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In African Listed Property, Size doesn’t Matter — But Stability Does

African markets have begun to dip their toes into the Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) pool. It is still a very small pool, but a significant step none the less.

Some countries are still trying to find their footing, but there are others who have kept their heads above water. But experts say it is going to take some time before everybody learns how to swim.

The local listed property story made a big splash when the regulators consolidated property unit trusts and property loan stocks into one simple and tax-tight investment vehicle named a Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit). And investors rode the wave of double-digit capital growth rates and inflation-beating income distributions for many years.

But in 2018 the tide went out, taking 25% of the JSE’s South African Listed Property Index’s value with it. It is yet to return, as a sluggish economy keeps a recovery at bay. There are simply too many buildings and not enough tenants.

Meanwhile, investors and the property counters themselves have gone searching for greener pastures in places far, far away — in Europe, the US and parts of Asia to be exact.

In future, they might not have to travel as far, with a couple of bourses already adopting the Reits regime and others considering the same route.

But Peter Clarke, property analyst at Investec Asset Management, says listings are still few and far between, and markets are still in their infancy.

“It will take some time to formalise structures, educate their own retail investors. They also lack the scale and liquidity to attract large institutional investors from abroad,” he says.

The first Reit listing outside South Africa’s borders was the STANLIB Fahari I-REIT on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2015 and was followed by a few small counters coming to market in Nigeria, all mainly focused on housing development. A couple of Reits have also since been made available in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

“There have been talks of other countries adopting the regime,” says Clark.

But if you believe in the African growth story, and want to put your money behind it, Clark says it will have to be for the long haul. The very long haul.

“The stocks have been very volatile over the short term for one, reacting to political and economic uncertainty and instability. The counters are also in the process of building up a stock of good underlying assets and the long-term corporate leases that go with it, which takes time,” he says.

“A lot of price discovery of the true value of rental properties still needs to be done.”

Also, property rights are not afforded to everyone in all jurisdictions, with large tracts of land owned by the government or by community trusts, and only leasehold or freehold arrangements are possible.

“And land registry systems are not sophisticated enough to even enforce or ensure these arrangements,” Clarke says.

But just like South Africa, the underlying real estate landscape is filled with office blocks and shopping malls.

Property companies piggy-backed on local retailers’ voyages into Africa, he says, and built these structures to accommodate them.

But not all these ventures worked out. Think Woolworths in Nigeria, MTN in Ghana and Pick n Pay in Botswana to name a few, and there were no local retailers to fill the gap. Retail and consumption patterns are very different across geographies, says Clarke.

It has been a tough experience for some landlords, he says, and Attaq and Highprop, for example, have decided to cut their losses and downscale their African exposure.

But others are toughing it out. SA Corporate has shares in office and retail centres in Zambia. Atterbury and Growthpoint, via its shareholding in Grit Real Estate’s investment, has a business in Ghana and Zambia, are looking to expand. Resilient has a presence in Nigeria.

But the expected growth has not been forthcoming, says Gareth Elston, CIO at Reitway Global.

“It is not easy to get a listed property sector off the ground and attract sufficient international capital,” he says. “There are over 1,000 funds around the world competing for the same cash.”

But headway has been made by countries such as Mauritius and Morocco. Albeit their few listed Reits are still small in comparison to the South African market, Elston says they are attracting capital and incentivising development. The regulatory landscape is also clear and it is relatively easy to conduct business in these countries.

Elston says government plays an integral role in its own property sector. It has to make it attractive for investors to fund projects and make it easy for investors to access markets and create wealth.

Furthermore, authorities need to support the industry as key tenants by committing to long-term leases and paying rent on time.

Incentives are also key, Elston says and refers to the success of the section 12 J tax regime that led to the development of much-needed student accommodation.

Source: dailymaverick

Land Prices Soar as Residential Devt Activities Improve in H1’2019

In spite of the slowdown in the Nigerian economy, investors, especially those with patient capital and long term view of the market, are still committing money into the country’s investment market with many preferring to invest in property which is considered a more secure asset class.

This explains why in the first half of 2019, land reprised its role as a stable investment, with its price rising year-on-year in many parts of Nigeria, especially Lagos where emerging destinations were the toast of investors and sundry buyers.

