steps up in the last twelve months. The country only thinks of alternatives when there is a drastic fall in oil prices which it has chosen to stay with as the mainstay of the economy. But that is simply a sure way of postponing the evil day.

So good that agriculture and manufacturing top considerations for diversification, but it worries that the originators and promoters of diversification are yet to recognize that economic growth can happen when mortgage and/or real estate, which is the fulcrum around which the mortgage system revolves, is factored in their calculation.

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In other economies, the mortgage industry makes significant contribution to economic development. In Nigeria, this is not the case because no consideration is given to its potential. This lack of consideration explains why mortgage finance as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), till date, remains as low at 0.5 percent, leaving it several steps behind other emerging markets such as Mexico, Malaysia and South Africa where mortgage contributions to GDP are as high as 10 percent, 25 percent and 29 percent respectively.

There is no-gain-saying that mortgage has all the potential to contribute to the growth of the economy, but for it to do that, all the obstacles to its own growth have to be tackled. The relative ‘newness’ of the industry, lack of understanding of its dynamics and operational models by many Nigerians, and poor appreciation of the need and the ultimate benefit of keeping money in a mortgage bank are some of the militating factors.

Experts are of the view that a flourishing mortgage banking industry is an effective tool in the hands of the government as the industry will help in regulating the economy in the desired direction.

But the federal government, in all the things that are being said about diversification of the economy to steer it away from the current challenges, doesn’t seem to pay attention to the mortgage sector. If government really wants to stimulate the economy, a reduction in the interest rate will be a master stroke as, all things being equal, more people will embrace mortgage loan to buy houses, leading to increased activities in the construction sector.

Because of the identified obstacles, many primary mortgage banks (PMBs) are going through very difficult times, such that some are still unable to meet up with the capital requirements in the industry.

“If government pays a closer attention to the PMBs by removing some of the obstacles that they have such as the drawbacks of the Land Use Act of 1978 which essentially vests land ownership in the hands of the state governors; the right to easily foreclose on delinquent borrowers, ease of creating a legal mortgage and perfecting titles and the ease of falling back on their collateral to recover bad loan etc, this sector will surely improve significantly”, a mortgage operator observed recently.

The operator who did not want to be named, insisted that until all these issues are resolved in a way that encourages the provider of capital, in this case the mortgage bank, the sector will not grow as desired and he hopes that when these obstacles are removed, the supplier of mortgage will allocate more funds towards the provision of home loans while home buyers will better appreciate the implication of prompt interest and capital repayments as well as ensure discipline on the part of the people.

Okika Ekwem, a US-based realtor, affirms that the poor capital base of the PMBs is inadequate. He however, dismissed the idea of a fixed capital base for mortgage institutions. To say that a mortgage institution should have a fixed base of, say N10 billion, is wrong because that amount is too meagre; even N100 billion is also meagre given the kind of projects they are to finance.

“The Federal Government needs to come in, look at what is happening in other civilised world and copy. These days, copying is no longer an act of deception but actually something that is done even in the civilised world”, he said.

In the civilised world, according to him, there is secondary market for real estate financing where commercial banks or individual brokerage banks lend money to people and thereafter sell the securitised certificate to the secondary market and come back again to lend to individuals.

Given the size of Nigeria as a mortgage market, the growth of this industry is possible if the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) plays the role of a regulator while the federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), empowers the PMBs more.

Arguably, the Nigerian mortgage industry needs more well established and well funded PMBs. Meckson Innocent Okoro, an estate manager, explains that this is to discourage the concentration of these institutions only in urban centres. “When the number of PMBs is increased to say five in each state, access to housing finance will also be increased.

“The PMBs must be positioned to champion the whole issue of affordable or social housing for the low income earners in the country. Anything the country wants to do without a functional mortgage system that can guarantee homeownership for a good number of people will not succeed”, he reasoned.

Continuing, he said: “We are talking about housing which is capital intensive and so must have capable institutions to finance it; increased homeownership will, one way or another, contribute to the country’s GDP which translates to economic growth”.

