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US Long-term Mortgage Rates Drop

US long-term mortgage rates fell this week amid continued uncertainty about the economy’s outlook.

Mortgage rates have been running near historic lows, a potential boon to home buyers.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.57 percent from 3.65 percent last week. A year ago, the average rate stood at 4.90 percent.

The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate home loans declined this week to 3.05 percent from 3.14 percent last week.

Source – Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC

524 Ongoing Road Projects Across Nigeria — Fashola

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said that a total of 524 road projects were ongoing in the different geo-political zones in the country. Babatunde Fashola Fashola said this while addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Works chaired by Rep. Ahmed Birchi in Abuja.

The minister said there were four multilateral-funded road projects, 81 under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund and 45 others being funded under the Sukuk bond.  Motorists lament bad state of Ikotun-Cele road He said that the ministry was focusing on roads that open up the economy and contribute to the ease of doing business.

He added that “Nigeria would be back on its feet” if government could ensure that there was no failure on roads that stretched from ports to border cities. “What remains is to finish; the real challenge for us and our recommendation is to adopt the policy statement of the president and focus on whatever resources we have towards completing as many of those projects as possible.”

He added that a funding gap of ₦255 billion was required to “ideally” fund some of the major roads and stressed that the ₦157 billion 2020 budget allocation was inadequate. Fashola said that ₦2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under the multilateral funded projects, while ₦306 billion was the amount for unpaid certificates for completed road projects.

On private sector investment in road projects, the minister, however, cautioned that the government “must not play politics” with such investment. He also said that the ministry undertook a traffic count on strategic roads nationwide which supported the argument of the toll gate system on Nigerian roads.

“For the first time in 10 years, the Ministry of Works undertook a traffic count nationwide on strategic roads; we completed it in 2017. “What you see (in the document) before you are reporting; so where you see Average Daily Traffic (ADT), the top item on the far right is Enugu-Abakaliki and it shows ADT is 20,746 vehicles.

“The projected traffic in 20 years is what is under it and if you look through all those columns from the left, Lagos-Ibadan, Ogere Northside the ADT there is reported as 25.1 thousand and projected to rise to 45,000 vehicles. “This (document) provides more information for those who make the argument that if you toll the roads you get all the money.”

Fashola added that the busiest road in the country was the Third Mainland Bridge with vehicular traffic of 117,000 plus average daily traffic. NAN reports that the Ministry of Works and Housing got the highest projected allocation of N262 billion from the N10. 33 trillion budget estimates presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.



Fashola: No More Refund To States For Repairing Federal Roads

Fashola, middle, defending the budget of the Ministry of Works at the House of Representatives

Babatunde Raji Fashola, minister of works and housing announced that the Federal Government will no longer make refund to states which repair federal roads.

He advised the states to concentrate on state-funded roads.

Fashola announced the paradigm shift in federal-state relations on Thursday while defending the budget of his works component of his ministry before the Works Committee of the House of Representatives.

“When we came in, we inherited quite a number of such debts from states which repaired Federal roads and asked for refunds. The President directed that we pay all those that were approved by the previous government.

“He also directed that states should concentrate on their own roads and that states can only get involved in Federal roads, if they are repairing them and not coming to ask for refund,” he said.

The minister complained that the N157b capital budgetary allocation to his ministry is too little, as it is not enough to pay contractors for jobs already done.

According to him the Ministry needs N306 billion to pay contractors for jobs already done, while N2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under the multilateral-funded projects.

The minister said the Federal Government has about 524 ongoing road projects across the country, with four multilateral-funded road projects, 81 roads under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) and 45 others being funded under the Sukuk bond.

Fashola said N255 billion was required to fund some of the major roads, adding that the ministry was focusing on roads that help to open up the economy and make the ease of doing business less cumbersome.

The minister listed some of the projects under the PIDF to include the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Express Road, the Mambilla Hydro project and the East-West road.


Buhari Rejects W/Bank, IMF Statistics On Nigeria

  • Seeks home-grown solutions to economic crisis
  • Says int’l organisations’ expenditure claims on IDPs bogus
  • Admits economy not growing well
  • Unveils agenda for economic advisory council

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday rejected statistics by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Nigeria’s economy.

