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How Proposed Communication Service Tax Affects You

The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMCA) has warned the Senate and Nigerians against the implementation of the proposed 9% Communication Service Tax on voice calls, SMS, data usage and Pay per View TV stations.

GSMCA, a trade body that represents interests of mobile network operators worldwide, argued if implemented, the tax, which has been abandoned for two years before it was revisited by the Senate, would boost the nation’s poverty rate.

What it means: It imposes and collect communication services tax (CST or levy) on charges payable by consumers of electronic communication services in Nigeria (excluding private electronic communication services) at the rate of 9%.

GSMCA argued that the proposed tax would threatens economic growth and would further deepen poverty in the country where about 30 million more people have been projected to fall into the poverty bracket in the next 10 years.

Tax will affect poor households: Based on a research on the impact of taxation on mobile communication services, the association said the tax would have a negative impact on poor households in the country. It would discourage the use of communication services in remote or rural areas due to the impact it will have on cost of voice calls, SMS and data usage.

The body advised that the country should not roll out fiscal policy that discourages the use of broadband services.

According to GSMA, if Nigeria does not implement the proposed tax, its economy would experience unprecedented growth, as the International Telecommunications Union stated that a 10% increase in mobile penetration in a sample of African countries yields a 2.5% increase in GDP per capita.

Is the government shooting itself in the foot? Speaking on the proposed tax, GSMA’s Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Akinwale Goodluck, said, “The government’s long-term digital ambitions will be severely compromised if these tax proposals go ahead.

“The potential of mobile broadband is clear from the rapid development of the digital economy in Nigeria. The mobile ecosystem already contributes over $21billion to the Nigerian economy and around 16% of total government tax revenue. The focus should be on boosting mobile penetration, and investment in networks to strengthen the economy, rather than undermining this through potentially punitive taxes.”

Affordability issue already existing: Goodluck said the adoption of communication services was low in the country where fixed-line penetration was at less than 1%, so implementing such tax would hamper much-needed penetration.

“Based on GSMA analysis of the total cost of mobile ownership, a 1GB basket in Nigeria cost around 7% of average income in 2018.

“The affordability barrier is particularly evident for lower-income citizens in Nigeria for whom access to a 1GB basket would cost around 24 per cent of income. The new tax, even if only partly reflected in prices, will exacerbate an already significant affordability barrier and hamper the uptake and usage of services, especially for lower-income citizens.”

 

Telecommunications companies in Nigeria have also condemned the re-introduction of the tax by the 9th National Assembly, stating that the decision would only place more burden on Nigerians. The Association Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said the tax would affect the standard of living of Nigerians.

According to the association, the purchasing power of Naira is low, imposing tax on essential services like calls, texts and data will further drag it down.

The Nigerian Senate had proposed the 9% CST in a bid to boost the revenue of the Federal Government.

The Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, stated that Nigeria had revenue problem. Hence, President Buhari’s administration and the National Assembly have been drafting potential revenue sources.

Source: nairametrics

Abuja Decays, Stinks

FCT infrastructure in ruins, satellite towns turn to slumps

Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), means different things to different folks. For some, it has semblance of a decent capital city as in other parts of the world. For another, Abuja is like a padded bra. It looks glorious on the surface, but stinks beneath it. For rural dwellers or residents of satellite towns, Abuja is a city for the rich.

These arguments have also resulted in constant questioning of the neglect of infrastructure in satellite towns. In Kubwa for instance, Abuja’s biggest satellite town, many residents believe that the infrastructure have “technically” collapsed.

There are no good roads, streetlights to lit up dark spots at night, traffic lights, security, regular power supply, water among others. Nyanya and other adjoining towns suffer the same fate. There is obviously no presence of government in these places in terms of security and basic infrastructure. Residents are left to cater for themselves.

The roads are in bad condition public schools are overcrowded, epileptic electricity services, high rate of crime, hooliganism and cultism among others. There is huge population shift to the communities without corresponding infrastructural expansion. Aside, some portions of Abuja-Keffi Expressway that receive periodic attention from Federal Government agency, roads in Nyanya and environs have become dead traps.

Residents of Jikwoyi, Kurudu and other large communities including Karshi, have also been forced to provide security, water, power and other basic amenities for themselves due to failure of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to do that.

A civil servant, Wilberforce Eke, who resides in Orozo, concluded that FCTA officials have gone on “official slumber” and have abandoned them: “It is very difficult to drive from Nyanya to Orozo now because of bad road. Some portions of the road have failed completely. There are deep holes in virtually every metre of the road and no one is doing anything about it.

“It is unfortunate that individuals have to gather resources sometimes to do temporary repair of the road. That is an indictment on the government. In addition to that, people are being robbed daily on same road particularly at night hours in spite of police check points on the road.”

Similarly, Victoria Akaze, who resides in Jikwoyi Phase 2, described the entire location as an “inhabitable slum” due to total absence of basic facilities for human living: “I took out time recently to move round Jikwoyi phases 1, 2, 3 and 4, and it was a pathetic situation. There was no presence of government there. There was no water, access road and other basic amenities for better human living.