Chuka Uroko

Government’s social investments programmes is touching lives, says Presidency

The Presidency, yesterday, dismissed a report quoting Senator Danjuma Goje as suggesting that a sum of N1.5trillion has so far been released for the administration’s National Social Investment Programme (SIP).
Goje was reported as saying that by the end of three years, the programme would have handled an unprecedented sum of $1.5trillion, adding: “I am yet to see one boy who came to tell me that he has benefited from your N500 billion.”

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But the Presidency, in a statement by the media aide to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said: “First, we would like to hope that the senator was misquoted. However, were it to be true that he made such wild claims, it would be unfortunate.

“To restate the facts, while indeed we have budgeted a total of N500B for the 2016 and 2017 budgets each, including the N100billion for the Family Housing Fund in the 2017 budget, only a total of N175billion has so far been released since the commencement of the programme.

“It is incredible that the senator will insinuate otherwise. If actually he was accurately reported, we would say he ought to have requested for the information, instead of misleading an entire nation with such an incredible claim.

“While the senator was claiming he knew no one from his state who has benefited from the SIP at a Senate Committee hearing on Thursday, his colleague from Kogi State, Atai Aidoko, requested from the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, for a random name of a beneficiary from his state, called the number there and then and got positive confirmation from the beneficiary.

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“That senator then formally announced the outcome of his random call to the entire senate hearing.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, there are today in this country, 200,000 previously unemployed Nigerian graduates who are receiving their N30, 000 monthly stipends as they serve their communities in different capacities, including as teaching assistants, agric extension aides or community health workers.”

New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) records 17% income decline

The New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) on Friday said it recorded a 17 per cent decline in income in the 2017 financial year which ended March 31, 2018.

The Chairman of NNDC, Bashir Dalhatu, stated this while addressing directors and Secretaries to the Governments of the 19 Northern states at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday in Kaduna.

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Mr Dalhatu, a former Minister of Power and Steel, said the NNDC recorded N747.11 million in 2017 as against the N898.56 million in the previous year representing, 17 per cent decline in income.

“The challenging business environment under which the company operated during the period impacted on the performance.

“The company recorded an operating income of 747.11 million against 898.56 million in the previous year representing 17 per cent decrease.

“The decrease was attributed to lower dividend income on investments. Also, operating profit before tax of 138.25 million was achieved against 167.79 million in the previous year representing 18 per cent decrease.

“Similarly, the company’s net asset for the year was 9.19 billion against 9.41 billion in the corresponding year representing 2.2 per cent decrease,” the chairman said.

He said the decrease was due to lower dividend income on investments, “as the economy faced challenges ranging from acute scarcity of foreign exchange, high inflation, dwindling revenues to government and decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) among others”.

The NNDC chairman said this occurred due to the economic recession, the country experienced in 2016 that led to rise in general cost of goods and services impacted on purchasing power across all the sectors.

“Thus, the overall impact on operations was a drop in revenue and increase in expenses.

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“Despite the above challenges, the company strives to attain a modest performance during the period and has remained resolute and focused in achieving its set targets,” he said.

He said NNDC had continued to support the development of quality manpower for the North and the country in general.

“This, it is doing through earmarking resources towards promoting the NNDC Young Professional Development Trust (NNDC/YPDT), the NNDC/ICAN Students Special Project (SSP) and the Musa Bello Learning Resource Centre (MBLRC) in the fields of accounting, Stock Banking, Insurance and Information Technology.

“Since the inception of the schemes, some 10 years ago, a total of 820 professionals had been produced,” he noted.

According to him, the development of a medium density housing estate, which the company started in the second half of 2015, is almost completed.

Mr Dalhatu said that the company had so far constructed 78 units of houses in different parts of Kaduna city for sale or rent by the public.

“The economy has now moved out of recession, we are optimistic about the next financial year as it is anticipated that the various policies of the government would start having positive impact on the business environment.

“Furthermore, we shall continue to pursue vigorously the various initiatives that the company has put in motion, while taking advantage of new business opportunities with a view to improving the company’s earnings.”
The Chairman commended the board members, the management and staff of the company for their unflinching support in spite of the economic challenges.

Mark Your Calendar for the 12th Abuja International Housing Show – West Africa’s Largest Housing Expo….July 16 – 19, 2018

Each year, the Abujahousingshow features more than 20 informative and timely sessions including an inspiring opening session.

