Dubai tenants drive down rents

Dubai’s expat community has been bargaining hard for rent discounts. According to research by JLL, in the last quarter of 2018, average rental prices for apartments were 11 per cent lower while rents for detached homes were down 8 per cent from the same period in 2017.

“Typically, colleagues and friends are getting close to 15 per cent off when they renew their rental contracts,” says Jason (not his real name), 61, a corporate writer for one of the Big Four accounting firms who arrived with his wife from Paris a year and a half ago.

The fall in demand owes much to Dubai’s faltering economy, thanks to regional tensions and the slide in oil prices since 2015, leading to job lay-offs in many sectors. In its March Dubai Economy Tracker, Emirates NBD, a local bank, reported that employment was falling faster than at any time since the survey began in 2010.

Jason noticed the lay-offs soon after he arrived, he says, with cuts focused in property sectors and among large international companies that use Dubai as a regional base.

This week, the government released figures showing the Dubai economy grew 1.94 per cent in 2018, its slowest rate since the 2009 debt crisis.

“You walk around shops and restaurants and there aren’t many people about. It’s no longer the boom time,” says Jason.

Nonetheless, Dubai continues to churn out new homes: 22,000 were completed last year, the highest number since 2013, according to JLL. No wonder sales prices continue to fall: by 8 per cent for apartments in the final three months of 2018, year-on-year; and by 9 per cent for detached homes.

JLL predicts 40,000 units will be completed in 2019, nearly double the number last year, meaning prices are expected to fall further — between 5 and 10 per cent in 2019 with no recovery until 2021, in S&P’s base-case scenario. “Since their last peak in 2014, prices and rents have fallen 25 to 33 per cent in nominal terms,” says Sapna Jagtiani of S&P in Dubai.

Popular spots for expats seeking apartments include Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah and — further north, in the downtown area — around the Dubai Mall. Jason and his wife live in Dubai Marina.

“It is one of the few places in Dubai that you can explore on foot,” he says. The beach is a 30-minute walk and nearby amenities include restaurants, bars and supermarkets, including Waitrose and Carrefour. Jason has a one-stop commute from the nearby Metro station to his work in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

There are plenty of bargains in the wider area. Savills is selling a one-bedroom apartment in Jumeirah Lakes Towers for Dh1.2m ($327,000).

A 10-minute cab ride to the north, overlooking the Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Marina beyond, the same agent is selling a three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment over three floors, with a maid’s room and a roof terrace for Dh3.9m.

For something grander, Knight Frank is selling a five-bedroom apartment in the Palme Couture Residences for Dh39.85m.

Local agents will hope that price falls are slowed by recent measures taken by the UAE government to entice new arrivals, part of a wider economic strategy to diversify the country away from oil-related industries.

New permits introduced last year included a 10-year visa for investors, entrepreneurs, executives and outstanding students as well as those who work in medicine, science or research.

The government also announced a five-year retiree visa: eligible to those aged over 55 who spend at least Dh2m on a property and have at least Dh1m in savings or Dh20,000 monthly income.

Interest from Chinese buyers, meanwhile, has picked up: Jagtiani says that developers are reporting increased sales to this group over the past 18 months, thanks in part to countries that imposed restrictions on foreign buyers.

New Zealand, for example, banned purchases of existing property by non-resident foreigners last year and some state and provincial governments in Australia and Canada now impose hefty buyer taxes on foreigners.

For the time being, Jason is looking forward to driving a hard bargain in October when his rent renews. The couple’s Saudi landlord has proved inflexible over dropping the rental price of their two-bedroom apartment, currently Dh155,000 per year, and they are planning to move. Given the recent falls, they have revised their budget down more than a fifth to Dh130,000.

Buying guide

Direct flights connect Dubai to Riyadh in two hours, to London in seven hours and to New York in under 13 hours

Property and construction each contribute roughly 7 per cent of GDP in Dubai, according to S&P

Total transaction costs for international buyers — who are restricted to certain areas — on a $2m home are around 6 per cent

What you can buy for . . .

$300,000 A one-bedroom second-hand apartment in Dubai Marina
$1m A three-bedroom apartment in Emaar Beachfront
$5m A three-bedroom house in Palme Couture Residences

Source: Financial Times

NEMA blames regulatory agencies for collapsed buildings

The National Emergency Management Agency has blamed the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria on poor monitoring and enforcement of standard by regulatory agencies.