“The little ones provided decades ago have been overstretched due to unprecedented influx of people to the location. Regrettably, nothing is being done to improve the peoples’ standard of living.” She appealed to FCTA and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to stop exploiting the masses through multiple tax and levy, and provide basic amenities for the people to encourage them pay tax and other levies.

The FCTA has its own alibi for failing to meet the growing demands of residents. Media aide to the Minister of State, FCT, Mr Austin Elemue, said the paucity of funds was a major setback for the administration. The minister is in charge of the area councils, where many abandoned satellite towns are located:

“The Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) was created as an interventionist agency to fill in the gaps in the area councils especially in the provisions of infrastructure in satellite towns and area councils. However, some of the abandoned projects as observed don’t amount to total failure on the part of FCTA, but basically due to paucity of funds. To me, the agency has done well within the available resources, but it can be better.

“Nevertheless, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the FCTA and its agencies to embark on completion of all abandoned and on going projects in the territory. I can assure you that residents of the territory will soon witness significant improvement in the provision of roads in areas like Lugbe, Kubwa and Nyanya.”

Source: sunnewsonline

Hey Housing Professionals, Your Jargon Isn’t Helping Consumers

“Woo hoo! FHA just increased loan limits! Give me a call today!”

Fannie and Freddie just did…”

FHFA just announced…”

Rates! Bond charts! Comps! CMAs! 15-year fixed! Jumbo! Blah blah blah.

How many of these posts do we see on social media from our fellow agents and lenders every day? Like, a bazillion! Probably more like six bazillion, if we’re being accurate. Certainly every time a loan limit is increased or interest rates make a big move.

It’s not necessarily the topic that is the issue, it’s the delivery of the topic that’s the problem.

Do you know what was missing from 5.999 bazillion of those posts? An explanation of what in the world a conforming loan even is! An explanation of how a major move in rates actually affects consumers’ purchasing power. Nothing tangible, just generic, unhelpful nonsense.

I can count on one hand how many times I saw a lender saying something tangible and actually helpful. Something like “this interest rate bump means the monthly payment on a $300,000 loan went up x-amount.”

Nope. Instead, just the same old crap that consumers “love” like, “Rates are going up! Better buy now! It’s never been a better time than right now!”

If you can’t educate consumers, you can’t help consumers. And if you can’t help them, then what the hell do they need us for?

After all, there’s an app for that now, isn’t there?

Do we realize who we’re actually talking to? You know, those people who aren’t in the real estate or mortgage industry. As in, the exact people we want to hire us. The people we spend ungodly amounts of money on each month just to get a chance to talk to.

Then we get our chance, and we pepper them with meaningless industry jargon! Smooth move, bro. Maybe the next $300 Zillow lead will be “the one.”

It’s truly stunning how little thought agents and loan officers put into crafting the messages they’re putting out there. They just copy a HousingWire headline, which is full of industry jargon (you know, because it’s written for the industry) and then turn around and use that exact terminology to tell consumers about it.

This topic has been a bug up my butt for years. It always makes me cringe when I see consumers talked over and confused rather than being educated or informed.

These last couple weeks especially, I’ve really been screaming about this on my podcast, my Alexa flash briefing, on social media, and anywhere else I can get agents and lenders to hear me. We’re only causing more confusion and noise, and adding to the perception that Realtors and lenders aren’t approachable or relatable. I yearn for the day that we stop proving that to be true.

So why do so many Realtors and loan officers talk over the heads of consumers, with no explanation or education included in the message? Is it arrogance? Is it laziness? Is it a simple lack of thinking through who we’re talking to and the language they actually speak? Unfortunately, I think it’s a combination of it all.

Do we realize that most agents, let alone consumers, don’t know what a conforming loan is? Many consumers don’t really know what an FHA loan is or what “comps” are.

Sure, they may have heard the terms before, but that’s it. They don’t understand the nuances of an FHA loan versus Conventional. A staggering number of consumers still believe that you must have 20% down to buy a home!

Again, they are not industry insiders. You are.

Don’t ever assume that consumers know what industry-specific terms mean or what the differences between loan programs are. Not everyone knows what an FHA loan is, or how it differs from Conventional or VA financing, and what that means to them. Don’t ever assume that an increase in loan limits means anything to anyone. Because it doesn’t. Again, most agents don’t even know themselves.

We have to explain these concepts. We have to educate and advise; teach and simplify. But more than just explaining, defining, and pontificating, we have to relate this stuff to the consumer.

What does an increase in conforming loan limits mean for them? How does that affect their ability to buy a home? Explain to your sellers that loan limit increases are good because the pool of potential buyers for their home just got bigger.

Don’t just tell consumers that interest rates went up or down. Show them how that affects their purchasing power. Does the change in rates mean the difference between a budget of $300,000 versus $330,000? Tell them that!

If rates are going up, don’t just give consumers that tired old line of “Now is the best time to buy or refinance because rates may go up even more!” Show them how it’s not the end of the world. Have them Google “Jimmy Carter mortgage rates” and magically, 10 seconds later, the jump in rates doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore.

Be a guide, a reliable, trusted resource to help consumers cut through the noise from all of our competitors who do nothing more than litter the internet with meaningless industry jargon. Anticipate the questions they may have and answer them up front. Many times they don’t even know what questions to ask. (Remember: They’re not actually agents or lenders!)

