FG, Firm to Develop Software for Environmental Protection

The Federal government has entered into partnership with GEObjects,a software provider operating in Australia and United Kingdom that would lead its initiatives to protect air, water, land and natural assets in the country.

Under the agreement, the government would be able to gain the capabilities to measure and analyse environmental outcomes on equal footing with any participant in carbon economy and management in the subregion.

Speaking at joint workshop in Abuja, Director, Department of Climate Change, Dr. Peter Tarfa said the government brought the software provider to brainstorm on application how it would be used in ministries, department and agencies.

According to Tarfa, currently, there are reviews going on how to calculate emissions, the methods involved, adding, this will not be another ‘white elephant project of government, but to make it applicable to all sectors of the economy.

Earlier, Managing Director of GEObjects, Mark Wood, said the technologies exceed what is obtainable in most advanced governments, adding that Nigeria was the perfect sponsor to drive the change in the world.

Mark also noted that the workshop would focus on developing and refining pathways for advancement of country’s position going into next phase of environmental economy through the use of the software.

He however, explained that the burden of cost of environmental management might be revisited as a way to produce wealth, enrich the people, create social opportunities as well as invigorate Nigerian economy.

Another speaker, David MclLwraith argued that one of the most interesting thing was to bring sophisticated environmental analytics software to every one who needs to use it, ‘the key product is Sphere.’

Explaining further, David maintained that they recognised the expertise of government and agencies and seek to provide a tool to enhance the capability assets. he said that they are ready to train software developers, scientists, and operators technicians.

“We supply and provide environmental analysis software, which is a carbon simulator and system. We also want to establish Nigerian participation in global carbon economy generates revenue, secures her place in pro-carbon age.”

Source: Guardianng

Abia to Utilise $200m W/Bank Facility to Construct 506km of Roads, Others-Commissioner

Chief Eziuche Ubani, the Commissioner for Works in Abia, has said that the $200m World Bank facility, being expected by the state government, will be judiciously utilised to construct 506 kilometers of roads and drainage system in different parts of the state.

Ubani said this in Umuahia, while speaking with newsmen on Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s second term development agenda on roads. He said that the state would collaborate with the World Bank and Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to execute the two major projects.

He said: “We are going to do about 506 kilometers of roads around Abia to ensure that every part of the state is reached with the road construction plan of the state government. “And with the World Bank, one can be assured that the money will not be diverted but utilised for the road project.”

Ubani also expressed confidence that the present administration would initiate measures during the next four years to permanently address the problem of flooding in Aba. He said: “On Port Harcourt Road in Aba, we didn’t have a proper drainage system. We did what we have to do to provide drainage system from the beginning of the road to the end.

“Now a tunnel will be constructed from Uratta Road and Ngwa Road to Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway down to Aba River. “In Umuocham Road, we will do an underground tunnel of about 40 meters deep through Ngwa Road to Aba River.” NAN

Why Few Nigerians can Afford Mortgage Loans

The Managing Director/CEO of Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank, Mr. Banjo Obaleye, has said the number of Nigerians that can afford mortgage is very small because of a lot of challenges plaguing the mortgage sector.

Mr. Obaleye spoke when officials from Media Trust, publishers of the Daily Trust titles, paid a courtesy call on the bank in Abuja.

He said most investors were still investing in the sector not because it was profitable but because of the value chain opportunities the sector provided.

He said, “If enough attention is put on housing and all the value chain around it, a lot of jobs will be gotten and a lot of youths who are unemployed will find themselves busy. We have thousands and millions of youths who are out of school and cannot provide means of education for themselves, they will find work in housing construction.

If you visit a development site and see the chain of activities going on there, you will know that this is a sector that should be on the move every time. “Home ownership is personal to human heart. Apart from food, the next most important thing for humans is shelter.

Everybody deserves a decent home, and this is the spirit that makes most investors invest in this sector; not because of money, the money is not there now,” he said.