This is as the agency called for the arrest and prosecution of importers of substandard materials in the country.

The Head of Imo/Abia states’ operations office of NEMA, Mr Evans Ugoh, disclosed this to Southern City News on Friday in Owerri shortly after visiting the scene of a collapsed building in Ariaria community, Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State.

Ugoh said two persons were confirmed dead following the collapse, while 10 persons sustained various degrees of injury and were receiving treatment in hospitals.

However, speaking on the cause of incessant building collapse in the country, Ugoh blamed it on building regulatory agencies’ poor monitoring ability and compromise of standard.

He said, “The regulatory agencies are not doing enough in the area of monitoring projects and enforcement of standard. Builders bribe their way into getting approval without being strictly monitored, which will eventually lead to compromising standard.”

He urged regulatory agencies to rise to the occasion and ensure that projects are effectively monitored.

“Building ethics should be enforced in other to check the ugly trend,” he added.

Ugoh further called on the law enforcement agencies to identify, arrest and prosecute importers of substandard materials.

No fewer than seven buildings have been reported to have collapsed in various states in the last two weeks, leaving at least 20 persons dead and 35 injured. 

Source: Gibson Achonu

150 Children Rendered Homeless As FCTA Demolishes Orphanage

Abuja — Over 150 children have been rendered homeless after the Development Control Department (DCD), a unit under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), demolished an orphanage in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja.

The Director of DCD, Muktah Galadima, said the demolition was in compliance with a court order in favour of one of the parties in dispute over the land, while also adding that the property completely failed to comply with development control requirements in the nation’s capital.

He also accused the owner, Mrs Victoria Nkiruka Ezemoka, of breach of regulations and for developing the property in disregard of several stop work and other notices served on the property, which also included a demand for the production of title document for the property.

“When we received this complaint of encroachment, we visited the site and served all the relevant notices beginning from stop work notice, quit notice to demolition notice, in line with our responsibility of ensuring strict implementation of the Abuja Master Plan.

“She did not submit any title document about the disputed property. If she had submitted, we would have put her title document together with that of the complainant (Godfrey Ezemoka) and sent it to the department of Lands Administration to confirm who the rightful owner of the land was or is, because there are three plots she is sitting on.

The issuing authority would now write us formally confirming the real owner of the land,” Galadima told the press ymThursday.

The director also indicated the readiness of the department to provide accommodation for the homeless children to ease their accommodation burden for the time being.

The age of the affected children varies from between one month to 18 years.

 Checks revealed that apart from the orphanage, the primary school, the kindergarten and the church inside the compound, The Divine Wounds of Jesus Christ, were all demolished. Also damaged was the poultry holding more than 1,000 birds and the food store.

Several items littered the grounds of the estate located on a parcel of land measuring 1,000x 800 square metres along Arab Road in Kubwa.

One of the workers, Victor Godwin, disclosed that their pleas to FCTA officials, who came to effect the demolition order were ignored as they insisted that it was only their director that could give a contrary order.

“We begged them to spare the food and the provisions stores. We also pleaded for two flats to be spared for the students to allow them stay for the night. But they ignored our pleas. The children slept under the canopy in the the last two days, “Godwin said.

Mrs Ezemoka started the orphanage in 2014 after the dearth of her husband, Cyril, also in the same year. She and her brother in law, Godfrey, popularly known as Bishop, are in court in dispute over the ownership of the land.

She told us last night that her major concern bordered on how to secure the children in the orphanage, some of who are living with physical challenges. She also faulted claims that the court had given any order on the property as claimed by her brother in law.

Mrs Ezemoka said trouble over ownership of the disputed property started immediately after her husband died, following her brother-in-law’s claim of ownership of the landed property.

While she insisted that the case was still in court hence there was no need for further action by any of the parties, including DCD, the department said there was already a court judgement on the matter, which documented evidence indicated the case was thrown out due to absence of all parties in court.

Galadima has, however, asked her to submit her documents so that it would forward to the departments of Lands and the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) to enable them determine the authenticity and ownership of the papers and property.

Source: ThisDay

She Lays Bricks to Pay School Fees

Asked why she is not in school, Amiina, a Senior Three student at Kigarama Talents High School, located about 15kms on the Fort Portal-Kamwenge road in Kabarole District, says she cannot start school until she has sold enough bricks to get money for her school fees. 