In this age of (too much) information, consumers are completely overwhelmed. They’re begging for clarity. They’re craving it.

If we don’t get their attention and gain their trust by being truly helpful, then some app will. Some Silicon Valley company with $1+ billion in funding and a huge marketing budget will come in and set the narrative.

None of us stand a chance against that if all we’re doing is confusing consumers and driving them into the hands of that fancy new app.

Source: Housingwire

‘Housing Requires a Proactive Approach’

New Zealand Central Bank Governor, Gabriel Makhlouf, arrived here from New Zealand under a cloud. It was a small cloud involving neither corruption nor incompetence, and was insufficient to convince those who recruited him that his expertise and experience did not fit the bill.

Nevertheless, it seems to have encouraged politicians, banking chiefs and others to pile in on the governor in an effort to get him to relax the rules that regulate the mortgage market. But the governor is not for turning.

The argument put forward in favour of an element of deregulation suggests that more people need to be assisted in getting a mortgage so they can get a foot on the property ladder; and that this, in turn, will help relieve pressure in the rental sector.

This presupposes that everyone has an entitlement to own their home and that renting is a only a temporary and, in some ways, inferior form of housing. But in this age of practically full employment, it may be true that almost anyone who wants a job can find one. But it does not follow that almost anyone can earn a wage that would support a mortgage.

The main restriction on the mortgage market is the limit of three and a half times’ gross annual income which some feel is too little because of current house prices. But this is not meant to equate to the price of a house, unless we are going to go back to 100pc mortgages. It is also meant to encourage saving for a deposit.

To do otherwise is to risk a return to the situation where property buyers take on unsustainable debt and could end up losing their homes. Current prices, according to the Central Bank, would be 26pc higher than they are if restrictions had not been applied. As it is, house prices rose 1.1pc in the year ending September last. Those calling for deregulation seem to have forgotten the lessons of the very recent past and appear willing to take a dangerous chance with the economy.

However, if the governor can get across the message that change of the type sought is not coming – and he could hardly have made his intentions in this regard more plain when he stated that the regulations are “a permanent feature of the Irish market” – then the mortgage market will absorb this position and adjust accordingly, perhaps even allowing for a little more reality to come into the price structure. For it is more affordable houses for purchase that are needed, not access to cash to fund current unrealistic prices.

It is true that the mortgage market and the rental sectors are allied, but they are not necessarily inextricably linked, certainly not to the extent that only a liberalisation of mortgage rules can solve the crisis in renting.

The rental market needs specific measures aimed at curing its ills, as it follows the mortgage market with an upward spiral of 5.2pc in the year to September last. These measures relate largely to the rights of tenants and landlords, as well as the creation of a public housing stock for rent at affordable rates.

Some see constitutional protection of some property rights as inimical to the common good in this regard, but there is much that can be done as things stand. However, if it can be shown that constitutional change is necessary to achieve equity and fairness, and end the curse of homelessness, the Government should not shy away from such action.

But in the meantime, a much more radical and pro-active approach than we have seen heretofore, is needed; and needed urgently.

Sunday Independent

Hey Housing Professionals, Your Jargon Isn’t Helping Consumers

“Guess what, consumers! Conforming loan limits were just raised! Awesome, right!? Call me!”

“Woo hoo! FHA just increased loan limits! Give me a call today!”

Fannie and Freddie just did…”

FHFA just announced…”

Rates! Bond charts! Comps! CMAs! 15-year fixed! Jumbo! Blah blah blah.

How many of these posts do we see on social media from our fellow agents and lenders every day? Like, a bazillion! Probably more like six bazillion, if we’re being accurate. Certainly every time a loan limit is increased or interest rates make a big move.

It’s not necessarily the topic that is the issue, it’s the delivery of the topic that’s the problem.

Do you know what was missing from 5.999 bazillion of those posts? An explanation of what in the world a conforming loan even is! An explanation of how a major move in rates actually affects consumers’ purchasing power. Nothing tangible, just generic, unhelpful nonsense.

I can count on one hand how many times I saw a lender saying something tangible and actually helpful. Something like “this interest rate bump means the monthly payment on a $300,000 loan went up x-amount.”

Nope. Instead, just the same old crap that consumers “love” like, “Rates are going up! Better buy now! It’s never been a better time than right now!”

If you can’t educate consumers, you can’t help consumers. And if you can’t help them, then what the hell do they need us for?

After all, there’s an app for that now, isn’t there?

Do we realize who we’re actually talking to? You know, those people who aren’t in the real estate or mortgage industry. As in, the exact people we want to hire us. The people we spend ungodly amounts of money on each month just to get a chance to talk to.

Then we get our chance, and we pepper them with meaningless industry jargon! Smooth move, bro. Maybe the next $300 Zillow lead will be “the one.”

It’s truly stunning how little thought agents and loan officers put into crafting the messages they’re putting out there. They just copy a HousingWire headline, which is full of industry jargon (you know, because it’s written for the industry) and then turn around and use that exact terminology to tell consumers about it.

This topic has been a bug up my butt for years. It always makes me cringe when I see consumers talked over and confused rather than being educated or informed.

