How efforts to solve housing deficit causes inter-professional rivalry in the sector

Faced with over 17 million housing deficits and 108 million Nigerians estimated to be homeless, based on an average family of six people per housing unit, the country is in dire need of solutions to its huge housing needs.

Expectedly, professionals in the sector are looked up to, in mapping out strategies for mitigating shortfalls in the sector. However, the evolution of specialization in the industry has brought about inter-professional rivalry among the key players in the sector.

Regrettably, instead of prompting increased development, there has been concerns as to who does what and who is not trained to carry out a particular responsibility.

According to sector’s observers, intra-industry rivalry among the players has slowed down expected growth.

Overtime, there has been issues of overlapping of roles and responsibilities which require finding a common ground on such peculiar matters.

For instance, the Quantity Surveyor is a specialist in cost related matters as well as in feasibility studies and labour costs.

But engineers could also handle these jobs especially, when quantity surveying is seen as a branch of cost engineering and part of International Cost Engineering council. Another area of contention is on the issue of professional competence on plant, equipment and machinery (PEM) valuation. The profession duly recognized by law to carry out valuation of all assets and produce a value is estate surveying and valuation.

The scope of valuation includes, lands and buildings, furniture and fittings, office equipment, plant, equipment and machinery. The inclusion of the latter in the valuers scope of work is the causative factor of the feud.

President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Rowland Abonta said members of the institution are the only professional body enabled by Nigerian law to practice valuation and put stamp and seal concerning the value of any kind of assets.

He said over many years ago, the engineers had threw up a challenge wanting to do valuation explaining that the challenge first came up in their attempt to do NEPA asset valuation but the matter was taken up to General Kontagora, who was then the minister of Works, Power and Housing.

He noted that the ministry had to seek the view of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) to confirm who has the professional capacity to carry out valuation.

“The RICS, then confirmed that it is the members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers that are registered are the ones empowered to put value on any asset”, he said.

Abonta observed that the best engineers could do is to provide what is called, a technical report on ‘Plants and Equipment’ which would be interpreted and be made use of in arriving as to the value of assets.

Mr. Victor Adekunle Alonge, the Chairman of the Abuja branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the chairman, Professional Practice Committee, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), supported Abonta’s position.

According to him, engineers cannot be valuers as they are not trained to be, estate surveyors and valuers will not be engineers, so engineers can never be valuers.

Alonge, who spoke recently with The Guardian, said as far as the law is concerned, the only profession entitled to actually put value on assets, whether engineering or power and marine assets is the estate surveyors and valuers.

According to him, the turf is wide enough for all of us to practice and collaborate. No profession can exist in isolation. We need to work together.

He said, “There is no absolute reason why engineers should continue to dissipate energy unnecessarily on this issue, rather they should start looking at how we can work together to optimize the value of our national assets for the benefit of the people”.

But the immediate past president of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Anyaeji Otis said the problem with NIESV has been on since early 2000.

He said: “ We have been having issues because they feel that engineers should not do valuation. But the law says otherwise. The law recognises engineers as valuers. If you go to Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Section 137 it is there. Section 137 of the law describes professionals, who are valuers as accountants, surveyors, engineers and auditors.

If you also go to Engineers Act, the description of practice of engineers, valuation is also there. When we actually took the matter to Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), they eventually ruled that there is no exclusivity in terms of any of those professions mentioned in the law. That all of them have the right in those perspective specialised areas. So they felt not satisfied with that but that is not what we go by, we go by what the law says”, he added.

In a tacit acquiescence with Otis’ position, a former Chairman of the Apapa Branch of NSE, Dr. Ombugadu Garba noted, “As a professional Engineer, you know that an estate developer cannot value equipment. When you give an estate surveyor and valuer, an equipment to value, he might not be able to understand the real value of that equipment because he doesn’t have the required engineering knowledge.

On costing, Otis said when it comes to highways, railways, airports, refineries, sewage plants, electrical and plumbing works in the building, it is the engineers that estimate those costs.
“Even quantity surveyors are not even brought in properly even in their own areas when all these costs are determined. Economists just do what they have to do. The thing is that economist does not estimate projects cost, it is the engineer that estimates project cost and where buildings are concerned, and quantity surveyors are involved”, he said.