“I stay with my sister at Kigarama Trading Centre, where she has a retail shop. I cannot afford the Shs400,000 for boarding so I chose day school, which is Shs80,000,” Amiina says adding: “Lunch at school costs Shs60,000 per term, which my mother and I cannot afford. In most cases I do not eat but wait until I return home in the evening.”


Challenges

“My mother has been laying bricks for a long time and this is how all my other siblings have been able to go through school. So, despite the many challenges such as stigma, I am focused because I know what I want to be in future,” Amiina says.

Because she lays the bricks by the roadside, Amiina has had to endure stigma, especially from her peers in the village, although she also gets encouragement from the elders who say she will reap the fruits of her hard work.

“Many boys say I am ugly and dirty. Many girls my age isolate themselves from me, saying brick laying is for men and boys who have no future. However, I always tell them of my achievements such as the fact that my family has been able to build a house, from bricks I made,” she says.

Amiina also faces other challenges, including suffering from back pain since her job requires her to bend most of the time. However, she is determined and says nothing will deter her from achieving her goal.

Her day

A typical school day for Amiina starts at 5am. She opens her sister’s shop and cleans it before walking to school, about one kilometre away. She says during the first month of each term, her mother packs for her roasted maize or groundnuts which she carries to eat for lunch. During weekends, Amiina joins her mother in Iruhuura to make more bricks so that she can raise her upkeep, fees and buy scholastic materials.

Future dreams
Amiina says she will continue making bricks until she gets a better job which will enable her take care of her mother. “Since I perform well in sciences, especially Physics and Mathematics, I want to become a surgeon or an engineer,” she says.

Advice to other girls
Amiina says other girls should not feel sorry for themselves and wait around for handouts but work hard to make sure they secure a future for themselves. She advises against engaging in early sexual intercourse for money, saying this will only lead to unwanted pregnancies and diseases such as HIV/Aids.

She says her role models are her elder sisters, who studied nursing. “They advise me to follow in their footsteps and are always there to help me to face some of the challenges that they have gone through and overcome,” she adds.


Appeal 

“Government should help underprivileged girls, especially day scholars, by building affordable hostels inside all schools to cater for their housing needs,” Amiina says.

According to the 2015 National Service Delivery Survey, distance to school from the household is an influential factor in encouraging children to attend school and to increase new admissions. Information about distance to the nearest primary school is a useful indicator of children’s access to schooling.

A distance of three kilometres is considered acceptable by the Ministry of Education and Sports and is the target of the government. However, this distance seems to be longer for children who enroll in school at the target age of six years.

A daily school meal provides a strong incentive to send children to school and keep them there. It allows children to focus on their studies and helps to increase school enrolment and attendance, decrease drop-out rates, and improve cognitive abilities.

The same survey on “Provision of Lunch in Secondary Schools” found out that at national level, 87 per cent of the schools provided students with lunch at school whereas five per cent of schools reported that students go without lunch.

WHAT THEY SAY

Julia Orikiriza, mother 

Amiina is one of 12 children in the family. She is very hard working and focused. She can make 2,000 bricks alone in less than a week and with the help of my other children, I managed to build a three-bedroom house in 2017 using bricks that they made.”

Elius Muhimbise, teacher “While many young women in Uganda, both graduates and youth, spend their free time idling, this 17-year-old engages in a job many think is for those who have failed in life. She should be proud because she is not only an inspiration to me but many people. Her bricks have not only been used to build a number of schools but also many houses in Kasenda Sub-county. I think such girls need to be identified and supported.”

Source: Felix Basime, Monitor Uganda

Current prices of cement in Nigeria (as of today)

Cement Brand                  Retail Price (per 50kg bag)        Wholesale Price (600 bags)

Dangote Cement                        ₦2,570                                      ₦1,510,000
Elephant Cement(WAPCO)         ₦2,550                                      ₦1,470,000
Ashaka Cement                          ₦2,550                                      ₦1,470,000
Ibeto Cement                             ₦2,550                                      ₦1,500,000
Eagle Cement                             ₦2,550                                      ₦1,470,000
BUA Cement                               ₦2,550                                      ₦1,470,000
UNICEM                                      ₦2,550                                      ₦1,480,000

How much is a bag of cement in Nigeria?

