N7m property Destroyed By Fire in Lafia

A property estimated at N7 million has been destroyed by fire,along the popular B.A.D road in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Eyewitnesses disclosed that the fire started at 11.30 a.m from one of the rooms and later spread to the other rooms.

Ms Aisha Ishaq, an eyewitness and member of the affected family, said she raised alarm to attract neighbours when she saw flames coming from one of the rooms.

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According to her, there is no electricity or gas cooker to spark up the fire as electricity connected to the house was earlier disconnected by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company because of her father’s inability to pay the bill.

Another witness simply identified as Ishaq commended the efforts of the community and Fire Service personnel that made a several attempts to put out the inferno, but to no avail.

“Although the community came out with water to put out the fire, their efforts yielded no positive result as the fire has already spread beyond control,” he said.

The owner of the property, Mr Isiaka Baban-Uwa, said he was perplexed, saying that he has lost over N7 million to the inferno.

“In fact, I am confused right now; is hard to believe that all that I labour for years has gone just in a day.

“The property that was destroyed is more than N7 million as am talking to you now. l lost all that I labour for years.

“I have 18 children with three wives here; where will they live now that my house is destroyed by fire,” he said.
Baban-uwa, however, appealed to relevant authorities, especially Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency and philanthropists to help him.

Mr Dogara Dalhatu, an official of the State Fire Service, confirmed the fire incident, saying the remote and immediate causes of the inferno cannot be immediately established.

Brexit: UK property funds face another shutdown-Fitch

UK property funds could block investors from withdrawing money as Brexit unfolds, in a repeat of events three years ago when the UK voted to leave the European Union, says Fitch Ratings.

Fitch warned of a “growing risk” that investors in open-ended UK property funds will again be prevented from taking their money out as fears rise that a disorderly Brexit will lead to a crash in property values.

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After the Brexit vote in June 2016,several companies suspended trading in their open-ended funds after investors rushed to pull money. Rising redemptions can lead to a liquidity mismatch for funds that are unable to sell properties quickly enough to generate cash to give back to investors.

“Open-ended property funds have an inherent structural weakness in that they provide daily liquidity for investors but are invested in mostly illiquid commercial property,” Fitch said. “This liquidity mismatch exposes them to liquidity pressure if there is a spike in redemptions, potentially leading them to block withdrawals so that they do not become forced sellers of illiquid assets, and to prevent a run on the fund.”

Fitch said cash levels at open-ended funds are now “marginally” better than in 2016. “But we do not think liquidity is strong enough to prevent withdrawal restrictions should investors fear a steep market drop due to Brexit developments in the coming weeks,” its analysts added.

The agency, which does not rate any open-ended funds, pointed to press reports claiming that the Financial Conduct Authority is monitoring funds’ liquidity on a daily basis. “Rapid changes in sentiment, in relation to political declarations for example, could cause spikes in redemption requests beyond available liquidity, irrespective of the fundamentals of the properties held by the funds.”

The UK regulator launched a consultation last October on new rules that would improve how open-ended funds invested in illiquid assets such as property.

Proposed measures included funds having to suspend trading if an independent valuer expresses “material uncertainty” about the valuation of at least 20% of a portfolio. That consultation closed in late January.

Fitch also noted that real estate investment trusts, listed property groups such as British Land and Landsec, have boosted their cash reserves. “Their motive is to position themselves to react quickly to investment opportunities that may arise if asset values drop in the event of Brexit-related investor concerns,” the agency’s analysts wrote.

Source: fnlondon.com

Federal Housing Finance Agency: U.S.Senate Committee Approves Calabria as New Director

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs voted to advance the nomination of Mark Calabria as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency to a full Senate vote.The vote passed along party lines at 13 to 12.

Back in December, President Donald Trump selected Calabria, who then served as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to be the next director of the FHFA.

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Previously, Calabria served as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee where he was one of the lead drafters of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created the FHFA.

Calabria served as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during former President George W. Bush’s administration. Calabria also held positions at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.

And now, the Senate Banking Committee passed the vote to nominate Calabria as the next FHFA director. The vote will move to the full Senate, where it is also expected to pass

“MBA applauds the Senate Banking Committee for approving the nomination of Mark Calabria to be the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” said Robert Broeksmit, Mortgage Bankers Association president and CEO. “Dr. Calabria has deep expertise in housing policy, which will serve him well in a role that profoundly impacts the mortgage and real estate markets, should he be confirmed.”

“In particular, we hope to work with him to resolve the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and help to better serve borrowers, protect taxpayers and ensure equal access to stable and liquid secondary mortgage markets for a wide variety of single- and multifamily lenders, regardless of size or business model,” Broeksmit continued. “MBA now calls on the full Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Calabria as the next head of the FHFA.”