He said such statistics were developed abroad and did not reflect the realities on ground as they also implied that “we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country”.  Buhari spoke at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday while inaugurating the Presidential Economic Advisory Council which was constituted on September 16, 2019 to replace the Economic Management Team chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. TODAY OVER 5,000 NIGERIAN MEN HAVE OVERCOME POOR BEDROOM PERFORMANCE SYNDROME DUE TO THIS BRILLIANT DISCOVERY

“Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies. “Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country,” Buhari said. He set agenda for the Economic Advisory Council: proffering home-grown idea solutions to the economic crisis; coordinating and synthesising ideas and efforts on how to, in collaboration with various employment generating agencies, lift 100 million citizens out of poverty in 10 years as well as developing reliable data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.

According to the president, “We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data.” Buhari also said the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars which the international organisations claimed to have spent on the internally displaced persons in the northeast was “rarely” seen on ground. “Today, we hear international organisations claiming to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the camps, you rarely see the impact. “In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was significantly lower than the claims made by these international organisations.

“Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian issues. “I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future,” he said. He charged the council: “As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.

“We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities. “Our programmes covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertiliser to grains and ultimately, our dishes. “As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability.”

On the Social Investment Programmes, the president said his administration was working to measure the impact of the programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens. He said he had directed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all IDP camps in the northeast.

The president admitted that the nation’s economy was not growing well. “Yes, Nigeria has exited the recession. But our reported growth rate is still not fast enough to create the jobs we need to meet our national ambition of collective prosperity. “Reason being we had to tread carefully in view of the mess we inherited. Many of the ideas we developed in the last four years were targeted at returning Nigeria back to the path of growth. “I am sure you will also appreciate that during that time, our country was also facing serious challenges especially in the areas of insecurity and massive corruption.

“Therefore, I will be the first to admit that our plans were conservative. We had to avoid reckless and not well thought out policies. “However, it was very clear to me after we exited the recession that we needed to re-energise our economic growth plans. This is what I expect from you,” he said. President Buhari also assured the Council that the Federal Government will ensure that all their needs and requests were met before the next technical sessions in November.

He said all key ministries, departments and agencies would be available to meet and discuss with them on how to collectively build a new Nigeria that caters for all. “Now, no one person or a group of persons has a monopoly of knowledge or wisdom or patriotism.

“In the circumstances, you may feel free to co-opt, consult and defer to any knowledgeable person if in your opinion such a move enriches your deliberations and adds to the quality of your decisions, “he said. The chairman of the council, Professor Salami, said the mandate was about “Nigeria first, Nigeria second, and Nigeria always,” adding that it was about Nigerians, not as numbers, but as people.”

SOURCE: daily trust

Halifax To Use $1.8M From Developer For Affordable-Housing Fund

Halifax regional council agreed on Tuesday to accept $1.8 million from the developers of the Willow Tree Tower, in exchange for Armco Capital not including 20 affordable housing units in the building.

The 25-storey building is being constructed at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street in Halifax. The project is being done under a development agreement, rather than the new Centre Plan rules.

Under the agreement, the developer had the option of getting extra height in exchange for units, cash or putting utility lines underground.

Coun. Shawn Cleary said the cash offer is a good deal for the municipality.

“Under the new Centre Plan’s density bonus formula, this development would actually only pay $841,000, so we’re getting a million more,” he said.

The money will be put into an affordable housing fund that will allow the municipality to provide grants to housing co-ops or affordable housing projects.

That is why Coun. Lindell Smith voted in favour of the cash offer.

‘A perfect start for us’
“This is a perfect start for us when we look at that affordable housing fund,” he said. “I believe this is a win for us.”

But Coun. Tim Outhit still has doubts about an affordable housing fund.

“The vision on this should be having units in buildings, not ghettoization,” said Outhit.

Coun. Waye Mason remains optimistic about the fund and pointed out the Armco tower money could be spent on a project just down the street.

“I would love to see this $1.8 million and any other money that may come from other Quinpool Road projects go into a site that we carve out of the St. Pat’s High site,” he said.