As of present, the retail price of cement in Nigeria is ₦2,550 — ₦2,800 per bag, depending on brand, location, and other factors. And the wholesale price (600 bags) is ₦1,470,000 to ₦1,510,000, depending on the manufacturer.

Why the price of cement in Nigeria fluctuates endlessly and keeps increasing

The frequent fluctuations in cement prices in the country are due to a number of worrisome factors, which are making business difficult for cement manufacturers in the country. While some of these factors can be easily controlled by the manufacturers themselves, others are totally beyond their control. Here are some of the factors responsible for the ever-increasing and unstable prices of cement in Nigeria, despite the ban on importation of cement into the country.

High maintenance costs:

Because cement manufacturing involves heavy duty machinery and huge facilities, the cost of maintenance can be very high. This makes the day-to-day running of cement manufacturing plants very expensive. And to remain profitable, manufacturers have to increase prices.

High distribution costs: 

When it comes to distributing and delivering goods, it’s common knowledge that cost of delivery is directly proportional to the weight of conveyed goods. This explains why manufacturers spend heavily to distribute the commodity, which is quite heavy due to its nature and composition. This explains why most manufacturers prefer to establish their plants in locations close to their target customers, and why most plants cover only proximal geographical area

Erratic power supply:

This is an age-long problem in Nigeria that plagues every aspect of the country’s economy. So, it’s quite expectable that it will significantly affect cement production in the country, which requires heavy duty automated machinery that are powered electrically. Due to the epileptic power supply in Nigeria, cement manufacturers depend on expensive alternative sources of power, and this results in high overhead costs, and ultimately, increased product prices.

Other factors:

other factors responsible for unstable cement prices in Nigeria include technological inadequacies on the part of the manufacturers as well as constraints in buying power of consumers caused by the harsh state of the Nigerian economy.

Major players in the Nigerian cement industry

Dangote Cement Plc

Manufacturer of the popular Dangote cement and the present biggest player in the Nigerian cement market, Dangote Cement Plc is owned by the Dangote Group, which was founded by Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The company was founded as Obajana Cement Plc in 1992, but later had its name changed to Dangote Cement Plc in July 2010. The company, which is presently the largest listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange engages in the production and distribution of cement in Nigeria and other African countries including Congo, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, Cameroun, Ghana, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia.

The company’s manufacturing plant in Obajana, Kogi state is the largest in Africa, with a production capacity of 10.25mmtpa. The company also has plants in Obeshe, Ogun state (4mmtpa) and Gboko, Benue State (4mmtpa). Outside Nigeria, Dangote Cement also has cement manufacturing plants in a number of other African countries.

Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria

Another big player in the Nigerian cement market, Lafarge group facilitates the production of about 12mmtpa of cement in Nigeria, which is expected to hit 18mmtpa by 2020. The company has plants in Ogun state (3 WAPCO plants producing a total of 4.5mmtpa), Gombe state (Ashaka cement plant producing 1mmtpa), Cross River state (United Cement Company of Nigeria plant producing 2.5mmtpa), and Rivers State (Atlas cement company).

Aside cement, Lafarge also processes and distributes concrete and other construction aggregates. The company’s operation in Nigeria is under the control of the parent company LafargeHolcim, a French-Swiss company headquartered in Paris, France.

Other major cement manufacturers in Nigerian include BUA cement group and Ibeto cement.

Source: Tribune

Housing show to drive finance models – Convener

The Convener of the 13th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) says the show will focus on driving sustainable housing finance models to achieve affordable houses.

Mr Festus Adebayo, Managing Director, FESADEB Media Group and the convener disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday while speaking on the level of preparation for the forthcoming show.

The AIHS would feature more than 400 foreign and local exhibitors and 35,000 participants across 20 countries, scheduled for July 23 to July 26, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The theme of the show is: “Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models in the Midst of Global Uncertainties’’.

Adebayo said that the theme stemmed from the outlook of global economy that could tend toward another recession and the attendant impact such an event could have on Nigerian affordable market. “The likelihood of global recession is on the level of increase of global debt

“According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global debt has reached `an all time high’ of 184 trillion dollars in nominal terms. “In addition to the likelihood of recession is the rising level of global uncertainties,’’ he said.

This, he said, were fuelled by nationalistic sentiments such as the ongoing tussle between China and the United States of America and also between European Union and its member states like United Kingdom.