“Dr. Calabria’s decades of experience in housing and finance policy have prepared him to implement the FHFA’s mission,” the National Association of Realtors said in a letter to the committee. “It has also helped him understand the need for enhanced transparency at the FHFA and a methodical approach in the development and enforcement of its policies.”

Source: housingwire.com

Guinea Govt Signs Agreement for Construction of 4000 Homes

The Guinea Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and American Home builders of West Africa(AHWA),have signed a $207 million convention agreement targeting construction of 4000 homes in the Republic of Guinea.

The current production of housing in Guinea is well below the level required to address the needs of the population.  To fill this gap, the Government of Guinea has stated that providing adequate housing to the greatest number of Guineans is one of its top priorities.

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This new convention agreement builds on the success of AHWA’s two existing developments in Gomboyah and Doumbouyah to create a road map for construction of 4,000 homes in Guinea, from social housing to high-end accommodations.

US Ambassador Dennis Hankins, who just departed Guinea, remarked, “AHWA is developing homes for the middle class in Guinea.  I have seen their projects here, which are of high quality. One of the things I love about this project is that the company founders are both former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers – so they have for many years been ambassadors for Africa in the United States, and they understand how to work in West Africa and bring new investment here.  AHWA has created a valuable way to bring more diaspora investment into West Africa by delivering homes built to international standards. We encourage them and wish them lots of success, as this kind of private venture can create jobs and improve economic development in Guinea and the wider region.”

Jonathan Halloran, AHWA CEO, stated, “We have invested a great deal of time and energy negotiating this agreement.  We have built an investment program that will serve the needs of the Guinea population while also attracting the international and domestic investment commitments required to achieve our mutual goals.

We are excited to launch this next phase of our work in Guinea, and view our success here as a model for what can be achieved across West Africa when governments make a commitment to addressing the housing deficit in partnership with professional real estate developers.”

Source: prnewswire.com

FMBN,Anambra Govt Collaborate on N500m Housing Scheme

AS part of efforts to provide decent and affordable houses for all categories of Nigerians, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, has concluded plans to collaborate with the Anambra State Housing Corporation for the take off of some of its programmes in the state.
An executive director with the bank, Mr. Melville Ebo, who hinted on the proposed schemes when he led officials of FMBN for an interaction with the managing director of Anambra State Housing Corporation, Mr. Willie Okafor in Awka, said the state was qualified for the schemes because it is up to date with contributions of the National Housing Fund, NHF, for the development of housing schemes.
Essentially, Ebo was in the state to appeal to Anambra State for land for the housing projects expected to take off by the middle of this year after the commissioning of ongoing projects in Enugu and Abia states in the South-East geopolitical zone, as well as in Akwa Ibom and Delta states in the South-South.
Among the housing programmes likely to take off in the state in the near future are the Cooperative Housing Scheme in which 50 houses expected to cost N500 million at N10 million for each unit and the Home Renovation Programme in which loans that would attract six per cent interest, would be given to workers to renovate and upgrade their existing houses.
According to Ebo, there is also another scheme jointly being promoted by the FMBN, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, which is an umbrella body of employers in the organised private sector in Nigeria.
He recalled that Anambra State Government received a disbursement of N200 million in 2007 for the cooperative housing project, adding, however, that because the project was not implemented as required, the incumbent governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, refunded the money, thus qualifying the state to benefit fully from the N500 million project.
Ebo said: “Participation of Anambra State from the NHF is very low and we hope that with Mr. Okafor in the saddle, the state will take its rightful position in the programme because there are a lot of programmes the state can benefit from.
“The housing projects are for every Nigerian and our expectation is that everybody should benefit from it. We expect our projects to be sited in areas that workers can transport themselves easily to work.”
In his response, Okafor assured that the state housing corporation, as the arrowhead for housing development in the state, would collaborate with the FMBN to ensure quick implementation of the various schemes.
He informed Ebo that the state housing corporation was already executing a number of housing projects in the state in line with the state government’s policy of providing adequate houses for its workers in various parts of the state.

Presidential Poll: Nigeria stock market loses N85bn in six hours

The market capitalisation of listed equities on Tuesday shed N85 billion in six hours of trading to what traders attributed to profit taking as a result of the presidential poll.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N12.194 trillion, shed N85 billion or 0.69 per cent to close at N12.109 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index lost 226.30 points or 0.69 per cent to close at 32,473.82, compared with 32,700.12 recorded on Monday.

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Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., attributed the market pullback to profit taking embarked by some smart investors.