These last couple weeks especially, I’ve really been screaming about this on my podcast, my Alexa flash briefing, on social media, and anywhere else I can get agents and lenders to hear me. We’re only causing more confusion and noise, and adding to the perception that Realtors and lenders aren’t approachable or relatable. I yearn for the day that we stop proving that to be true.

So why do so many Realtors and loan officers talk over the heads of consumers, with no explanation or education included in the message? Is it arrogance? Is it laziness? Is it a simple lack of thinking through who we’re talking to and the language they actually speak? Unfortunately, I think it’s a combination of it all.

Do we realize that most agents, let alone consumers, don’t know what a conforming loan is? Many consumers don’t really know what an FHA loan is or what “comps” are.

Sure, they may have heard the terms before, but that’s it. They don’t understand the nuances of an FHA loan versus Conventional. A staggering number of consumers still believe that you must have 20% down to buy a home!

Again, they are not industry insiders. You are.

Don’t ever assume that consumers know what industry-specific terms mean or what the differences between loan programs are. Not everyone knows what an FHA loan is, or how it differs from Conventional or VA financing, and what that means to them. Don’t ever assume that an increase in loan limits means anything to anyone. Because it doesn’t. Again, most agents don’t even know themselves.

We have to explain these concepts. We have to educate and advise; teach and simplify. But more than just explaining, defining, and pontificating, we have to relate this stuff to the consumer.

What does an increase in conforming loan limits mean for them? How does that affect their ability to buy a home? Explain to your sellers that loan limit increases are good because the pool of potential buyers for their home just got bigger.

Don’t just tell consumers that interest rates went up or down. Show them how that affects their purchasing power. Does the change in rates mean the difference between a budget of $300,000 versus $330,000? Tell them that!

If rates are going up, don’t just give consumers that tired old line of “Now is the best time to buy or refinance because rates may go up even more!” Show them how it’s not the end of the world. Have them Google “Jimmy Carter mortgage rates” and magically, 10 seconds later, the jump in rates doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore.

Be a guide, a reliable, trusted resource to help consumers cut through the noise from all of our competitors who do nothing more than litter the internet with meaningless industry jargon. Anticipate the questions they may have and answer them up front. Many times they don’t even know what questions to ask. (Remember: They’re not actually agents or lenders!)

In this age of (too much) information, consumers are completely overwhelmed. They’re begging for clarity. They’re craving it.

If we don’t get their attention and gain their trust by being truly helpful, then some app will. Some Silicon Valley company with $1+ billion in funding and a huge marketing budget will come in and set the narrative.

None of us stand a chance against that if all we’re doing is confusing consumers and driving them into the hands of that fancy new app.

Source: housingwire

Housing Market 2020: May Be Most Challenging Year for Buyers, Experts Warn

While prospective homebuyers have battled low inventory, high entry-level prices and economic uncertainty in 2019 – unfortunately for both buyers and sellers – experts expect conditions will remain largely the same next year.

The total number of available homes for sale could even hit a record low, according to a new forecast from Realtor.com, particularly in the first-time buyer’s market. Accordingly, overall U.S. sales are expected to fall by 1.8 percent.

“Real estate fundamentals remain entangled in a lattice of continuing demand, tight supply and disciplined financial underwriting,” George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com, said in a statement. “2020 will prove to be the most challenging year for buyers, not because of what they can afford, but rather what they can find.”

HOUSING MARKET COMEBACK HEATS UP

Sellers, too, will experience trouble, save for those in the entry-level market, researchers predict. Prices in the entry-level market will be buoyed by consistent competition – though the same can’t be said for the upper-tier market.

FILE – In this July 22, 2019, file photo a sale pending sign stands in front of a house in North Andover, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
On the plus side, price appreciation is expected to be moderate.

Overall, Realtor.com expects home prices to rise just 0.8 percent across the U.S. next year – with declines occurring in 25 percent of the 100 largest metro areas.

Mortgage rates are also expected to remain reasonable, averaging 3.85 percent.

Demand in the entry-level market will be driven by an uptick in Millennial activity – as those born between 1981 and 1997 are expected to account for more than 50 percent of all mortgages by springtime.

And the shortage of inventory will be exacerbated by the behavior of Baby Boomers, who are expected to remain reluctant to sell in the coming year.

Deutsche Bank Research put out a note on Wednesday that showed the median age of U.S. homebuyers is currently 47. That compares with 1981, when the median age was 31. A combination of factors, including tighter lending standards, an aging population and

9 Easy Steps to Negotiate Out of a Bad Loan

Every now and then I meet people howling about their debt burden and how it’s making life difficult for them. Some of the loans are consumer loans used to buy a car, finance a pet project or even pay for house rent. I have always believed that your loan repayment per month should never be more than 40% of your salary or monthly income.

Anything more than that sets you on the path of financial crisis as the risk of default is mostly higher. But how then does one get out of financial crisis related to the burden of loans? I will attempt to give tips. As usual we will depict a real life situation for better guidance

Example: Wale decided it was time to take a loan since landing his new job in 2016. He borrows N2.6m to buy a tokumbo car and the balance to pay for a new 3 bedroom apartment he just moved to. He earns a take home salary of N200k a month and currently pays N80k to the bank as loan. He also spends on average N80k monthly in living expenses such as feeding, transportation, wardrobe, entertainment etc. leaving him with N40k as savings.