“Coupled with the current monetary tightening it is expected to increase in Europe and USA,’’ the convener said. The expert explained that the show had also introduced innovations in the 13th AIHS exhibition aspect that would give enough room for networking among participants.

“The second AIHS Chief Executive Officers forum will feature 100 high ranking CEOs of mortgage banks, real estate institutions and companies, construction companies’ professional bodies and international investment organisations.

“The international investor’s dinner will also feature delegations from Turkey, Rwanda, China and United Arab Emirate to deliberate on way to achieve affordable housing.”

On the successes recorded in the past by AIHS, Adebayo noted that its recommendations were taken and complied with by many states across the country.

“Our recommendations were well utilised in Osun where we now have a full-fledged mortgage bank owned by the state government.

“It is also working in many states including Niger state where the state is developing its mass city involving aggressive estate development to explore the opportunities of the population influx from Abuja.”

He expressed hope that the in-coming administration would do more in the area of housing to drive the country’s economy. “We are also aware that most houses have been delivered under the present government.

“But we are adamant that our focus in the 13th AIHS will be more on the area of affordability of these houses that government is building,’’ he said. (NAN)

Source: Ella Anokam

NHF Bill: Experts differ on implications for the economy

Among the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) and its Member States, “housing for all” forms one of the specific targets to be achieved by 2030.

But 2030 is almost here, even as the issue of housing deficit continues to become worse; despite claims by successive governments to have tackled the perennial problem in their bits.

Recently, there have been debates coming from different quarters in Nigeria regarding the proposed National Housing Fund (NHF) bill, which is currently awaiting Presidential assent.

Several top financial and tax analysts have rightly argued different sides to the NHF bill and its possible impacts on Nigeria. And while some are calling for the bill to be scrapped, others are throwing their weights behind it.

How housing development impacts the economy

In economic terms, the development of the housing sector forms an integral part of any country’s economic progress. Whether it is construction, rental or sale, each layer contributes spiral effects on the economy.

Basically, the influences of the housing sector on national economies can be summarised. Firstly, while housing fulfills a basic human need for shelter, it also provides the base from which households participate in the economy.

Secondly, housing is the largest single asset most households will accumulate during their lifetime. Therefore, housing constitutes an important part of most countries’ stock of wealth.

An overview of Nigeria’s acute housing deficit

Despite having an estimated population of over 190 million population, Nigeria’s housing sector has been characterized by a housing deficit estimated at 18 million units.

Earlier reports from the World Bank (as cited by Global Property Guide) shows that Nigeria needs about 700,000 additional units each year for the next 20 years.

However, recent Reports have shown that for the nation to upturn the high deficit figure, an additional 2 million housing unit per annum will be required for the next 10 years.

Like Nigeria, other nations equally affected

The UN-Habitat report for 2016 shows that globally, one in eight people live in slums. In total, around 1 billion people live in slum conditions today. According to the UN, the numbers are continuously increasing.

The majority of the slum dwellers are in developing economies. In spite of great progress in improving slums and preventing the formation of slums, 30 percent of the urban population living in slums in developing countries.

It was further reported that 35% of the world population lives in unimaginable housing situations, representing over 2 billion today.

Recent declines

It has been revealed that the Nigerian housing sector has recently been declining, especially so during the better part of the last 5 years. Moreover, when compared to the housing sectors of some of the most advanced countries in the world, the Nigerian housing sector still has a long way to go. For instance, the Housing sector in countries like the US and Australia boasted largest in terms of the sector’s contributions to GDP and the highest employer of the labour force.

More investments needed to close housing deficits

Recent online statistics have revealed that the Nigerian housing sector would need about $400 billion investment over the next 25-30 years to reconcile this deficit.

Also, reports have shown that the World Bank stated N59.5 trillion would be needed to adequately meet the housing needs of Nigerians.

To corroborate this, the Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Economic Matters, Mr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, during the second Nigeria Housing Finance Conference in Abuja in 2018, stated the following:

“GOVERNMENT IS GIVING FHF N100 BILLION YEARLY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS WITH ANTICIPATION THAT IT IS GOING TO LEVERAGE ONE TRILLION NAIRA OF PRIVATE RESOURCES.”

Analysts at loggerheads on the impact of proposed NHF law

Recall, that the revised National Housing Fund Law was recently passed by the National Assembly and submitted to the President. Nairametrics also joined in the debate, highlighting the possible elevated costs it could entail for several businesses in the country.