Only Outhit and Coun. Richard Zurawski voted against the deal.


UN, Lagos, Others Seek Innovative Solutions To Cities’ Waste Challenges

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other stakeholders have called for more innovative solutions and global investments to improve waste management across world cities.
Leading the call in a message to the event celebrated every first Monday in the Month of October, Guterres noted that the challenges of waste in world cities, stressing that frontier technologies could offer better and cheaper remedies to daily challenges of waste.

He said with cities in the lead and frontier technologies in widespread use, the world could achieve major advances on the road to sustainable urban development.

At this year’s World Habitat Day with the theme: “Frontier Technologies As Innovative Tool To Transform Waste To Wealth,” he said, the role cities and communities play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how well-planned and smartly managed cities can steer us towards inclusive growth and low-emission development.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor Babafemi Hamzat at an event organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos, stressed the place of technology and best practices in ensuring effective and efficient waste management in a megacity like Lagos.

He said effective management of waste has become a global priority, while waste is now viewed as a valuable resource that could be turned to wealth through technology, saying the innovative approach would address all areas of the waste hierarchy, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, and disposal.

Also, the United Nations Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Sharif, urged local and national authorities to commit to the waste Cities Campaign being run by UN-Habitat and its partners to enhance waste management and resource efficiency in cities of the world.

Sharif, whose speech was delivered by National Programmes Officer of UN-Habitat, Paul Okunlola, said the global campaign encourages local and national authorities to commit to carrying out actions based on 12 principles for effective waste management.

In a lecture Guest Speaker and Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, noted the alarming rate at which the earth’s limited resources are being depleted on daily basis, saying, “It has continued to remind us of the urgent global need to run circular economies, which prioritise deliberate recycling of waste materials.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) yesterday asked the Federal Government to channel recovered funds by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the provision of affordable housing in the country.

Chairman, Faculty of Housing, Chika Okafor, stated this during the commemoration of the World Habitat Day 2019 and presentation of communiqué on roadmap to housing development to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos.

Okafor, who lamented Nigeria’s huge housing deficit of over 17 million, said if the government takes the step, it would cushion the effects of housing shortfall, halt Nigerian urban decay and promote effective housing delivery strategies through adequate funds to the sector.

SOURCE: theguardian

How Living In Deprived Neighbourhood Raises Early Death Risk

People that live in a poor neighbourhood face a higher risk of ill health and early death, scientists say.

And the longer the person stays stuck in a deprived area, the more likely they are to suffer the health consequences.

Researchers analysed a host of studies for the first systematic review of the evidence between deprivation and poor health. They found the most common poor health outcome for people in poor regions was a premature death, followed by obesity, excess drinking and suicide.

The findings come just days after Jaywick, a town in Essex, was named as the most deprived neighbourhood in England for the third time.

The study, led by University College London, is the first to collect data on the effects of the neighbourhood over the course of a lifetime.

Poor mental health was found to affect those in deprived neighbourhoods in 10 per cent of studies, according to the findings published in the European Journal of Public Health.

Lead author Dr Stephen Jivraj said: “The link between where you live and your health and well-being has been one of the most widely tested hypotheses in the field of health geography for 20 years.

“Our study reviews data collected over time and shows the negative health effects of living in a deprived area increase as people get older. We suspect this cumulative effect occurs because it gets harder to move to a less deprived neighbourhood, the older you get.”

The review of 53 studies includes data from countries including the US, UK, Finland, Japan, Sweden and New Zealand.

People who live in the most deprived areas in England can expect to have two or more health conditions at 61 years, which is 10 years earlier than people in the least deprived areas, according to research carried out by the Health Foundation in 2018.

They found almost a third (30 per cent) of people with four or more conditions are under 65 and this percentage is higher for people living in socioeconomically deprived areas.

It suggests that living with multiple conditions affects a broad range of people and is not always related to old age.

The analysis found approximately 14.2million people have two or more conditions, costing the NHS a staggering amount of money.

The figure represents nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of all adults living in England. Over half (55 per cent) of hospital admissions and outpatient visits and three quarters (75 per cent) of primary care prescriptions are for people living with two or more conditions.