Suddenly his company faces a financial situation and decide to slash salaries and cut staff strength. Fortunately or unfortunately Wale is not sacked but told to take a pay cut of N60k dropping his monthly take home pay to N140. He suddenly finds himself in deep financial waters as his loan repayment is now more than half his take home pay.

He currently owes the bank N1.3m (excluding future interest) after paying back half of the loan which was about N3.8b (including principal of N2.6m and interest). Since taking his pay cut in November 2018 he has defaulted twice in repaying his loan as his expenses almost doubled after getting married. The banks have written him severally and have now decided to act. What should Wale do?

Step 1Don’t be afraid and never get depressed.

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATION 1
In a capitalist society even the richest of men owe. In fact they owe billions and are often soothed rather than chastised when the bank man comes. The main reason for this is that no bank wants litigation (even if the outcome will favour them). So, as much as you are in deep financial mess they also are. In Nigeria, banks tend to fire small loan borrowers with also sort of threatening letters, like warning that they will write your employers, seize your car or any other collateral assets etc. At the end of the day, an amicable solution is always better preferred.

Step 2Ask yourself honest questions

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATION
Can I sustain this lifestyle? Should I sell my Car to repay part of the loan? How much can I really repay the bank within the current circumstances? All I really need to do is either repay the loan out-rightly, get a new job or simply just reduce the amount I pay the bank monthly. The following steps will be based on my decision to reduce the amount I pay to the bank monthly.

Step 3. How much can I possibly pay the bank now?

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATION
When Wale was taking home N200k he was paying N80k as loan or 40% of net income. To remain at 40% of that figure, he will need to pay the bank N56k monthly leaving him with N84k. Since he is newly married he believes he needs at least N100k monthly to meet up with the demands of marriage even if it means him not saving. Therefore, the needs to pay the bank N40k monthly, that is half his original pay.
Step 4Acquaint with loan realities

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATIONNow that you have decided how much you can afford to pay the bank, the next step is to determine what that means in the overall context of the loan. If you owe N1.3m and you wish to repay N40k monthly at an interest rate of 20% then the no of years you are looking to complete the loan will now be 4 years or 47months.

What this essentially means is that the loan which was to last 4 years will now extend to 6years. Remember Wale had paid for 2 year and had 2 left and to accommodate his N40k repayment, he needs to add two more years. This move whilst a cash flow relief will bring additional interest cost almost 100% of the loan value at the end of the payment.

You could also decide to adopt a progressive repayment rather than a uniform one. That is pay N40k for the first year and N60k the next and N80k till the loan is liquidated. This method does the twin job of giving you temporal relief while anticipating an improved cash flow and also helping contain the high interest cost associated with longer tenors.

Step 5: Approach your bank

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATIONNever get shy about telling your bankers your financial predicaments. Remember your success/failures is directly proportionate to theirs so its always in their best interest when you show intent to repay their loans. Set up a meeting with them at a place of your convenience, make sure its a discussion over lunch or drinks as that creates a friendly environment.

Tell them your plans in the clearest form and give an impression its a honest and well thought out now. Make them understand its a win win situation and actually benefits the bank more as they get more cash flow. Don’t be ashamed to tell them you just got a pay cut and as such don’t have a choice but to do this.

 

Even if you never had a pay cut but just have financial constraints, make them understand what your predicaments are and how a restructuring of the loan is the best option. They may come with their own proposals for a way out which may or may not be better than yours. Whatever the case just remember than your guiding principle is the cash available to you after you debt service.

Step 6: Forward an official letter to the bank:

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATIONAfter you must have concluded negotiations with your account officers, you should now write them officially requesting for a restructuring of the loan. The tone of the letter can look like this. The response time for banks typically varies depending on the efficiency of their operations. Based on that, it is often advisable that you follow up from time to time especially via emails. Emails are good record keepers as such is mostly preferred as a communication took.

Step 7: Post Restructuring

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATIONOnce your offer has been approved, the bank will give you a restructured facility with terms and conditions. Make all efforts to read the fine prints as banks notoriously embed details in it. Ensure you look out for the following

  1. Tenor – Make sure it’s the number of years/months you agreed with the bank.
  2. Interest Rate – Always check interest rates especially if they are tied to benchmarks. Sometimes they tell you it’s “subject to market conditions” or “MPR plus 12%”. Whatever the case, they are simply telling you interest rates can go up (hardly down). Make sure your offer rates are competitive. To make sure, consult your accountant or friends in other banks.
  3. Fees – Fees are often over looked when it comes to loans, whereas they are also a cost. When you are restructuring, the banks typically will charge you a “restructuring fee”, “management fee” and facility fee”. Restructuring Fee is a one off payment and can range from 0.25% to 1% of the loan. Always negotiate for 0.25% or even zero. It is possible if you make them understand you can’t afford it. Management Fees are paid every year and is a flat percentage of the outstanding principal. They can tell you it is 1% of the Loan or 0.5%. Facility Fee is also similar to the restructuring fee. However, this is mostly charged for a new loan. Whatever the case strive for a total Fee that will NOT cost you more than 0.5% per annum.
  4. Security – Make sure the security (collateral) they are asking for is what you agreed with them during negotiations.
  5. Caveats – There are usually loads of clauses and caveats that are found under “Other Conditions”. It can be burdensome to read but since its your but on the line, I suggest you read them. Particularly the clause that refers to early repayment. Some banks charge you if you decide to repay all or part of the loan before it is due. Make sure this clause says “you will not be charged for early repayment of all or part of the facility”. Who know, you might land a lucrative job and decide to pay off the loan.