He said because of the specialist role of mortgage banks it was time to change the perception about the role of mortgage institutions. “If you look at the financials of many commercial banks this year, you will discover that many of them are declaring profits in billions of naira. Return on investment of many deposit money banks is over 20 per cent the industrial average, but for mortgage banks, it is less than three per cent; and why this is so is because we haven’t been looking at mortgage banks the way we should be looking at them,” he said.

Obaleye whose bank is listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), identified high interest rate as one of the reasons only few Nigerians could afford mortgage.

Daily Trust reports that taking out a mortgage allows firms and individuals to purchase and own houses/real estates without the immediate need to make an outright payment of the full value of the property from their resources.

The impact of high interest on mortgage on the nation’s housing delivery has continued to be a source of worry for stakeholders because high mortgage rates impede demand for housing. Currently, interest rate on mortgage loans in Nigeria range between 15 per cent and 25 per cent per annum excluding fees and other charges.

While mortgage banks charge between 19 and 24 per cent commercial banks charge interest rate at 22 to 23 per cent because they categorised real estate as a high-risk investment. Mr. Obaleye said, “Interest rate is a very big problem because at 18/20 per cent interest rate, it is difficult to give somebody a mortgage for 15 years.

But what can we do? If government who today is the biggest borrower, borrows money from the public at 14 per cent, then where do you want to get low interest rate? We wish that government will look at this interest rate and see how to bring it down so that everybody will have access to it,” he said.

He added that the fees payable to government authorities further compounded the cost of mortgage thereby discouraging would-be loan seekers. He said, “You want a N15m loan but you have to pay like N2.5m to government for perfection (register the property), it compounds the cost of mortgage. Now we have to be doing what I refer to as selective lending. For us to break even, we have to be sensitive to our cost. We don’t have a big margin that is why we have to be sensitive of our cost,” he said.

Source: DailyTrustng

NNPC Removes NPDC Boss, 49 Others in Major Shake-up

There has been a massive reorganisation of the top management staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as about 50 senior personnel of the oil firm and its subsidiaries have either been removed or replaced.

 

It was learnt that the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Yusuf Matashi, was removed and replaced by Usman Yusuf, the Senior Technical Assistant to the Group Managing Director, in the latest reorganisation.

 

Impeccable sources at the corporation told our correspondent that other subsidiaries and arms of the corporation that were affected include the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company, which is the marketing arm of the Nigerian Gas Company; Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company; and the Liquified Natural Gas arm of the group.

 

“Some persons were promoted and others were removed. The reorganisation affected 50 senior management staff members in all. The Managing Director of NPDC, Yusuf Matashi, was removed and he was replaced by Yusuf Usman, the Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD,” one of the sources stated.

 

The source added, “There are many others, about 49 of them, but the removal of the NPDC boss is the prominent one in this latest reorganisation exercise.”

 

Another source stated that the development had led to side talks among workers at the corporation, as some employees of the firm had expressed displeasure with the latest move.

 

“Aside from the NPDC, the Nigeria Gas Marketing Company in Warri was affected. A lot of persons at the Liquified Natural Gas arm of the corporation in the corporate headquarters were also affected in the reorganisation. The Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company was also affected,” the source stated.

 

The source noted that some persons had argued that the reorganisation was one-sided and did not show fairness to the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, as a greater number of appointees were from one region.

When contacted on the matter, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, declined to make any comment.

 

In 2017, the corporation witnessed a major shake-up which affected 55 top executives of the oil firm.

On August 30, 2017, The PUNCH reported that the NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, stated then that the appointments would not only help to position the corporation for challenges ahead but would help fill the gaps created by statutory retirement of some officers.

 

It was observed that Usman, who is now appointed the new boss of the NPDC, was named as the STA to Baru in the 2017 reorganisation exercise at the corporation.

Sources at the oil firm confirmed to our correspondent that details of the reorganisation would be made public in due course.

Source: Punchng

Nigeria Plans Modalities for Diaspora Investment Fund

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was working out ways to make the Diaspora Investment Fund achieve its main goals and objectives.

The former lawmaker from Lagos State made this disclosure while reacting to the views of former CEO of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Mustafa Chike-Obi, on Diaspora remittances.

Mr Chike-Obi had said, “The problem with Diaspora remittances is that they come in small quantities and are mostly for consumption, not investment or productivity.