The number of people living with multiple conditions is expected to continue to grow.

Sarah Deeny, assistant director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation said: “People’s health is a result of a wide range of social determinants including their quality of housing and education, where they live, access to good quality work and affordable food.”

Of those studies, 18 per cent found that premature death was the most common poor health outcome recorded for those living in a deprived neighbourhood.

Some 16 per cent of the studies found participants in deprived areas were more likely to be obese or have a high body mass index, followed by the 15 per cent, which found increased rates of smoking, drinking alcohol and eating unhealthily.

Some of the studies looked at the relationship between neighbourhood and health over a period of time of at least 15 years. They found cumulative exposure to neighbourhood deprivation predicts the onset and deterioration of poor health.

The authors wrote: “The weight of evidence suggests neighbourhood effects accumulate over the life course when exposure to a poor socioeconomic context is sustained. This is the case for outcomes of adolescent parenthood, chronic conditions, disability, smoking, BMI, mortality and physical function.”

The researchers believe the effects can be reversed if a person moves away from a deprived neighbourhood as a child. There is a small amount of evidence that suggests the neighbourhood you live in at the age of 30 will impact life in middle age.

The Health Foundation said there is a multitude of factors that link deprived neighbourhoods and poor health, but these were not investigated in the research.

SOURCE: Guardian

APC In S/Africa Promises To Partner Buhari On Housing, Power.

The South African Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to solve problems of housing, healthcare and energy in the country.
The group, in a letter addressed to the President and jointly signed by Mr Bola Babarinde and Prof. Folorunso Fasina, the Chairman and Secretary- General, respectively, said these were critical issues demanding urgent attention of the President.

A copy of the letter, titled “On the National Question: Critical issues demanding urgent attention of Mr President,” was made available to NAN in Lagos on Monday.

The group, which expressed pleasure in meeting with the President during his visit to South Africa, said that the low income earners and civil servants were hardly remembered by developers of mass housing schemes in the country.

“The issues of affordability hampers ordinary citizens from access to good housing and a recent research done for Niger State shows that most civil servants die a few years after retirement from active service.

“Life after service is hard because things change sharply post-retirement, including housing. The Diaspora can assist in the provision of quality and affordable housing for the low to middle income earners, particularly civil servants.

“Using modern technologies, we can provide housing solution through mortgage financing supported by single digit interest rates. Workers will have between 15 and 25 years to repay, depending on the years of service left.

“It will be credit to this government to provide housing solution and reduce the suffering of the people,” the group said.

On the health sector, the group said that the country was not doing well taking into consideration the flight of medical personnel and the amount spent on medical tourism to countries like India, South Africa, Egypt and UK.

The group said that Nigerians in Diaspora, especially professionals in South Africa, were ready to partner the government at various levels on healthcare (primary, secondary and tertiary) to confront the health issues.

They said that this would also include mentorship of young medical personnel, exposure to the state of state- of-art-equipment, information exchange and sustainable, but affordable medical missions and training.

The group added that infrastructure including roads, water, schools buildings, hostels accommodation and other facilities also needed attention of the government.

“With benefits of hindsight and experiences outside the shores of Nigeria, the Diaspora members of APC-SA and others have solution to these challenges through making available the infrastructural fund, technical know-how and result-based monitoring and evaluation to assist the poor,” it said.

According to the group, Nigeria is energy deficient, yet the solutions are not far-fetched.

It said since the country was generating huge volumes of wastes daily, generation of energy from wastes might be a viable solution.

“Conversion of ‘wastes to energy’ is one of the means by which energy are generated in South Africa and we in Diaspora can be great partners in making this a reality in Nigeria.

“We can mobilise the fund, we have the technical know-how and relation with other Diaspora chapters to generate clean energy at affordable rates.

“All that is needed is the enabling environment and the government’s readiness to work with us,” it added.

The group, which commended the President for creating the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, appealed that the commission be populated with people-oriented leaders.

According to them, the institution should have some credible Nigerians who have lived outside the countries for at least 15 years to add value to the commission’s diversity and experience.