The 12th Abuja International Housing Show will also feature:
More than 20 outstanding breakout sessions.
Continuing education credit for Estate Surveyors & Valuers.
Two networking receptions.
The Nigerian Housing Awards Gala / Dinner.
The CEO Forum…..and more!

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TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED INCLUDE:
The industry outlook for 2018 and beyond.
Will foreign and institutional capital continue to enter the market?
Sales strategies to get you to 99% occupancy.
How find land/sites and get them zoned and entitled.
Trends in Rent-To-Own housing development and operations.
Who are the top lenders in the debt market for new development and investment?
Architecture & design trends.
How to overcome construction challenges.
Getting technology right.

– Plan now to join Real Estate Professionals from around the world at West Africa’s premier affordable housing conference for the latest news, innovations and best practices. Nearly 15,000 housing and industry related professionals attended last year’s event—this year’s conference will be packed with experts and education to help your business meet challenges and deliver for your clients.

– The conference features many sponsorship and exhibition opportunities. For more information about these opportunities and to become one of our valued partners contact abujahousingshow@gmail.com

If you missed last year’s conference or just want to relive the highlights, check out photos from the event and watch the moving videos celebrating this last year’s Award winners at http://abujainternationalhousingshow.com/index

Bill to Criminalise Estimated Billing System by Discos Introduced in House

James Emejo in Abuja

A bill to prohibit the issuance of estimated electricity bill to power consumers across the country has been initiated in the House of Representatives.

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Sponsored by the Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), the proposed legislation has consequential orders criminalising such billings method which many Nigerians considered as extortion – giving the electricity distribution companies (Discos) discretion to unilaterally determine the estimation of electricity bill to be paid by consumers in the event that such consumer does not have pre-paid meter.

He assured Nigerians that legislators irrespective of party affiliation, would push through the masses-oriented bill until it is signed into law.

Gbajabiamila added that it would permanently address complaints by constituents across the country who have argued that the unfavorable technical manipulation of the reading pattern of existing pre-paid meters led to incommensurate calculation of purchased electricity credit and electricity consumed by customers.

Essentially, the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (amendments bill) which had been read on the floor of the House for the first time, would be further debated by the House upon resumption from the Easter recess.

According a press statement issued by the media aide to the House Leader, Mr. Olanrewaju Smart, the bill became necessary following several complaints from constituents across the country who felt that policy adjustments by the executive cannot arrest the highhandedness of the electricity companies but instead called on lawmakers to use full weight of the law to address the problem.

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As a result, the Principal Act is amended by creating new sections 68 to 72 as follows to allow that estimated billing methodology is hereby prohibited in Nigeria.

It stated that every electricity consumer in Nigeria shall apply to the Electricity Distribution Company carrying out business within his jurisdiction for a pre-paid meter and such consumer shall pay the regulated fee for pre-paid meter to be installed in his premises and the Electricity Distribution Company shall within 30 days of receiving the application and payment install the pre-paid meter applied for in the premises of the consumer.

Further subsection of the new Section 68 empowers electricity consumers to ignore paying estimated bill and also exempts from electricity disconnection in the event that no pre-paid meter was issued to them by their power distribution company within 30 days.

The bill stated: “If a customer is not metered within 30 days after application has been duly made, the relevant electricity distribution company is prohibited from refusing to connect the customer or disconnect the customer in the event that the customer has been connected or estimate his bills.”

Also, the newly introduced Section 69 of the 2018 Electric Power Sector Reform Act (amendments bill) is poised to address the alleged technical manipulation of the reading pattern of the existing pre-paid meters and unknown tariff methodology.

It noted: “Upon connection, the Electricity Distribution Company serving the Consumer must inform the customer in writing on the nature of the meter installed, tariff methodology and all other services available to the customer.”

 

The bill further recommends imprisonment of six months for officials of relevant electricity distribution company found guilty of illegal disconnection, refusal of the disco to connect a customer after application, un-metering within 30 days of a customer applying for a pre-paid meter and issuance will of estimated billing.

FMBN: Marching Towards Affordable Housing Through Collaboration And Accountability

Under the watch of its new managing director, Arc Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is on a steady match towards bridging the huge housing deficit in the country.