Step 8: Endorse the new offer

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATIONSign a copy of the offer and keep an original as well (with the signature of the representatives of the bank).

Step 9: Think about another job

BAD LOAN NEGOTIATION Start to look for another job or find a way to improve your financial situation. Even with the relatively affordable cash payment Wale has to make, he still has less disposable income available to him. As such a debt burden is something he needs to get out of his life. That will only be put to bed by an improved stream of cash flow.

Conclusion – Whilst these are basic steps to guide you, it is advisable that you consult Accountants, Lawyers when negotiating with a bank. Never be afraid to negotiate your way out of the pains of debt. Be smart and think rich.

How High Population Under Develops Nigeria

Nigeria’s population statistics are scary and future projections are frightful. It was 140m at the last count in 2016, it has climbed to 200m in 2019 and expected to double to about 400m by 2050, no thanks to a high fertility rate of between 2.5% and 2.5%. A global site demographic site Worldometers.info, puts the national population at 203,021,855 as of November 25, equivalent to 2.61% of the total world population, ranking it the highest in Africa and 7th globally.

Nigeria’s population has been rising in leaps and bounds, and this was not matched with economic growth, exacerbating poverty in the progress. At independence in 1960, Nigeria’s population was 45m, 55m in 1970, 73m in 1980, 95m in 1990, 122m in 2000, 158m in 2010, and now above 200m. Nigeria’s population at the present growth rate is expected to shoot to 262m by 2030, 329m by 2040. In 2050, Nigeria population will rise to 401m displacing United States and China as the third most populous country in the world.

The average population density is widely believed to be over 200 people per kilometre out of which Lagos has the highest population density of about 2607 people according to 2006 census. It is also predicted by 2050, 77 percent of Nigeria’s population will be urban, up from the current 51% residing in mega cities such as Lagos, Benin, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Sokoto.

Just as corruption is a national signpost, Nigerians are also very fertile reproducing. Birth rates that was 1.9% in 1960 rose to 2.6% in 2019. Every second, the nation records four births, adding about 20,000 Nigerians to the landmass every day.

Are poor people more prolific in reproducing?  This seems to be the case, when one considers that countries with the highest fertility rates in the world are all in Africa- the poorest continent. Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world leads the pack, followed by war-torn Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Ironically, the lowest fertility rates are in developed countries such as South Korea, Spain, Japan, and United States where households have relatively higher disposable incomes. In   several countries of the North, death rates have outpaced birth rates, national population are shrinking, and towns in Spain are become desolate due to low population.

The fastest shrinking population according to United Nations are in Eastern Europe-Bulgaria, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Hungary. The population are expected to shrink by 15% or more by 2050.

Why is Nigeria’s population rising sporadically over the years? Reasons include cultural factors that support early marriages, preference for male child causing continuous procreation in search for a boy, extended family system that encourages large families, and traditional expectations for child bearing; religious beliefs that support polygamy and prohibits contraception even among married and encourages dependence on God rather than personal incomes to sustain families; low literacy rates negatively affecting uptake of sex education, population education, health education and reproductive health education; and economic factors fostering  dependence on children for old age security.

Nigeria is a big child factory and the girl child is the greatest victim. girlsnotbrides.org/ campaign in Nigeria reports ‘that 44% of girls in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday and 18% are married before the age of 15.  According to UNICEF, Nigeria has the third highest absolute number of child brides in the world – 3,538,000 – and the 11th highest prevalence rate of child marriage globally.  Child marriage is most common in the Northwest and Northeast, where 68% and 57% of women aged 20-49 were married before their 18th birthday. Child marriage is particularly common among Nigeria’s poorest, rural households and the Hausa ethnic group. A 2017 World Bank study estimates that child marriage costs Nigeria USD7.6 billion in lost earnings and productivity every year’.

The crux of the problem is that national, state, and local governments have not been able to match provision of social services such as health, education, water, and housing and infrastructure development such as roads, railways, and energy with increasing population growth due to inadequacy of funds, poor governance, and graft. Nigeria’s rising population has been marked with low economic growth and decaying social services and infrastructures thereby under developing Nigeria.

A large population is not necessarily a development challenge if its productive with low mortality. Nigeria’s rising population is not productive and the resources available cannot cope with the numbers on ground even if shared more equitably. The median age of Nigeria’s population is between 18-19, implying most Nigerians are youths in school, out of school, or unemployed.

A school of thought, however, argues that Nigeria’s problem is not its population size as it is blessed with natural resources adequate to sustain a good standard of living if the society is egalitarian and welfarist and funds are used for the good of the greatest number. While this is true, the reality is that developed countries are working to control their population despite their enormous economic resources.

