Breaking: Buhari Set to Disband Cabinet on May 22nd

A valedictory session of the federal cabinet will hold on 22nd May, this year, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed said.

The session will hold a week before President Muhammadu Buhari will be sworn in for his second term.

Following President Buhari’s request last week for a comprehensive “status reports on policies, programs and projects” from cabinet members on their respective ministries, departments and agencies, there have been speculation of cabinet dissolution.

The deadline for the submission of the report to the Presidential Audit Committee in the office of the Vice President was Thursday.

A circular issued by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, also requested members of the Federal Executive Council to “ensure that all outstanding memoranda they intend to present to the Federal Executive Council are submitted to the Cabinet Affairs Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, not later than Tuesday, 30th April, 2019.”

The circular also informed members that the “9th and 10th meetings of the Council have been rescheduled to today and Thursday, 2nd May, 2019 respectively” in view of the Easter break and May Day celebrations.

Lai who spoke to State House reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President,  Yemi Osinbajo, said the cabinet is still intact until May 22nd.

Lai said: ” The cabinet is still intact. We are going to have the valedictory service on 22nd of May. So you will still see more of my face.”

By Ismail Mudashir

Stakeholders Kick as CBN Raises Mortgage Banks’ Capital

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s housing sector have expressed worry over the fate of the nation’s Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) following the N13 billion new capital requirements set for them by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Their anxiety stems from the fact that most of the primary mortgage institutions are still struggling to cope with the previous N2.5billion capital base, which had been in existence since 2013.

It was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would be raising the capital requirements of the PMBs by 73.3 per cent to a total of N13 billion from N7.5 billion in 2013.

A breakdown of the financial requirements of the sub-sector shows that operators of national category of the PMBs are required to shore up their capital base to N8 billion, which is an increase of 60 per cent compared to N5 billion it stood in 2013.

For regional licence (formerly state), operators are expected to increase their financial base by 100 per cent to N5 billion from N2.5 billion six years ago.

The stakeholders that flayed the new capital requirement include Managing Director of OPIC, Mr. Jide Odusolu, President of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Mr. Ugochukwu Chime and Lead Promoter of Abuja Housing Show, Festus Adebayo, who doubles as Managing Director, Fesadeb Communications.

President of Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Mr Niyi Akinlusi and the immediate past President, Mr. Femi Johnson, neither responded to phone calls nor text messages sent to them by our correspondent.
For instance, Affordable Housing Advocates, on their Social Media WhatsApp platform, have not stopped commenting on this issue.
Managing Director of OPIC, Mr. Jide Odusolu, stated that most PMBs had failed to raise the base to N2.5 billion, wondering what would happen now that CBN unilaterally wanted them to double it.
“We will probably end up with maximum of two or three PMIs,” he said.

Chime said that placing a very huge burden on an already risky and unprofitable sector such as the mortgage sector would be counterproductive.

“The day will come when you will look for PMBs to do your transactions and you may find none,” he warned.
He pointed out that policy makers have refused to work on the structural underpinnings of the housing industry, but chose the populist and cosmetic initiatives that compound the industries problems.”

According to him, major challenge was that the mortgage sector was risky and unprofitable; with undefined entry/exit and high regulation, among others.


“Why would any sane investor, after a comparative analysis of other investment outlets, choose the mortgage sector with all its problems overregulation and very low return on investments?” he asked.

“Until government collaborate fully and sincerely with the investors (private sector who take the risk with their lives, time and resources), to undertake a significant restructuring of the transaction dynamics, costs in the real estate sector, resources will continue to exit the sector, and we will continue to give lip service to a self-inflicted malady.”

Corroborating Chime, Odusolu said he realised that a large part of the problem centred on policy makers, who he said were “clueless when it comes to housing.”

By Dayo Ayeyemi

Kenya: Govt to Support TVETs in Training Artisans for the Construction Sector

Nairobi — The government has pledged support for Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions (TVETs) to ensure the youth have the requisite skill for provision of various construction services.

“We will engage with the TVETs to train plumbers, carpenters, electricians among other artisans in a programme that will provide job opportunities to 350,000 youths,” said Housing and Urban Development, Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga.

This contribution is set to deliver President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ambitious Big Four Agenda which promises to deliver 500,000 houses by 2022.

At the launch of a contractors and developers training, the PS said, “The housing plan envisages a delivery strategy that is inclusive of all stakeholders who include County Governments, private sector, housing cooperatives, land owners, financiers among others.”