Speaking on the issue, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of NIQS, Ayuba Akere said efforts are being made to ensure that there is peace and harmony among professionals in the built environment.
According to him, all professionals are united under an umbrella called, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN).

He said, “The main aim here is to have a common voice to tackle issues of national interest. That can only be achieved if there is harmony within professionals of different backgrounds. Acrimony can be seen if one professional group is trying to do the work of another group. Rather than looking for areas of conflict, what we should be clamouring for should be how to jointly face challenges that are of common interest to all professionals thereby ensuring that each professional group remains relevant and none goes into extinction”.

He stated that the core duties of each professional group are now available at almost next to nothing on online.

“A touch on relevant applications will give you desired results”, he added.

CCECC commence work on Lagos-Ibadan rail project

The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation handling the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line has commenced overnight work on the project in order to fast-track its construction and make the standard gauge line available for use early next year.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to inspect the project from Lagos to Abeokuta in the first week of January, according to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

About two weeks ago, the minister, who bemoaned attacks by hoodlums and armed robbers on the CCECC’s workers among other factors slowing down the construction, said the December 2018 deadline initially set for the completion of the standard project was no longer feasible. He gave February 2019 as the new date.

In order to meet up with the new date, the contractor said it had stepped up efforts to mobilise more workers and equipment to the site.

The Public Relations Consultant to the CCECC, Abdurraof Akinwoye, said that the Chinese contractor commenced overnight work on the rail project about three weeks ago.

He specifically said more men and materials were drafted to the Iju, Agbado and Ijoko areas of the railway corridor for the overnight work.

He said, “This is to make it possible to move the new train from Iju to Abeokuta by January 5 as requested by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.”

Akinwoye said maximum security had been put in place for the workers working day and night at different project locations between Lagos and Ibadan, adding, “The Federal Government has approved the deployment of armed security men in the various locations.

“At night, we have soldiers, police, OPC and other private security agencies involved in the combined security force on regular patrol of the corridor, especially the construction sites.”

He added that since work started on the project, they had not recorded a single case of kidnapping, attributing this to the efforts of the security agencies and excellent community relations which the contractor had established with residents along the railway corridor.

He said the construction of the standard gauge rail line meant to take three years was being done under two years.

 Meanwhile, Amaechi said on Tuesday during the monthly inspection of the rail project at Odeda in Ogun State, “We are gradually coming to the end of the project. Today, we are 6km from Abeokuta. I have been assured that we will be able to ride from Iju to Abeokuta by the first week of January.

“The idea is to bring the Vice-President and some ministers to join us in the ride. And so far, we have installed anti-theft track to guard again theft. I will tell the CCECC to concentrate on the track for now by focusing on one rail track to the end because work will be faster that way while they can continue with the other lane.”

The minister also said one of the gains of the project was that no fewer than 9,000 Nigerians were on the payroll of the counterpart funding of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project of the Federal Government and the CCECC.

The Chairman, House Committee on Lands and Transportation, Jibril Abdulmumuni, said he had to join in the inspection with his committee members to inspect the project so as to be able to give firsthand information to the House about the level of work done.

“I just told my colleagues that I will personally go and see Mr President and tell him what we have witnessed and Nigerians should know that a lot of work is going on here,” he said.

 

Four Consortiums Battle For $1.4biliion Uganda Road Project

A clutch of European, Turkish and Chinese firms, in four consortiums, will battle it out for a major expressway scheme in Uganda that will see the winner build and operate the toll road for 30 years.

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Strabag and Vinci are among the European firms set to challenge China’s dominance in African infrastructure with the project to build a 95-km highway from the capital Kampala east to the town of Jinja, on the shore of Lake Victoria.

The Uganda National Roads Authority announced the four shortlisted consortia, were picked from an original field of eight.

The joint ventures are: China Communications Construction Co. /China First Highway Engineering Co.;KJ Connect (Portugal)/Vinci Concessions (France)/Mota-Engil (Portugal);Strabag (Austria)/IC Ictas (Turkey);CCKS, a joint venture of Chinese and South Korean firms.

Reports indicate, that the scheme is expected to cost $1.4bn, of which the winning JV will have to raise $800m, with the remainder supplied by the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the European Union.