Mr Omordion said the smart money that pushed the market up with expectations that the opposition would win the presidential election were leaving the market.

He said some investors who entered the market in anticipation that the opposition economic policy and reforms would support market growth were taking profit ahead of earnings season.

“This pullback may not last as a result of 2019 dividend declaration season as dividend yield of financial service stocks are high and attractive due to low prices,” Mr Omordion stated.

Nestle dominated the losers’ chart, dropping by N70 to close at N1,510 per share.

Union Bank of Nigeria trailed with a loss of 60k to close at N6.65, while FBN Holdings was down by 30k to close at N8 per share.

Conversely, Guinness led the gainers’ table during the day, gaining N2.05 to close at N67.15 per share.

Dangote Flour followed with a gain of N1 to close at N12.05, while Oando gained 65k to close at N7.25 per share.

Air Services added 60k to close at N7.05, while Africa Prudential increased by 44k to close at N4.84 per share.

A breakdown of the activity chart indicates that the volume of shares traded rose by 46.57 per cent with an exchange of 322.18 million shares worth N2.43 billion in 4,066 deals.

This was against 219.81 million shares valued at N5.55 billion transacted in 2,999 deals on Monday.

Sunu Assurances recorded the highest volume of activity, trading 50.81 million shares worth N10.16 million.

Access Bank traded 32.30 million shares valued at N203.09 million, while Diamond Bank sold 28.60 million shares worth N70.10 million.

United Bank for Africa accounted for 19.02 million shares valued at N153.66 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 17.77 million shares worth N677.66 million.

South Africa – Construction sector unlikely to recover before 2021

Following Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s first budget, economist Dr Azar Jammine has raised hopes for a “major recovery” in the South African economy, but he warned it was unlikely to happen before 2021.

Speaking at AfriSam’s 2019 National Budget Breakfast in Sandton on Thursday, Dr Jammine told a diverse audience of more than 200 people from the construction sector that 2019-20 would remain very difficult. Planned government investment in infrastructure, for instance, was expected to rise only four per cent, spelling a continued slump for civil engineering.

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He said one of the key drivers of recovery would be restoring the tax-collecting capacity of the South African Revenue Services, which had fallen about ZAR40bn (US$2.88bn) short of target in the last financial year. He also hoped that government expenditure would be made more effective if the challenges at the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) were addressed and the more than 34 per cent of the tax revenue being spent on the civil service was reduced significantly.

Construction sector
Focussing on the state of the construction sector and its prospects, Industry Insight senior economist, David Metelerkamp, painted a sombre picture for most segments. The hard-hit civil sector would see some light from the 14 per cent increase in planned government expenditure in transport and logistics infrastructure. Mr Metelerkamp noted that this was off a low base from last year, moderating its likely impact.

The building industry looked better than civils, he said, especially the residential segment. This was mainly in demand for flats and townhouses, where square metres completed grew considerably in 2018. Demand for ‘luxury homes’ was down. The future held promise for large mixed-use developments, of which over 30 were on the table, said Mr Metelerkamp. Ten of these were expected to launch in this financial year, and 14 more in FY20-21. He noted that the shopping centre ‘boom’ was over and that an oversupply now existed.

Cement oversupply
Referring to the oversupply in the cement sector, AfriSam sales and marketing executive, Richard Tomes, said AfriSam was now in a better position to cope with current market conditions after a period of right-sizing its business.


Mr Tomes added that despite the impact of the lack of infrastructure spend on the construction sector, he remains confident that some level of stability will return to the industry once the 2019 national elections have taken place and the newly elected government will have been mandated with a new five-year term to address issues around policy uncertainty and fix the state-owned entities.

He concludes,that to strengthen the construction industry and country, South Africans must all the heed the president’s call of ‘Thuma Mina’ made during his inaugural state-of-the-nation address – a call for all South Africans to ‘lend a hand’ and be of service to the nation.

Source: Cement News

Fire destroys INEC office in Imo

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) office in Isiala Mbano, Imo North, was on Monday gutted by fire, destroying INEC materials and some infrastructure, the newsmen report.

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The cause of the fire which happened is yet to be ascertained. When contacted the INEC Public Relations Officer, Mrs Emmanuella Ben-Opara, she confirmed the incident and described it as very unfortunate.

The PRO explained that the staff was shocked to learn of the incident, adding that elections took place in the area without any record of violence or crisis. “Election took place in this place on Saturday and there was no record of any problem.

The people that did this did not tell us what their grievances were. “As at now, the commission in Imo is burdened with announcement of election results which we must finish before we start looking into the remote cause of the incident,’’ she said.