“In the absence of productivity, consumption tends to fuel inflation. At this rate, increased remittances will soon become counter-productive.”

But reacting to this, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said, “One of the reasons we are working on modalities for a Diaspora Investment Fund.”

Business Post reports that in February 2019, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa was quoted by Bloomberg to have said government was targeting $3 billion in investment funding from citizens living mainly in the United States to support the agriculture, power, mining and transportation sectors.

The government would support “a diaspora investment fund,” the former broadcaster, who was then the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Diaspora Affairs had said in an interview.

According to her, “They’re planning a $3 billion investment in Nigeria. The fund will be driven by Nigerians in America.”

She had further said government’s focus was primarily on non-oil investments, with mining and agriculture among the top priorities.

Nigeria is seeking investments to diversify its economy away from oil, which currently accounts for about two-thirds of government revenue and more than 90 percent of foreign income.

A sharp drop in crude prices in 2014 and foreign-currency shortages that followed led Nigeria into its first economic contraction in a quarter century in 2016.

Source: Businesspostng

Ghana Government to Introduce Cheapest Mortgage Facility in the World

Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea has hinted of plans by government to introduce a credible mortgage scheme to help reduce the housing deficit in the country today, ABC News Ghana can report.

In an interaction with the media, Mr. Atta-Akyea explained that the Akufo-Addo administration is currently considering an affordable housing system which will allow interested buyers pay a relatively cheaper interest on mortgage loans.

This by far, he explains, will be the lowest interest charged on any mortgage arrangement in the world.

“We are exploring how to use some of the pension funds by workers where workers are deducted every month to purchase a mortgage and insurance by the end of their service,” he stated.

He added that the initiative is aimed at assisting the middle income earners leverage on available funds to purchase mortgages over a long period of time. He noted that the arrangement is currently under review with experts working at a fine-tuned financial model to be considered by cabinet.

Samuel Atta-Akyea says he’s hopeful that the mortgage scheme will attract the needed partners from the private sector to make it a major success.

Source: Ghanaweb

Kenya’s Ex-President Daniel Arap Moi Ordered to Pay for Land Grab

A court in Kenya has ordered former President Daniel arap Moi to pay 1.06bn shillings ($10.5m; £8.2m) in compensation to a widow for illegally seizing her land.

Mr Moi transferred to himself 53 acres of land belonging to widow Susan Cheburet Chelugui, the judge ruled.

The land was illegally grabbed 36 years ago but only transferred to Mr Moi’s name in 2007.

Ms Chelugui’s husband Noah Chelugui was a local chief during Mr Moi’s rule.

The former president, who remains Kenya’s longest-serving leader, was accused by Ms Chelugui and her son David Chelugui of transferring their family land into his name two years after Ms Chelugui’s husband passed away.

Mr Moi is then said to have sold the land to Rai Plywood Limited, a timber firm, the BBC’s Mercy Juma reports from Nairobi.

Rai Plywood Limited told the judge that it had bought the land from Moi in 2007 after thorough legal checks.

However, Mr Moi was unable to provide the court any proof of how he came to possess the land, our correspondent says.

Judge Anthony Ombwayo said Mr Moi had behaved in a way that was “unconstitutional, irregular, unprocedural” and “tainted”.

Mr Moi became Kenya’s second president in 1978 and served until 2002.

He ruled the country with an iron fist and was accused of human rights abuses.

Under international pressure, he allowed multi-party elections in 1992, which were marred by widespread violence and allegations of rigging.

A test-case for Kenya’s many land grabs?

By Mercy Juma, BBC Africa, Nairobi

This ruling is hugely significant for Kenya.

There have been numerous cases of land grabbing by high-ranking government officials and wealthy business people over the years but the victims generally have neither the will nor the money to fight back.

Corruption in the judiciary is another huge problem. When disputes are taken to court, they often drag on for many years.

Many hope that this will come to be seen as a test case and that it will send a message to powerful people that they can no longer simply seize land belonging to the less well-off.