The expressway is part of the Northern Corridor that links Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

 

Govt To Bridge Road Infrastructure Deficit With N100bn Sukuk Fund

The Federal Government has pledged to boost infrastructure provision with the N100billion Sukuk Bond.

Speaking at the sovereign Sukuk public offer-investor forum at the weekend in Lagos, Patience Oniha, Director General of DMO, said the success of the first N100bn Sukuk Bond launched in 2017 was down to the fact that the Nigerian financial market, as well as investors, were getting more refined and therefore arousing the interest of many.

According to Oniha the 2017 N100bn Sukuk, which was 5.8 per cent over-subscribed, ensured execution of road projects across all regions of the country.

She further said the main objective of the second Sukuk issue was to sustain the rehabilitation and construction work on 25 key economic roads in the six-geopolitical zones with the roads now added for more reach.

‘‘We are happy to be participating in this initiative, which will contribute to narrowing the country’s infrastructure deficit.”

Subscribers can purchase N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiple of N1,000 with FBNQuest and Islamic Wealth Manager, Lotus Capital, managing the sales.

Just as the Sukuk II Bond was launched, the House Committee on Works also revealed that the bond had assisted in mobilising a lot of contractors handling various Federal Governments’ projects back to site.

Alhaji Ali Wudil, Chairman of the committee, disclosed this when he led the committee members on an oversight visit to some projects in Kano State, most of which were executed under the Sukuk Bond.

Wudil said most of the projects had been abandoned for years, but that the Sukuk Bond had mobilised the contractors back to site.

“As you can see, works are on-going in most of the areas we visited and this is possible because of the Sukuk Bond. Some of these projects were started since 2006 and are not yet completed due to unavailability of funds, which has resulted to review upon review of the projects and you know what that entails. Nevertheless, at committee level, we are satisfied with the level attained and the quality of the jobs being executed.”

Mr. Roy Hungushi, Project Manager, Dantata and Sawoe, handling the Kano Western By-pass, told the committee that the 26.6km road awarded since 2007 at the cost of N13.2bn had now escalated to N22bn due to lack of funds that warranted for series of review.

Mr. Hungushi added that with the Sukuk, the company was able return to site and that with adequate funding the project would be completed in good time.

The committee visited about eight sites, most of which were funded with the Sukuk bond, including the multi-billion naira Abuja-Kano Road.

Earlier, Kemi Adeosun, former Minister of Finance while presenting the N100 billion Sukuk bond proceeds to Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing had said that the 25 roads would be fixed with this fund.

According to her, the proceeds would be used to support the federal government’s capital spending for 2017.

She said: “The proceeds will be used to further support government capital spending for 2017 – the construction and rehabilitation of 25 key economic roads across the six geo-political zones of the country. “The roads will ease commuting, spur economic activities across the country and further close our infrastructural gap. Each of the six geo-political zones is expected to receive the sum of N16.67 billion for road projects in their respective zones.

In southwest, the bond is to be used for the reconstruction of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Shagamu dual carriageway (Phase 3 and the dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin road (Section 2). Three roads were identified in south south.  They include rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt road (Section, dualization of Yenagwa road junction- kolo-Otuoke Bayelsa Palm and dualization of Lokoja-Benin road (Section 2-4).

In southeast, rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu expressway and rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt road (Section 1-3) are to be done. While in North Central there would be construction of Loko Oweto Bridge, dualization of Abuja-Lokoja road (Section 1 and 4), dualization of Suleja –Minna road (Phase 2) and dualization of Lokoja-Benin road (Section 1).

Northeast will have dualization of Kano-Maiduguri road (Section 2-5), northwest will have dualization of Kano-Maiduguri road (Section), dualization of Kano-Kastina road (Phase 1) and Construction of Kano Western bypass and Kaduna Eastern bypass.

Source: Emmanuel Badejo

Aviation and infrastructure development are catalyst for economic growth , FG

President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday said his administration before now has recognised aviation industry and building of infrastructure, as a catalyst for economic growth thereby hinges on proper plan to harvest the benefits for a better Nigerian economy.

President Buhari states this in Abuja yesterday while commission ultra morder international aviation terminal at the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja. The president while delivering his keynote address said that the gesture has yet represented another significant milestone for International air travellers in and out of the Federal Capital Territory. “You will recall that on the 25th October, 2018, I commissioned Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal.