Asked if she could estimate the damage, Ben-Opara said it would be looked into at the end of declaration of the results in the state. The Police Public Relations Officer in Imo State Command DSP, Orlando Ikeokwu, said the command was yet to be briefed on the incident.

Hong Kong: How the Property Slump Could affect the Economy

Real estate is the main game in Hong Kong, and as the drop in housing prices nears correction territory, concern is mounting about the toll the downturn will exact on the city’s economy.

Home values in the world’s most expensive property market have fallen about 9 percent from their August peak as the China-U.S. trade war and potential rate hikes hurt consumer confidence. While the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. say prices will bottom this quarter, Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. says there’s worse to come, forecasting home values will slump a further 15 percent in 2019.

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Here’s what’s at stake if the downturn worsens:

In a city where land is in short supply, the government is able to generate a large amount of revenue from selling vacant plots. Land sales were the biggest contributor to government coffers in the fiscal year ended March 2018.

That also makes the administration highly reliant on the fortunes of the property market. This year’s budget, to be released Wednesday, will probably show the surplus will shrink 63 percent in fiscal 2019, largely because of diminished income from land sales, according to Deloitte LLP.

When the SARS outbreak crushed Hong Kong’s property market in 2003-04 — slashing the revenue contribution from land sales to just 3 percent — the budget deficit came in at more than HK$40 billion ($5 billion). With land-sales revenue at a two-decade high, it’s unlikely the good times will last.

The property downturn could also weigh on the broader economy by making homeowners and borrowers feel poorer, as the value of their house declines. That could act as a brake on consumer spending, according to Tommy Wu, a senior economist at Oxford Economics.

“When sentiment worsens as prices fall, people will be more cautious on consumption,” Wu said. “And when the value of the pledged property drops, there will also be more pressure on borrowing.”

Developers also play an outsize role in Hong Kong’s stock market, comprising the third-largest sector by weighting, following finance and communications, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

That makes the share-market’s performance closely linked to the property sector. During the last decline in home prices between 2015-2016, the Hang Seng Index dropped about 10 percent. Then, as the property market boomed, with house values peaking at a record high in mid-2018, the index surged about 40 percent.

Source: Bloomberg

 

Solar power now competing for lands, holds lesson for Nigeria

The usage of solar energy is one topic that excites Nigerian, though majorities see it as a mirage because of the cost.

The reason why some discerning Nigerians are interested in it, of course, is not farfetched. Successive governments have failed woefully with regards to the provision of regular electricity.

While its beginning to gather momentum in Nigeria, in United States and other South Asian countries they seems move a step higher as solar power companies are now competing for land with agriculture, industry and expanding populations by placing floating panels in lakes, dams, reservoirs and the sea.

In Thailand for example, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)said it will tender a proposal for a 45-megawatt floating solar plant in the Sirindhorn dam in the country’s northeast while it also plans to invest in about 16 such projects across nine dams in the country.

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Another country doing similar thing is Singapore, the country is developing one of the world’s largest offshore floating solar systems in the Strait of Johor to the north of the island.

“In land-scarce countries like Singapore, the widespread use of PV systems is hindered by space constraints and limited roof space,” said Frank Phuan, chief executive officer of Sunseap Group told Reuters.

CEO of Sunseap Group, one of the companies building the system said the platform has to be “more robust” than systems in reservoirs or lakes to withstand tougher conditions on the open sea, and to overcome barnacles that may grow on it.

“It was also difficult to find a spot in the sea that was not frequented by shipping vessels,” CEO of Sunseap Group admitted.

ceo

According to the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), despite these challenges, floating solar systems are growing quickly in Asia alongside those on the ground and on roofs.

“While floating panels are more expensive to install, they are up to 16 percent more efficient because the water’s cooling effect helps reduce thermal losses and extend their life,”SERIS said.

The According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the United States also experienced a solar boom as installed capacity last year reached 60 gigawatts, up from about 9GW a decade ago, which it expects to more than double in the next five years, with about 14GW being installed annually.

“For a start, that means much more land will be needed: under a scenario that sees solar reach 1,618GW by 2050, the government estimates a total of 6.6 million acres (2.7 million hectares) will be required by 2050 – roughly the size of Massachusetts,”Solar Industry Research Data said.

According to the World Bank in a report title “Where Sun meets Water”,China currently accounts for most of the more than 1.1 gigawatts of floating solar capacity now installed.

There are concerns that the panels could block sunlight, affecting marine life and ecosystems, and that the electrical systems might not withstand the onslaught of water supporters say the technology is proven, and that the panels cover too small a surface area to create major problems.

Stakeholders will be hoping similar feet can be repeated in Africa biggest economy which is emerging to be one of the most attractive solar markets in the region.

Source: Dipo Oladehinde

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