Nigeria’s first population policy was developed in 1988 during the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida with late Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti as Minister of Health. Its principal provisions were to ’ reduce  the  number  of  children  a  woman  is  likely  to  have  during her lifetime, now over six, to four per woman by 2000 and and ‘reduce the present rate  of population growth from about 3.3 per cent per year to 2.5 per cent by 1995 and 2.0 per cent by the  year  2000″

The revised edition National Population Policy for Sustainable Development (NPP) 2004 seeks to achieve a reduction of the National population growth rate to 2 percent or lower by the year 2015 amongst others. All these lofty declarations were not respected, and targets were missed.

 

A 2016 study by Professor R. Murdi and Dr S Darkyes of the University of Abuja reveals ‘that 69.6% of the population have large family size of six and above’, listing factors militating against fertility decline to include among others, poor dissemination of national population policies creating lack of awareness on the policy by most of the population, religious prohibition, occupation especially farming that requires large family size, level of education as well as income level of the population.

The way forward is for Nigeria’s three tier of governments to see its spiralling population as a national challenge and address it as such.  We cannot successfully tackle and overcome poverty if we continue to proliferate like rabbits. Governments of developed countries with low fertility rates give incentives to encourage early marriage before 30 years and childbearing, likewise, we should adopt the same approach in the reverse version. There should be benefits for raising small families and penalties for raising large families. Nigeria should understudy how countries such as Russia, Hungary, Estonia, and China are achieving negative growth rates, and imbibe lessons.

Government should no longer pay a lip service to population control programmes. A national emergency should be declared on Nigeria’s rising population and all hands should be on deck to seriously stem the tide.

Agencies saddled with implementing national population polices such as the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), National Council on Population Management (NCPM), and Population Technical Working Group (PTWG) should be strengthened technically and financially to enable them effectively discharge their statutory roles. Capacity of state and local governments agencies should be built with enough financial resources and manpower to implement health, education, religious, and gender provisions in population issues.

The traditional and mass media should be harnessed in creating conducive attitudes supporting implementation of population programmes. Nigerians should realise that there is nothing fanciful being labelled as Africa’s most populous country, whereas its huge population is a liability living in poverty rather than an asset. The ‘most populous nation’ tag should cease to be a national pride. It is no good being big for nothing.

Source: thenationonlineng

How to invest in real estate

How to invest in real estate without buying a house

Americans love investing in real estate. When asked their preferred way to invest money they won’t need for more than 10 years, Americans’ No. 1 choice is real estate. And yet there are many challenges to owning a house or rental property. The upfront costs can be daunting — a down payment might be anywhere from 5% to 20% of the home price and average closing costs run between about 2% and 5% of the loan amount. Once you own the place, you’ll still need to pay for property taxes, as well as the costs of maintenance and upkeep. And if you rent it out to someone else, you’ll need to deal with the stress of finding and screening a tenant, paying for repairs and covering the mortgage during any vacancies.

But what if you could invest in real estate without ever buying a physical property? Here are three things you need to know:

Know your options

For everyday investors who want easy access to their capital, there are publicly traded instruments that are liquid, meaning you can buy and sell them at anytime, just like stocks. Some popular options are real-estate investment trusts (REITs), real-estate mutual funds, and real estate ETFs.

A REIT is a company that owns and operates real estate that produces income and returns most of that income to its shareholders. Some REITs have a diversified portfolio of properties, while others focus on specific types of real estate, such as hotels, office buildings, warehouses or hospitals.

When you own shares in a REIT, you become a mini-landlord of sorts because REITs are obligated by law to return at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends.

To achieve higher diversification, some investors like real-estate mutual funds, which can be seen as baskets of REITs and other kinds of real-estate investments. And real estate ETFs have grown in popularity because they are similar to real-estate mutual funds but offer lower fees and often track a broad index, such as the MSCI U.S. REIT Index or the Dow Jones U.S. REIT Index DWRTF+0.28% .

All of these investing vehicles share some common features: they allow individual investors to buy into real estate without any of the headaches of owning property, like property taxes and high maintenance fees. What’s more, they enable you to invest as little as a few dollars in a sector that would otherwise require prohibitive amounts of capital as a barrier of entry.

Know the risks

Every investment strategy comes with risks, and real estate is no different. First, anything that might affect real-estate prices could inevitably affect REITs and other real estate holdings. “Remember, real estate is cyclical,” said Jared Feldman, a partner at the accounting and advisory firm Anchin who describes his job as being a “CFO to high net worth individuals and families.” Cyclical assets rise and fall with the economic cycle. As such, real-estate prices tend to rise when the economy is booming, and fall during economic contractions and recessions.

Another thing to monitor, according to Feldman, is rising interest rates. Traditional buyers of real estate closely watch interest rates mainly because higher rates mean a higher cost to finance a purchase. But even if you’re not buying a physical property, rising interest rates could be negative for your real estate holdings. That’s because when bond yields rise, the yields on REITs start to look relatively less attractive and investors tend to sell them. But there is a silver lining. If interest rates are going up because the economy is improving, REITs’ rental income may be increasing and the value of the properties they hold may go up as well.

Finally, most of the traditional risks associated with physical real estate — such as structural problems in different properties, bad tenants, or too much leverage — also exist in REITs and other real-estate investments. “People might think it’s easier because you won’t be the landlord yourself. But make no mistake, those risks are priced in,” said Anora Gaudiano, CFP, a senior advisor associate at Wealthspire Advisors.