“The creation of some continental coordinating offices for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission in Africa, Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas will be a great service.

“There seems to be a current disconnect between the commission and major stakeholders, primarily outside Nigeria. The Presidency should wade in on this matters and see how our wealth of experience can benefits our country.”

NAN reports that President Buhari met with the Nigerian community during a three-day official visit to South Africa between Wednesday and Friday


Housing Report: Imo Spends N42bn in Seven Years

A non-governmental organisation, Spaces for Change, in its new research, said the Imo State Government between 2010 and 2017 allocated more than N42bn to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The group, however, stated that the allocation had no correlation with increase in housing stocks as annual housing production had been inadequate to close the deficit in the state.

It explained that there had been discrepancy between housing budgets and the delivery of affordable, livable housing in the state.

According to the report, successive administrations in the state between 2010 and 2017 have placed emphasis on buildings and other public structures that neither contribute to the state’s housing stock nor tackle the housing affordability crisis in the state.

It noted that the bulk of the money appropriated for housing development went to projects that mainly benefited the executive, government officials, public servants and political appointees.

“Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the provision of affordable residential housing is not among the state’s top priorities. For instance, the 2012 budget appropriated N50m for mass housing while N102, 500, 000 was budgeted for the construction of Her Excellency’s office and conference,” the report said.

It added that determining the start and end dates for most housing projects was a herculean task complicated by the year-on-year repetition of projects, including inserting completed projects in the state’s annual budgets.

It explained that year-on-year repetition of budget lines without any expatiation on cause and purpose cast a shadow of doubt on budgeting and fiscal transparency.

The report said, “The government’s demolition-centric approach to urban renewal as against in-situ upgrading of declining communities has widened the housing deficit in the state.

“Development-induced displacements also pushed the affected population deeper into poverty as more people lose their houses to demolition without adequate compensation or arrangements for resettlement. The PPP model of project financing in Imo State is problematic in many respects.

“The terms and conditions of the contracts with the private actors were often shrouded in secrecy. Likewise, the procedures for tendering contracts, competitive bidding and contractor selection could not be ascertained.”

The report stated that institutions such as the Imo Housing Corporation, statutorily mandated to undertake housing development were continuously starved of funds while white elephant projects executed between 2014 and 2017 forced significant reductions in the funding levels for housing development.

Among the recommendations from the research, S4C said the Imo State Government should put a sound policy on affordable housing in place, adopt Straight-Through Processing system of budgeting and engage different stakeholders in housing development.

It added that the state government should strengthen the Bureau of Public Procurement and Price Intelligence and revive its housing corporation, which it said was active and profitable at some point in time.

“It is hoped that the findings of this study will provide Imo State Government with an independent performance analysis of the housing sector which can form the baseline for initiating critical reforms in the state,” it added.

The aim of the report, according to the group, would have been achieved if it guides state executives in decision-making and priority-setting while influencing a positive effect on attitudes to public spending.

The Executive Director, Spaces for Change, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said the group launched its investigative report, with a focus on Imo State, to help understand Nigeria’s housing crisis.

She said the research took into account the peculiarities of the state in terms of annual budgets, population size, revenue generation capabilities and geographical characteristics.


Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme Approves Dh410 Million Loans

Dubai: The Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme has approved 522 housing assistance applications for Emirati citizens valued at Dh410 million. They range from housing loans and grants to government housing.

This follows the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to provide adequate housing for UAE nationals.

Commenting on the decision, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, said, “We in the UAE are keen to ensure social cohesion through the initiatives implemented by the programme [Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme] in cooperation with housing institutions around the UAE.”

“In addition”, he added, “The housing compounds being built are in accordance with the highest sustainability standards, and are testament to the quality offered by the government to its citizens to ensure them a dignified and safe life.”

The Housing Programme is currently managing the construction of three residential districts – Ajman’s Al Montazi complex, containing 761 homes valued at Dh1 billion, which is expected to be delivered next year; Dubai’s Tolerance Village, comprising 341 residences, also due for completion next year; and the Bateen Al Samar Residential District in Ras Al Khaimah featuring 888 residences.


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