The Affordable Housing Programme will enable Kenyans especially those in the one low income bracket an opportunity to secure a decent home.

Currently, Kenya requires more than 250,000 housing units every year to meet the demand. This is against the annual average of 50,000 units delivered by the government and private developers per year.

Shelter Afrique Managing Director Andrew Chinphondah said the rate of urbanization in Africa is fastest in the world with 4% of the population moving from rural -urban areas.

“Housing in Africa is a crisis, we estimate the shortage of affordable houses to be in excess of 51 million units. In Nigeria the deficit is 17 million, Kenya and South Africa 2 million, Tanzania and Uganda 3 million,” Chinphondah noted.

Agric Loans: Buhari Directs CBN, Agric Ministry to Bypass Collateral

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to bypass the knotty issue of collateral which he described as “a terrible colonial legacy,” so that farmers will get easy access to capital.

The President gave the directive during an audience with members of the United Kingdom-based Foundation for Good Governance for Development in Nigeria at the State House, Abuja.

According to the President, a top priority of his administration is to ensure that the efforts of hardworking Nigerian farmers are respected.

President Buhari also identified smuggling as a threat to domestic agricultural production and processing, and promised to continue to fight the menace with all means available to government.

(NAN)

Buhari Inaugurates Reconstructed Ayinke House

Ayinke House, which is Nigeria’s biggest Maternity Hospital, was upgraded from an 80-bed facility to a 170-bed healthcare centre with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as information technology services.

Aside the entourage of the President which included Ministers and Special Advisers, Governors of Ogun (Ibikunle Amosu ), Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi), Ondo (Oluwarotimi Akeredolu), Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi), Jubrila Bindow, Adamawa, Acting Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu; Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Oba  of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, among others were in attendance.

The President, who landed at the Presidential Wing of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja at 10: 45am, arrived at Ayinke House about 15 minutes later, after which he unveiled the project, and also embarked on a comprehensive tour of the facility.

Speaking at the event, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, described the development as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world-class childbirth and maternal care services to Lagosians and Nigerians at large.

Recalling how the journey began, Governor Ambode said the facility was commissioned exactly 29 years ago, with the late businessman and philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony donating the first dedicated maternal and child care facility to the State Government, in memory of his mother; hence the christened name “Ayinke House”.

He said the hospital, which started with just one surgical theatre soon assumed a life of its own as first-class childbirth and maternal care centre in the health sector of Nigeria as well as the first choice for expectant mothers.

READ ALSO: WANT TO OWN YOUR OWN HOME IN YOUR 20S? HERE’S HOW

However, the Governor said the hospital later became over-stretched beyond capacity and somehow obsolete, while in recognition of the need to sustain Bank-Anthony’s philanthropy, the State Government, during the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola who is now the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, awarded the contract for the expansion and reconstruction of the facility.

“Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with 5 surgical theatres. It has a 16-bed emergency care unit with 3 organ support facilities, 30-bed special baby care unit, 5 neonatal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories, and a blood bank.

Source: Punchng

Top Politicians Begin Intense Lobbying to Make Buhari’s New Cabinet

As President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be inaugurated for a second term in office, political calculations have begun with respect to who will make the new cabinet list.

A former Military Administrator, three outgoing governors and 15 ministers are jostling for cabinet seats.

Sources reveal that there is pressure on the President to revert to a 42-man cabinet structure in order to take in more appointees.

The new structure will include the constitutionally recommended 36 ministers from each state of the federation and six others representing each of the nation’s geopolitical zones — if Buhari embraces the idea.

According to sources, the President is yet to give a nod to the 42-man cabinet.

Lobbyists, including governors and ministers, have been mounting pressure on influential citizens to put in a word for them.

Women are said to be demanding more ministerial jobs, including “strategic ministries”.

The pressure is what many said has accounted for the recommendation of a 42-man cabinet.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Some of those seeking to be ministers include a former Military Administrator, three of the outgoing governors and no fewer than 15 of the over 30 ministers who will complete their tenure on May 22.

“As for the three outgoing governors, two may represent their geopolitical zones, depending on the outcome of consultations between the President and leaders from their zones.”

“No fewer than 15 ministers are said to be seeking a second chance because “some of them who faltered in office are claiming that they have learnt their lessons”.

“All these ministerial aspirants have been  mounting pressure on the members of the Kitchen Cabinet of the President in order to be picked.”