Global tax and consulting conglomerate, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) has also opined that the “proposed law is a bad idea”.

The Head of Tax and Regulatory Services at PwC Nigeria and Tax
Leader for PwC West Africa, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, called for the total withdrawal of the bill. The tax guru stated:

“THE MAIN OBJECTIVE OF NHF SHOULD NOT BE JUST TO MAKE AFFORDABLE FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR HOUSING BUT TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKES AFFORDABLE HOUSING POSSIBLE. TO ACHIEVE THIS, NIGERIA MUST ADOPT A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE CHALLENGES FACING THE SECTOR OF WHICH AFFORDABLE FINANCING IS ONLY A COMPONENT.”

He further stated the following:

“THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO MARKED PROGRESS TO SHOW FOR THE 27 YEARS OF ESTABLISHING THE NHF IS PROOF THAT NIGERIA’S HOUSING PROBLEM CANNOT BE SOLVED BY SIMPLY
THROWING MORE MONEY AT THE PROBLEM.”

On the contrary, some people are of the opinion that the NHF law is a good thing for the Nigerian economy. The Founder and Publisher of Nairametrics, Mr. Ugohukwu Obi Chukwu, threw his weight behind the proposed NHF bill thus:

“NHF IS A CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS ACQUIRING AN ASSET, IN THIS CASE, A HOME. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT NHF IS A RELIEF AGAINST TAX.

“NIGERIA’S PROPERTY MARKET FACES A PAUCITY OF FUNDS, THUS A LAW THAT MANDATES EVERY EMPLOYEE TO CONTRIBUTE A PART OF THEIR EARNINGS TOWARDS OWNING A HOME IS IMPORTANT. JUST LIKE PENSION FUNDS, NHF POOLS FUNDS FROM EVERY EMPLOYEE ALLOWING CONTRIBUTORS TO BORROW MONEY AGAINST OWNING A HOME.”

The financial expert further stated:

“NHF HAS LARGELY UNDERPERFORMED DUE TO THE WAY IT WAS STRUCTURED THUS THE CHANGE OF THE LAW. BEFORE NOW NHF WAS NOT MANDATORY WHICH WAS WHY IT DID NOT HAVE THE FUND SIZE REQUIRED TO CREATE LOANS AND SUPPORT THE HOUSING SECTOR. BY MAKING IT MANDATORY, MORE FUNDS WILL BE CHANNELED TO THE FUND MAKING IT EASIER FOR CONTRIBUTORS TO BORROW.

THIS IS A SIMILAR MODEL TO WHAT ESUSU’S HAVE USED EFFECTIVELY FOR YEARS NOW. A ROBUST NHF WILL ALSO HELP CREATE NEW FINANCIAL SERVICES PRODUCTS SUCH AS HEDGING AND DERIVATIVES WHICH WILL HELP REDUCE LENDING RISKS.”

Similarly, a housing industry expert, Mr. John T. Ikyaave, described the recent passage of the revised NHF bill as a positive development. According to him:

“THE NEW NHF BILL, WHICH IS NOW AWAITING THE ASSENT OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, WOULD SUPPORT THE PROVISION OF HOUSING LOANS AT BEST AND LOWEST MARKET INTEREST RATES OF BETWEEN SIX AND NINE PERCENT THAT CAN BE PAID FOR A PERIOD OF UP TO 35 YEARS.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of AfriSwiss Capital Management Limited, Mr. Kalu Aja, faulted the NHF proposed law;

“THE PROPOSED NHF LAW TAKES PRIVATE SECTOR PROFITS AND TRANSFERS TO A GOVERNMENT PROGRAM, WITHOUT IMPOSING A TAX. IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNEMNT CAN UNILATERALLY DEBIT PROFIT BEFORE TAXES (PBT), THEN WHAT STOPS ANOTHER GOVERNMENT DEBITING PBT TO FUND “WATER FOR ALL?

“THE PROPOSED LAW ACCUMULATES SAVINGS AT A NEGATIVE RATE , THUS A HUGE OPPORTUNITY COST TO “SAVERS”. ALL THESE WITHOUT A MENTION OF THE LAND USE ACT, CREDIT RATING EVEN COST OF HOMES.”