Source: BBC

Planning Guidelines ‘Allow for very Tall Buildings’ to solve Housing Crisis, says Minister

Ireland Housing Minister has said a change to planning guidelines on the height of buildings will help with the housing crisis.

Eoghan Murphy has acknowledged that thousands of new apartments are needed to tackle the issue.

Latest CSO figures show an increase in the number of home completions in the first quarter of the year.

The guidelines on height and density were amended last year.

Minister Eoghan Murphy says the measure is aimed to improve housing availability across the country.

He said: “While last year we changed the planning guidelines so people could build a lot higher and also increased the densities as well, not just in city centres and not just in Dublin but also around transport corridors too.

“What we are trying to do is, yes, allow for very tall buildings that can have many functions from retail to commercial to residential. But actually it’s about increasing the shoulder height across the city, that’s how you really achieve density.”

Source: breakingnews.ie

 

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Abuja Clubs Demolition, Arrest of Prostitutes Were Due To City Violations – FCDA

The Federal Capital Territory Development Authority (FCDA) through its agencies, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Department of Development Control (DDC), Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), and Social Development Secretariat have stated the demolition of nightclubs – notably Caramelo Lounge – and the arrest of multiple ladies were as a result of city violations on the part of the victims.

The authorities made this known on Thursday while honouring the invitation of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at their office in Abuja to defend their actions.

The FCT Authority was petitioned at NHRC by a coalition of civil societies led by Amnesty International.

According to the Civil Societies Representative, Miss Ossai, they decided to petition FCTA because of what they described as cases of unlawful arrests and detention, sexual abuse and physical violence, gender discrimination and violation of fundamental human rights.

In his reaction, Umar Shuaibu, the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) Coordinator stood in firm defence of their actions because of the contravention of FCT land use regulations by the affected clubs.

Umar said that in spite of serving quit notice and contravention letters to the operators of the club since 2016, they failed to revert activities on the plot located at N0 630, TOS Benson Crescent, Utako District Abuja.

He noted that the plot was originally approved for building of a clinic to provide healthcare services for residents of the territory.

He said activities of the club contravened the provisions of Clause no. 10 of Certificate of Occupancy and Clause 10 of the conveyance letter of building plan.

Umar said there were complaints of noise pollution, insecurity and social disturbances written to AMMC by those in the neighbourhood and DSS on the negative impacts from the premises.

“The issue assumed a critical relevance not only because change of use is inimical to provisions of the Abuja Master Plan, but it has equally generated externalities.

“This culminates into noise pollution, on-street parking, insecurity, social vices and many others.

“These nuisances compromise the safety, comfort and convenience of the residents of the residential precinct”, he said.

He noted that For the purpose of clarity, the land use provision designated to accommodate lounge/night club activities is within a hotel plot.

“As most of us are already aware, we have night clubs operating in hotels like Hilton, Sheraton and other notable hotels within the city, who have abided by the law and run their clubs in a sound-proof room”, he said.

Also speaking on the issue of rape and abuse, Hajia Tani Umar, the Acting Head of Social Development Secretariat stated that there were no issues of such.

‘’I was with the task force team that went for the arrests, and I can assure that nobody was molested or sexually abused. I also made sure that the ladies were not only handed to the police but ordered their bail once someone came to surety them,’’ she said.

She also stated that the ladies who were arrested also violated city laws that regulate against prostitution, indecent dressing, crime and drugs.

‘’Some of the ladies confessed to prostitution, and some were even married women. We arrested a total of 72 persons including a male. Some of the ladies even came from rich homes, and some were students. Abuja is not a free zone for prostitution, drug and crime. This is why we are enforcing the laws that guide against such behaviours.’’

She added that the ladies have been taken to the city’s rehabilitation centre in Lugbe, where they would be rehabilitated, trained in skills and will be handed starter packs in whatever training they got in order to begin a new life where they can survive without resorting to prostitution, crime and drug.

The hearing was then moved into a closed door session by the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojokwu.

In his closing remarks, Ojukwu stated that in line with the complaints that were made against the city authorities, especially gender discrimination and human right violations, it is important that in the future, the authorities should try to mainstream human rights into governance.

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

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