Concerning the ex-MILAD, another source said: “Some forces within the first family are lobbying that the ex-Military Administrator should be made the Chief of Staff but the President seems to have confidence in the present holder, Mallam Abba Kyari. When the lobbying was stuck, they made a case for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for the former MILAD. Now, the game has changed to a desire for a ministerial appointment.

“The only thing which can make the Office of the Chief of Staff to be vacant is if Kyari is given a choice ministerial appointment.

“Although the ex-MILAD will add value to the government, the only hurdle facing him is how he allegedly abandoned Buhari in the defunct Congress for Progressives Change ( CPC) in 2011 for the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) without deferring to him. Some Buhari supporters do not want him to appoint the ex-MILAD as a minister.”

There were indications that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) might be zoned to the  North-Central in favour of a Christian candidate.

But some party leaders have been making a strong case for the Southeast to produce the SGF despite the zone’s rejection of Buhari at the poll.

A government source said: “Definitely, the SGF post will shift from the Northeast to another zone because the Northeast has enjoyed the slot in the last four years, with Engr. Babachir Lawal and Boss Mustapha occupying the office.

“The Northcentral looks more favoured with a Christian candidate for the slot.”

Some All Progressives Congress ( APC) leaders prefer that the Southeast should produce the SGF, despite the zone’s hostility to Buhari during the just-concluded general elections, the source added.

Pushing for a return to the 42-man cabinet structure, it was learnt, are some of the President’s “strategists” and some governors.

In 2015, Buhari opted for the constitutionally recommended cabinet weight to save cost.

A source in the Presidency said: “The need for inclusiveness in governance has led to the suggestion that we should have 42 ministers.”

Section 147(1-3) directs the President to appoint at least 36 ministers.

The section reads:  “There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

“Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

“Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of this Constitution:

“Provided that in giving effect to the Provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each state, who shall be an indigene of such state.”

Buhari to Commission New Airport Road tomorrow

The Lagos State Government says preparations are in top gear to host President Muhammadu Buhari on his official visit to the state on Wednesday. This was announced in a statement issued by the state Ministry of Information and Strategy on Tuesday in Lagos.

It said that during the one-day working visit, a number of state projects would be commissioned by the President. “The projects to be commissioned include the rehabilitated 10-lane Oshodi/Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, and the 170-Bed ‘Ayinke House’ (Maternity Hospital) at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja. “Other projects to be commissioned include the Lagos State Theatre at Oregun in Ikeja, new 820 Mass Transit buses and the multi-level Oshodi Transport Interchange on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.

“`The Presidential visit would hold between 9.00 a. m. and 3.00 p.m. on Wednesday, during which traffic on some routes will be diverted in order to ensure a free flow of traffic,’’ it said. According to the statement, the routes to be affected by traffic control include the Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way (coming from the Presidential wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport to LASUTH under bridge); Kodesoh Road; Obafemi Awolowo Way; Kudirat Abiola Way and Ikorodu Road (between the Ojota Intersection and Anthony Interchange).

Other routes are the Oworonshoki-Apapa Expressway (between Anthony and Oshodi Transport Interchange) and the International Airport road through the Local Wing of the airport to Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way and back to the Obafemi Awolowo Way. “Roads highlighted above shall only be cordoned-off when necessary, Obafemi Awolowo Way and portions of Mobolaji Bank-Anthony shall be closed to traffic on three occasions within the specified period, as they are central to the President’s itinerary,’’ it said.

The statement, therefore, advised motorists to avoid the above-listed roads where necessary and make use of alternative routes of their choice. It advised that where motorists find it unavoidable plying the aforementioned roads, patience and cooperation with traffic managers should be their watchwords. It solicited for the support of motorists and commuters for all inconveniences as a result of the diversions, saying that traffic managers, enforcement and security agents will be positioned at all strategic intersections to allow orderly vehicular movements.

(NAN)

Corporates, Households’ Demand for Loans to Spike in Q2 –CBN

Demand for lending from households and corporate organisations is expected to rise during the second quarter of the year, despite the decision of the banks to leave the credit scoring criteria unchanged,  the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.

The apex bank, in its Q1 2019 Credit Conditions Survey Report, stated that “the demand for total unsecured lending from households increased in the first quarter (Q1), and was expected to increase in the next quarter(Q2), despite lenders’ resolve to leave the credit scoring criteria unchanged, the proportion of approved unsecured       loan    applications decreased in the current quarter (Q1) but is expected to increase in the next quarter.”

According to the apex bank, the results of the Credit Conditions Survey Report  are based on lenders’ own responses to the survey, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CBN on credit conditions.