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During the event, the Honourable Minister of State (Aviation) stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal, Abuja would be completed and ready for commissioning before the end of the year. Today, that promise has been kept. I wish to commend the Honourable Minister and his team for a job well done. “With the commissioning of this Terminal, Nigeria is moving towards achieving and meeting global aviation standards in facilitation, passenger processing and service delivery in tandem with international best practices”, he said.

The President notes that his Administration recognises aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and as such will continue to encourage and support the actualization of projects that will place Nigerian Airports amongst the best in the world, observing that the occasion reflects Government’s deliberate policy to sustain the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure. We are gradually closing the infrastructural deficit bedevilling our country. “I am happy to note the progress being made in both the airports and sea ports on the implementation of the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business.

Government officials manning these gateways are to sustain the momentum and ensure travellers in and out of the country have the best of experience as a necessary complement to the ultra-modern terminal. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal is the first airport terminal to be connected to rail transport system in the Country and indeed in the region. This has provided passengers and other airport users with a choice in the mode of transport to and from the city centre.

I recall taking a ride from the City Metro station to the Airport on the day the rail line was commissioned. I wish to assure you therefore, that Government remains committed to developing Nigeria into Regional air transportation hub and thereby assuming its leadership in the aviation sub sector in Africa.” President Buhari, appreciated the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation), the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and the China Exim Bank for their financial support and the various roles they played leading to the successful completion of this project. Let me also commend the contractor Messrs CCECC for delivering this project on time. Speaking in collaboration, Senator Ibn La Ala, representing the Senate President Bukola Saraki, stated that Nigeria presently at the fore front of championing the aviation transportation in Africa and should recieves quicker legislative attention. He said that in the recent times, Nigerians effort had gained international recognised so like ICAO certification and lots. He revealed that that the Senate committee on aviation has been mandated to ensure that proper and timely legislative intervention is given to the industry.

Meanwhile Minister of State for Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that Dr. Namdi Asikiwe International airport new terminal commissioning, is the second in the series of Airport terminals to be commissioned from the projects funded by the China-Exim bank loan of $500m with a counterpart funding of $100m from the debt management office. Sirika, however, observed that from political and economic perspectives, the airport is very strategic to Nigeria not only because it is the gateway to the nations capital but also because it the second busiest airport in the country and the fastest growing in passenger traffic in West and Central Africa, with an average growth rate of 8 per cent, where the world average growth is 5.8 per cent.

The airport according to him, processed 5,709,012 passengers in 2017. This volume equals to about 13 times the total number of passengers recorded by Ghana as a country. “The terminal building you are about to commission Mr President, has annual passenger capacity of 15m covering a space of approximately 56,000m2. It also has the following facilities as well as capabilities; 72 check-in counters. “The new terminal has 5 baggage collection carousels 28 immigration desks at arrival and 16 at departure 8 security screening points 8 passenger boarding bridges.” By Idu Jude, Abuja

Court Orders Closure of Banex Plaza

The popular Banex Plaza located in Wuse 2, Abuja, was on Friday sealed off on the alleged order of a magistrate court.The Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) had gone to court asking for the vacation of the premises by Banex Plaza tenants.

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The chairman, who sued for calm, said they would seek redress in court for such an order to be vacated. Chibuike Nzedinma, Chairman, Banex Plaza Wuse 2 Tenants Association, told reporters that the closure was uncalled for.Mr Nzedinma said the board failed to officially notify them about the said court order.

“Some weeks back, the AEPB told us that they were going to use the plaza as a mobile court.“But we could not see any mobile court on the said date, I personally went round to check but could not see, surprisingly, they sealed off some of our shops,” he said.

The chairman, who sued for calm, said they would seek redress in court for such an order to be vacated Also, Nkoli Unachukwu, a tenant, said such closure was detrimental to economic development of the country.

bMrs Unachukwu said they had lost millions of Naira due to the closure.She called on the federal government to intervene to prevent shut down of businesses in the plaza. AEPB had allegedly demanded to use the premises for mobile court.