He stated further,

“RATHER THAN A PUNITIVE FUND, TAKE THE UNCLAIMED DIVIDEND FUND AND “LEND” TO THE NMRF AT 2% PER ANNUM FOR A 30 YEAR ZERO COUPON BOND. TRANSFER THE NLNG DIVIDENDS TO THIS FUND AS WELL. CREATE A N1TRILLION REFINANCE FUND, LET DEVELOPERS BUILD AFFORDABLE HOMES…..THEN SECURITIZE THE RENTALS INTO A MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITY AND SELL TO THE NMRF….AS WAS DESIGNED.”

Source: NairaMetrics

Buhari To launch Pension Plan for Informal Workers Tomorrow

President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow in Abuja launch a Micro Pension Plan (MPP) for the 69 million informal sector workers in Nigeria.

This was confirmed in a statement released yesterday by the Head of Corporate Communications of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Peter Aghahowa.

Aghahowa said the MPP was “part of the initiatives to bring financial inclusion to all working Nigerians.”

The plan, which is an initiative of PenCom, aims at the provision of pension services to self-employed persons in the informal sector and employees of organisations with less than three staff.

Data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that the informal sector constitutes an estimated 69 million workforce in the country and represents an estimated 88 percent of Nigerian workers that lack pensions and safety nets for their old age.

The statement said the goal of PenCom is to achieve coverage of 30 million people in the informal sector by 2024.

“The formal launch is the official flag off of the Plan and attests to the objective of the current administration to provide ample opportunities for financial inclusion and economic stability for more Nigerians in the informal sector. This initiative gives the self-employed professionals, entertainers, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, artisans, and casual workers opportunity to save for pension,” the statement said.

Source: DailyTrustNg

Buildings collapse: Offenders’ll face full wrath of the law, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday warned that those who cut corners that resulted in building collapse in the country will face the full wrath of the law.

He gave the warning while receiving the leadership of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the recent building collapse demands urgent adherence to quality standards.

He said “However, the recent tragic incident in Lagos and many others across the country, reminds us of the need to strictly adhere to quality standards when it comes to construction projects.

 

“Young innocent lives must never be lost due to incompetence and greed. Simply put, no corners must be cut.

“l want to assure you that those responsible for such incidents of professional negligence will feel the full wrath of the law,” he said

Stressing that his administration remain committed to the Change Agenda, he said that the dark days of impunity are gone for good.

He said “As a Government, we remain focused and committed to ensuring we create an inclusive and diversified economy. This simply means National growth must impact the silent majority.

“This is why in the past three years; we focused on key job creating sectors such as Agriculture and Infrastructure Development.

“You will all recall that our Agriculture and Infrastructure programs contributed to our exit from the recession. This is a clear example of how, if we push “inclusive” job creating policies, growth will follow.

“We will remain committed to these and other programs, to ensure the success of our nation is felt by the majority of Nigerians.

“With our significant infrastructure deficit, your sector has the potential and the bandwidth to create impactful jobs across the country. Both urban and rural areas.”

Towards commencing dialogue, he urged them to make formal submission to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing as soon as possible.

“Like you mentioned in your remarks, many of your members are currently working in Government and I am confident we can commence these reforms within the shortest possible time.” he added

 

The President of NIQS, Obafemi Onashile congratulated the President on his well-deserved re-election as the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“And pray that Allah will continue to grant you good health, the grace and the strength to achieve your good intensions and aspiration for the Nation and to deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizenry.

“Your re-election is indeed a confirmation of the support for your policies on anti-corruption, rule of law, transparency which is magnified in your TSA (Treasury Single Account) Policy which all past administrations shied away from as well as your Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“Your Excellency, you can count on the NIQS to further push these programmes and much more on your behalf as they are sincere and meaningful for our Country.”

“Your Excellency Sir, we are here on a visit, not to only felicitate with you but to express our total confidence in your administration and leadership direction, which have brought hope, progress and stability to our Nation.”

He said “It is obvious that your government is listening government that is committed to improving the plights of the Nigerian citizens. Your recently signed Executive Orders No.5 and No.7 aptly exhibit a government interested in professional handling of governance. Your open war on corruption is also a testimony of sincerity of purpose and transparency of your government.

He said that construction projects are usually high capital intensive and could be readymade platforms for large scale corruption in any economy if not professionally managed with requisite discipline.

According to him, the Construction Industry is the second industry potentials for greatest impact on the National Economy of any nation.