 

It states: “The Q1 2019 credit condition survey for households, small businesses and corporate entities indicated an increase in availability of secured credit to households and corporate entities, and increased availability of unsecured credit to households. Spreads on overall secured lending to household, as well as on secured lending to corporates, remained unchanged in Q1 2019. Lenders reported that demand for total unsecured lending from households increased in the current quarter, and was expected to increase in the next quarter.

 

Demand for corporate lending increased across all firm sizes except for OFCs in the review quarter.

“Lenders reported that the overall spreads on secured lending rates to households relative to MPR remained unchanged in Q1 2019, but was expected to narrow in the next quarter. Spreads for all lending types remained unchanged in Q1 2019, but were anticipated to narrow in the next quarter.

 

“Households demand for lending for house purchase decreased in Q1 2019 but was expected to increase in the next quarter. For the current quarter, households demand for prime lending, buy to let lending and demand for other lending decreased. They were, however, expected to increase in Q2 2019.

 

“Households demand for consumer loans rose in the current quarter and is expected to rise in the next quarter. Demand for mortgage/remortgaging from households fell in Q1 2019 but is expected to rise in Q2 2019.”

Omodele Adigun

Five Dead as Buildings Collapse in Philippine Quake

Five people were killed when at least two buildings collapsed near Manila after a powerful earthquake set skyscrapers swaying and drove terrified locals into the street.

Three bodies have been pulled out of a four-storey building in the town of Porac, while a woman and her grandchild were crushed to death in the town of Lubao, Lilia Pineda, governor of Pampanga province told ABS-CBN television.

“We believe there are still people trapped in the four-storey building,” Pineda said, adding 20 people have so far been rescued and taken to hospital as night fell.

“It’s difficult because there is no power, so we’re still trying to get hold of a generator to be able to rescue the people inside,” she added.

A strong quake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck the region at 5:11 pm (0911 GMT) according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake that rumbled across the northern Philippines caused skyscrapers to sway, as they are designed to do, in Manila.

It also caused serious damage to the capital’s secondary Clark Airport, which is located on the site of the former US military installation that lies about an hour’s drive north of the capital.

Damage was still being assessed, but residents posted photos on social of media showing cracked walls and light fixtures swinging in the moments after the quake.

Office workers piled out onto the streets as emergency alarms blared, AFP reporters saw.

Feliza Villanueva, 21, a business process outsourcing employee told AFP she and four colleagues were at work when the quake struck.

“This was the second strongest quake I’ve felt in my entire life,” she told AFP as she joined hundreds of others in the courtyard of an office building, waiting for the all clear.

“We were worried but we did not panic,” she said.

“We planned how to evacuate the building. There were too many people going down the stairs, so we waited for our turn. People looked in shock, but no one was shouting or anything like that,” she said.

The quake was centred on the town of Castillejos, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) northwest of Manila, local geologists said.

Scientists from the US Geological Survey logged its magnitude at 6.3, and said its epicentre was 40 kilometres (25 miles) below the Earth’s surface.

Dani Justo, a martial arts instructor, told AFP she was at her Manila home when the quake struck.

“The clothes hanging on our line were really swaying. My shih tzu (dog) dropped flat on the ground,” she added.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Guardianng

FIABCI Calls for Review of Recommendations to Abate Building Collapse

The President, FIABCI Nigeria, Mr Adeniji Adele and Secretary General, Mr Ayodeji Odeleye, said in a statement that the association believed that previous standing committees that had been constituted at the federal and state levels, could have some solutions to the building collapse puzzle.

According to the group, building collapse is not a new phenomenon all over the world but the concern is the continuous and unending occurrence in Nigeria, as well as the fact that city administrators seem to be unwilling to take necessary corrective measures.

It said, “As a forward-looking organisation, we, therefore, wish to propose some recommendations that will check this menace. To start with, we believe that fact-finding missions are carried out on every building collapse that has ever occurred. However, the final reports emanating from these missions are either locked up in secluded shelves where they may never see the light of the day or for some political reasons not made available to the general public and research organisations for their consumption and use.

“The need to make such documents public cannot be overemphasized, as the findings could guide future building policies, as well as aid research into building construction, development and management. This will help prevent the recurrence of a building collapse as lessons are drawn from past findings, while panaceas would have been proffered.”

FIABCI said many of the marked buildings for demolition were still standing with occupants still carrying out their daily activities, adding that these buildings were obvious dangers waiting to happen at any time.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

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