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The World Bank estimated that Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million units. But at a time optimism is in short supply in virtually all sectors, the FMBN is giving contributors to the National Housing Fund reasons for hope. The new management is pulling off some remarkable feat particularly with its promotion of the following innovative reforms: Business Process Automation: The FMBN has embraced technologies aimed at achieving end-to-end business process automation within the institution. Its adoption of core banking application, wide area networking and mobile and internet solutions, will allow the Bank to seamlessly link with primary mortgage banks and interface with customers. Corporate Governance Framework: The Bank has engaged the Centre for Corporate Governance, which is affiliated to the Institute of Directors (IoD) to carry out Corporate Governance Audit and develop a Corporate Governance Framework and Governance structure in line with international best practices. Enterprise Risk Management Framework: The FMBN is presently implementing an Enterprise Risk Management Framework project undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Limited and which is due for completion by Q2 2018. Improvement In Loan Portfolio Performance: The institution has embarked on aggressive loan recovery that has, in turn, improved its loan portfolio performance.

By engaging debt collectors and working with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and PMBs, the Bank is automating loan repayment debits from customers’ bank accounts, which will reduce the rate of loan defaults. Advocacy For Legal/Regulatory Framework Reviews*: As part of its on-going reforms, the bank has worked with government and private institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) and the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) on advocacy with State Governments to enact mortgage friendly (foreclosure) laws and improve land registry practices.

The Rendition Of Outstanding Financial Statements: To ensure accountability and regulatory compliance in FMBN, the new executive management team of the Bank has taken crucial steps to ensure the rendering of all outstanding financial statements by end of 2018. The new management of the FMBN has continued to ensure transparency in the NHF with SMS and email alerts now being introduced. Mr Dangiwa, in a newspaper interview, said: “Our vision is to reposition the bank as a foremost apex mortgage bank in the country and provide affordable housing financing for contributors to be achieved through improved and transparent operations. All of these are achievable with the cooperation and collaboration of stakeholders. This is our primary aim and focus”. NHF Refund: Documents obtained from the FMBN show that between April 2017 and January 2018, the new Executive Management Team of the Bank has refunded N5, 568, 252, 279.88 to 38, 255 contributors of the National Housing Scheme.

This indicates a 31.4 per cent increase in NHF refunds from a cumulative repayment of N17, 734, 599, 814.76 to a total of 190, 943 contributors since inception of the window in 2015. Also, the usually long period taken to process NHF Refunds has been shortened by the FMBN new management. NHF Mortgage Loans (NHFL): Figures obtained from the FMBN show that the Bank has equally disbursed N7.97 billion as NHF mortgage loans to 1, 019 beneficiaries between April 2017 and January 2018. FMBN Home Renovation Loan: Disbursements totalling N5.06 billion were made as home renovation loan to a total of 6, 718 beneficiaries under the aforesaid period. Our source further gathered that the FMBN, as of January 2018, has cleared backlogs of outstanding accounts up to 2014. The audited accounts are said to be pending approval of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing. The 2015 audit exercise has equally been concluded and FMBN is awaiting the draft copy.

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

The 2016 and 2017 outstanding accounts will be concluded before the end of 2018. The FMBN, incorporated as the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in 1956, is the sole government institution saddled with the task of providing mortgage finance to Nigerians through the National Housing Fund (NHF). Previously known as the Nigerian Building Society, the FMBN is tasked with the provision of long-term facilities to mortgage institutions, mobilisation of both domestic and offshore funds into the housing sector, collection and administration of the National Housing Fund in the country in accordance with the provisions of the NHF Act. The FMBN has carefully designed the NHF to mobilise funds to provide the citizens with affordable residential houses through accredited Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) at six per cent which is the lowest rate in the country. Tasks Ahead Of The FMBN Even though the FMBN has faced a couple of operational challenges over the years, the institution has continued to ensure increased accountability in the management of the National Housing Fund. The FMBN has taken thoughtful steps to re-integrate defaulting states like Niger, Bauchi, Kebbi, Lagos, Kano, Ondo, Edo and Oyo into the NHF scheme in order to improve its performance indices. “We are currently reaching out to these states to see if we can bring them back on board to the NHF scheme…Mostly, we always tell them the advantages of joining the scheme because of the numerous products they can access and enjoy. – Olu wrote in from Abuja

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