Infrastructural Development:Ugwuanyi Awards Multiple Contracts

The administration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, in keeping with its resolve to sustain the tempo of infrastructural development both at the urban and rural areas, yesterday, awarded multiple contracts for infrastructural development across the state, at the sum of over N1 billion.

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The road projects, according to the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji, who briefed newsmen after the meeting of the State Executive Council (EXCO) include, the completion of Akpakwume-Nze-Aku road, between Udi and Igbo Etiti Local Government Areas (phase one) and the construction of culverts/ river crossing along Nike Lake Junction-Harmony Estate- Amorji Nike-Adoration Ministry road—a bypass (phase one), in Enugu East LGA.

Others include: rehabilitation/construction of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Boulevard in Enugu North LGA; construction of Amalla Orba-Orie Orba-Eke Ovoko road (phase one), Udenu LGA; and the Amaechnenu junction to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Eha Alumona in Nsukka LGA.

The Council also approved the purchase of five fire trucks for the newly constructed fire service stations across the three senatorial districts of Enugu State. Also briefing newsmen, the Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Gab Onuzulike, disclosed that the fire-fighting equipment were expediently approved by the Council to ensure that the five new service stations commence full operation for safety of lives and property.

FG Commissions New Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal

President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned a new terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, which has a capacity to process 15 million passengers every year and covers a space of approximately 56,000 square metres.

He said it is in line with his administration’s promise to complete the project before the end of December. At the event, Buhari gave the assurance that the Federal Government is committed to developing Nigeria to a regional air transportation hub, thereby assuming its leadership in the aviation sub-sector in Africa. He recalled that the promise to inaugurate the project was made on Oct. 25 when he inaugurated Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal in Rivers.

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“You will recall that on the 25th October, 2018, I commissioned Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal. “During the event, the Honourable Minister of State (Aviation) stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal, Abuja, would be completed and ready for commissioning before the end of the year. “Today, that promise has been kept. I wish to commend the Honourable Minister and his team for a job well done. President Buhari said that with the inauguration of the Terminal, Nigeria was moving towards achieving and meeting global aviation standards in facilitation, passenger processing and service delivery in tandem with international best practices.

“This Administration recognises aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and as such will continue to encourage and support the actualisation of projects that will place Nigerian Airports amongst the best in the world. “This event,reflects Government’s deliberate policy to sustain the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure. “We are gradually closing the infrastructural deficit bedevilling our country.” he said. President Buhari expressed delight at the progress being made in both the airports and sea ports on the implementation of the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business. He, therefore, challenged government officials manning these gateways at the airports and sea ports to sustain the momentum and ensure travellers in and out of the country have the best of experience as a necessary complement to the ultra-modern terminal.

The president said the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal, Abuja, was the first airport terminal to be connected to rail transport system in the country and in the region. “This has provided passengers and other airport users with a choice in the mode of transport to and from the city centre. “I recall taking a ride from the City Metro station to the Airport on the day the rail line was commissioned,’’ he said.

The president commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation), the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and the China Exim Bank for their financial support and the various roles they played leading to the successful completion of the project. He particularly lauded the contractor, Messrs CCECC, for delivering the project on time. In his remarks, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the new NAIA terminal was the second in the series of airport terminals to be inaugurated from the projects funded by the China-Exim bank loan of 500 million dollars with a counterpart funding of 100 millon dollars from the debt management office.

He said that from political and economic perspectives “this airport is very strategic to Nigeria not only because it is the gateway to the nation’s capital, but also because it the second busiest airport in the country.’’ Sirika said that the airport was also the fastest growing in passenger traffic in West and Central Africa with an average growth rate of eight per cent, while the world’s average growth was 5.8 per cent. He said that the airport processed 5,709,012 passengers in 2017. “This volume equals to about 13 times the total number of passengers recorded by Ghana as a country.

“The terminal building you commissioned Mr President, has annual passenger capacity of 15 million covering a space of approximately 56,000m2. “It also has the following facilities as well as capabilities – 72 check-in counters, five baggage collection carousels, 28 immigration desks at arrival and 16 at departure, eight security screening points and eight passenger boarding bridges,’’ he said. Other facilities at the terminal, he said, included walkway to link the FCT metro rail, additional apron for remote parking of aircraft and linkway to domestic wing.