The Construction Industry, he said, plays a very pivotal role in infrastructure delivery, massive employment, domestic manufacturing, through many cottage industries for producing glass, ceramics, iron billets and rods, aluminum sheets and profiles, paints, plywood and timber profiles that can be consumed locally and even exported to other neighbouring countries to earn foreign exchange.

“With a booming Construction Industry, other construction resources such as construction plants and vehicles will become locally assembled/made and thereby oiling the national economy for exponential performance.”

The importance of having a booming Construction industry, he noted cannot be over- emphasized.

“This is why on behalf of the Construction Industry; our Institute is calling attention of the Federal Government to areas where the industry can be freed of shackles holding its performance down.

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“These shackles we shall enumerate as follows: Unclear delineation of Professional functions amongst construction professions within the Government. There is an urgent need to create a Directorate of Quantity Surveying and Project Costs Management, just like we have Directorates of Civil Engineering as well as Housing.”

He said that the Quantity Surveyors should be mandated and allowed to undertake Cost Management of projects of all forms on behalf of Government.

He said that Engineers should be compelled to focus and deliver on designs and implementations of Projects and leave costing and Cost Control to the Quantity Surveyors.

“The acknowledgement that projects are now more complicated and complex thus the need for and recognition of the services of Professional Project Managers on large government projects in order to stem project failures.

“Quantity Surveyors have in the recent years improved on our proficiencies and we do now possess relevant capacity to manage any size of projects together with the retinue of any combination of project teams. Even where projects are being donated to the government or being designed abroad and built by multinationals, Quantity Surveyors should be considered for appointments as Project Managers to act for the government,” he said.

Source: TheNation

Millions Fear Losing Their Homes Across Africa – Survey

Cape Town — Tens of millions of urban dwellers in Sub-Saharan Africa live in fear of losing their homes against their will, a new study says.

The study, which its authors describe as “ground-breaking”, shows that in 18 countries surveyed, nearly 32 million adults in urban areas are “insecure in their rights to their home and land.”

Projected across all of Sub-Saharan Africa, “that means there could be more than 60 million adults living in urban areas… who are tenure insecure,” the study adds, and if the trend continues, the insecurity could afflict more than 210 million by 2050.

Measuring security of tenure is one of the indicators used to assess progress in attaining the first of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is the eradication of poverty.

The study was carried out by Prindex, an initiative launched by two think tanks – the Global Land Alliance and the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – with support from the Omidyar Network. It also covered countries in South-East Asia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East and, in Europe, the United Kingdom.

Surveyed on their expectations for the next five years, one in four adults across 33 countries said they were likely or very likely to lose their homes.

Anna Locke of the ODI said the survey showed for the first time “that every morning, hundreds of millions of people around the world wake up fearing they might lose their home. This should make us reconsider how we think about development.”

The findings were “alarming”, added Malcolm Childress of the Global Land Alliance: “People who are insecure in their homes often struggle to plan for their future, invest money or get an education.”

Locke said a finding that women felt less secure than men in event of divorce or death of their partner was “particularly striking – it shows there is a long way to go in meeting the aspiration of equal economic rights for women worldwide.”

The survey showed that although in general Sub-Saharan Africans perceive they have less security of tenure than do people living in other parts of the world, there was one particularly surprising exception. Of the 33 nations surveyed, Rwanda did best, with only eight percent of urban dwellers feeling their tenure threatened – fewer than in the United Kingdom.

Burkina Faso and Liberia did worst, with 44 percent and 43 percent of adults respectively fearing losing their homes. In Burkina Faso, respondents cited their biggest fears as being government seizures of their property, family disputes, company seizures and problems with local and customary authorities. Family disputes ranked high among the worries of Liberians as well.also.

The percentage of people feeling at risk in their homes in other countries surveyed, ranging from those feeling most insecure to least insecure:

  • Benin 34 percent, Nambia 32 percent, Cameroon 31 percent;
  • Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Niger 28 percent, Zambia 27 percent, Ghana and Uganda 26 percent;
  • Madagascar 25 percent, Mozambique 24 percent, Nigeria 22 percent, Malawi, Senegal and Tanzania 21 percent.

Other reasons for tenure insecurity cited: government seizures in Malawi, Rwanda and Senegal; family disputes in Ghana; concern at owners or renters asking people to leave in Madagascar and Rwanda; and death of a household member in Nigeria, Ghana and Niger.

Source: Prindex

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