Know your goals

If you’re wondering whether you should buy physical property or invest in other real estate holdings, the answer is “it depends.”

“Like everything else in your portfolio, you need to have a reason why you own real estate,” said Gaudiano. For most people, investing in real estate basically means “their home,” she said. “For the average American, that’s where a lot of their net worth is tied up. And that’s mainly because people need shelter and a place to raise their families.”

But when it comes to REITs and other real-estate investments, it’s a different story. “The main reason to own them is to reduce volatility, increase diversification and provide a source of income,” writes Paul Merriman, founder of Merriman Wealth Management.

REITs can be a good income source, thanks to the high dividend payout (remember, at least 90% of the taxable income is returned to shareholders). But there’s a catch: the REIT payout is considered ordinary income, which means it will be taxed at a higher rate than capital gains, Gaudiano said.

As for diversification, a way to think about your portfolio is “diversification equals insulation,” or in simpler terms, “protection from the bumpiness of the marketplace,” said Duy Nguyen, Chief Investment Officer for Invesco Solutions.

Real estate traditionally falls under the category of “alternative” investments, which Nguyen says are “anything that is not equities or fixed income.” (Also check out this video, where Nguyen explains in detail how to invest in alternatives.)

But liquid real-estate investments are also “directional,” which means they have some correlation to the broader market — just not as high as broad equities. In other words, according to Nguyen, the positive aspect is that your money is not tied up (i.e. you can sell anytime), but the negative aspect is that there’s higher volatility.

That volatility can “break your heart” in the short term, Merriman writes. But he also points out that from 1975 through 2006, a portfolio divided 50/50 between the S&P 500 and a REIT index returned 15.2%, vs. 13.5% for the S&P 500 alone. The frosting on the cake: Risk was 12% lower than that of the S&P 500 by itself.

Nine Key Skills People In Real Estate Should Possess

The real estate industry can be competitive. Getting started in the field can be intimidating, and even the most confident and seasoned professionals out there must continually hone some core skills to stay relevant.

To help you truly shine in this industry, we asked members of Forbes Real Estate Council to share which skills are particularly critical to the success of real estate investors or developers.

1. Understanding The Human Experience

A great real estate developer is one who recognizes that the whole can be exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. A building has the potential to bring value to those who inhabit it, the community that surrounds it, and the lives of all who come into contact with it. A developer who understands this—that the way space is utilized can shape the human experience in immeasurable ways—is one who has the power to bring about positive social impact and community transformation. – Benjamin Katz, Haven Coliving

2. Analyzing The Bigger Impact

Anyone in real estate needs to be able to not only analyze the property on paperwork, but also look at what the ancillary impacts will be. For instance, will you be spending more money in municipal red-tape (hidden costs)? What is the full impact of having this investment? Since real estate is not as liquid as a stock or bond, entering any one market or neighborhood should have more than an “on paper” review. – Christopher Long, Radius Realty

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?

3. Making Informed Decisions

It’s easy to get distracted by vanity numbers or vanity metrics when looking to invest. Instead, focus on disseminating the available information and analyzing it thoroughly to be able to make a more informed decision. After you understand the options and the risks involved, follow your gut confidently. Remember, no good can come from you deviating from the path that you were destined to follow. – Rodolfo Delgado, Replay Listings – Apartments for Rent in NYC

4. Mall Mapping

Successful real estate investors need to have to ability to do something called mall mapping. When you go to a new mall for the first time, you always locate where you are, then look for the location you want to find, then create the shortest and simplest path between the two. Real estate investing is exactly the same. You need to first be honest about where you are, then know exactly where you are wanting to go, then you create the simplest, and most effective path to get from here to there. That may mean deferring short-term benefit for long-term gain, but it also means you have a better shot at mitigating risk, and achieving success. – Kevin Clayson, Done For You Real Estate USA

5. Delegation

People must understand how to effectively delegate. If they can’t let go and let others do their job, or they want to micromanage every minute detail, they will lose. – Tony Acosta, Real Team Realty

6. Grit

Grit is that ability to get knocked down and keep getting back up again, over and over. It’s the ability to quiet the voices in your head and tune out the voices of everyone out there telling you that you can’t do it, or it can’t be done. Grit is the difference between those who make it, and those who quit and go back to selling mortgages or being just a realtor. – Matt Motil, The Marie Paul Companies

7. Patience

Have exceedingly high levels of patience. Real estate transactions, for the most part, never happen quickly and it requires a high degree of analysis and underwriting to properly execute an investment or development transaction. – Jecoah Byrnes, National Healthcare Realty

8. Creativity

Getting out of the box puts you in the right place to find the unique deals that are highly profitable and puts you where everyone else is not. It keeps you from being part of a herd mentality – Mike Mcmullen, Prominence Homes

9. Discipline

Discipline, along with the ability to analyze elements that will seriously impact a property, are all highly important. When analyzing an investment property, people need to be objective and navigate by the numbers without the interference of personal preferences. This means they need to apply a disciplined approach, use realistic comparables and research the trend in values, vacancies and listing volume, along with the other factors that could have an impact on their goals. – Michael Daniels, Rental Technologies LLC

Source: forbes

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