2019 budget:Power,Works,Housing get lion share

The Federal Ministry of Power, Works & Housing has the highest allocation according to the breakdown of the 2019 budget released by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma.

The Ministry got N408 billion followed by Federal Ministry of Transportation N194.24 billion , while Ministry of Defence stood at N 158.12 billion. In his explanation, Udoma said: “We have allocated N2.28 trillion for capital spending, inclusive of capital in statutory transfers. For comprehensiveness and transparency, the expenditure plans of the top 9 Government Owned Enterprises, GOEs, as well as Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral project-tied loans have been integrated into the 2019 – 2021 Medium Term Fiscal Framework. With the inclusion of N275.88 billion representing capital for the top-nine GOEs and N556.02 billion for Multi-lateral/Bi-lateral project-tied loans, the aggregate capital budget is N3.12 trillion.

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This represents 30 percent of the total FGN proposed expenditure for 2019. In order to get full value for monies expended by the Government over time and to avoid duplication and waste, our emphasis will continue to be on completion of existing projects.

Accordingly, provisions have been made to carry over projects that are not likely to be fully funded under the 2018 budget to the 2019 capital budget.”

While highlighting on the 2019 budget revenue proposals, he stated that distribution of expected FGN revenue are as follows: Oil revenue – 52.9 percent, CIT – 11.5percent, VAT – 3.3 percent, Customs – 4.3 percent, Independent Revenue – 9.0 percent, Signature Bonus 1.2 percent, JV Equity Restructuring 10.2 percent, Grants & Donor Funding 3.0 percent, Domestic Recoveries & Fines 2.9 percent and Others -1.7 percent. According to him, “We have again, reflected projected proceeds from oil assets ownership restructuring as revenues for transparency and monitoring. Expected funds have been earmarked to fund critical capital projects as this was not achieved in 2018.”

Udoma further stressed that the 2019 Budget of Continuity is intended to further reposition the economy on the path of higher, inclusive, diversified and sustainable growth, and to continue to lift significant numbers of our citizens out of poverty. “The Budget also reflects the key execution priorities of the ERGP, namely Restoring Macroeconomic Stability; Agriculture and Food Security; Energy Sufficiency (in Power and Petroleum Products); Transportation Infrastructure; and Industrialization (focusing on SMEs). Government will continue to create the enabling environment for private sector to increase their investment and contribute significantly to job creation and economic growth.

“Already, diversification efforts are yielding positive results with significant growth in the non-oil sector (2.32 percent growth in Q3 2018, up from 2.05 percent in Q2 2018). Nigeria faces significant challenges with respect to revenue generation and this is being tackled vigorously. Key reforms will be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management. Our aim is to take all measure necessary to ensure that we grow rapidly while maintaining fiscal sustainability” he noted.

Affa Dickson Acho

Court suspends housing fund levy in Kenya

The High Court in Nairobi has temporarily suspended the 1.5 per cent National Housing Development Fund, set to be levied on all salaried workers.Central organizations of Trade Unions(COTU), had gone to court to challenge the Government’s decision to levy workers in a bid to finance the ambitious housing project.In its suit, Cotu argues that there was no public participation before the Government imposed the tax under the Finance Act, 2018, making it unconstitutional.

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Justice Hellen Wasilwa suspended the levy, pending the hearing of the case, terming the suit extremely urgent.

“I direct that the matter be heard on January 21, 2019 and the respondents should be served with this order by then,” said Wasilwa. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his Transport, Infrastructure and Housing counterpart James Macharia and the Attorney General are named as respondents in the case, while the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) is named as an interested party.

The trade union says deduction of 1.5 per cent of employees’ basic salaries will force people into servitude, resulting in widespread public discontent.In an affidavit, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli argues that sections of the Act require a serious public debate to enable stakeholders understand the implications of the provisions. Atwoli stated that the amendment of section 31A of the Act contravenes Article 118 of the Constitution — with respect to facilitation of public participation and involvement in its legislative and other business as there was no consultation with stakeholders in the labour movement.

“The petitioner is opposed to the proposed amendments due to the fact that they don’t promote good governance, accountability and transparency,” he says.Similarly, Atwoli says introducing the 1.5 per cent housing development levy will result in an increase in the general price levels across various sectors. This in turn will lead to high cost of living and increased inflation, he avers.

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