Within the same period, residential development activities witnessed marginal improvement with government’s housing development programmes gaining traction more than ever before.

In Lagos, land values appreciated sharply along the Agungi – Abraham Adesanya – Sangotedo axis and this is understandable. Price rise is always a function of demand. This axis is in high demand as they border the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) which has many on-going developments.

This means that land prices in the axis are pushed up by speculators with eyes on those developments which include the Dangote refinery project and other anchor projects in the zone as they near completion.

The axis is seen to have growth potential as land is demanded for housing, industries, commercial real estate development such as retail and office space; schools and other business activities.

Northcourt Real Estate’s half-year 2019 market report shows that land price in Abraham Adesanya area has risen by 50 percent, year-on-year, from N24,000 per square metre in 2018 to N36,000 per square metre in 2019. Sangotedo recorded an increase of 7 percent from N28,000 per square metre in 2018 to N30,000 per square metre in 2019.

According to the report, land price in Ikoyi and Victoria Island also rose significantly within the period under review. Ikoyi saw 24 percent price rise from N363,000 per square metre in 2018 to N450,000 per square metre in 2019. Victoria Island had a 13 percent price hike from N300,000 per square metre in 2018 to 340,000 per square metre in 2019.

On the Lagos Mainland, Magodo, an upper middle class settlement in the city, led price increase at 16 percent, rising from N110,000 per square metre in 2018 to N130,000 per square metre in 2019. Ikeja GRA recorded marginal increase of 8 percent from 261,000 per square metre in 2018 to N240,000 per square metre in 2019.

Although investment thinking in property is shifting with some investors opting to buy assets out of the country and many looking to sell local assets, there has been a marginal increase in activities in the residential property sub-market.

Market conditions, especially vacancy rates, have improved but not yet where the market should be. In Port Harcourt, vacancy rates have moved, but only slightly, when compared with end of 2018.

“Old GRA, GRA Phases 1, 2 and 3 recorded vacancy rates of 7 percent, 9 percent, 9 percent and 15 percent respectively. Abuja’s Apo and Gwarimpa are 14 percent and 2 percent vacant. Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Lagos state are respectively 41 percent and 23 percent vacant,” Ayo Ibaru, Director Real Estate at Northcourt confirmed.

According to him, the federal government’s National Housing Plan to construct 536 units in the Northern parts of the country, even though below the expectation of analysts, made some progress. He said that developments were based on the study of what would fit best with the prevailing culture.

The FCT’s quota in the development amounted to 72 units; Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa and Benue have 76 units each while Niger and Plateau have 80 housing units each. Added to this is the ₦3.7 billion that has been committed by the Federal Government to the completion of the Zuma Housing Project in Abuja expected to be commissioned by Q2 2019.

 

A major development in the market as highlighted in the report is on how co-working space initiative has continued to grow as business owners are unable to meet up to the dollar rent obligations for Grade A office space.

Ibaru noted that Nigeria’s commercial real estate market is going green. He said that most ongoing prime office developments, or those that have been delivered in recent years, are a testament to the fact that green buildings have come to stay.

“Within the period too, the US government acquired about 50,000 square metres of land in Eko Atlantic City for the Consulate’s new head office,” he said, adding, “a 21-storey smart office tower is being constructed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state at an approximate cost of ₦19 billion funded via a PPP; upon completion, it is expected to house leading oil services firms.”.

Source: Businessdayng

Land Title Hitches Delay Property Investments in Abuja

• Most estates, properties without C-of-O

• Minister has not signed up to 500 C-of-O since 2015

• 11,263 C-of-O uncollected

Most estates and properties in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, do not have Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) due to the challenges involved in the processing of land titles from the authorities responsible for land management.

The inability to process the backlog of applications for the issuance of C-of-O continues to deny individuals and corporate investors the right to use their lands or properties to raise funds for investment in the real estate and property market. Daily Trust reports that in Nigeria, C-of-O is a document issued by state governments to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership.

It also spells out what the land can be used for: residential, commercial or mixed development. C-of-O is deemed the most important document to a land owner or property buyer in Nigeria as it can be used for many purposes, including serving as a collateral.

A cross section of developers, builders and estate surveyors interviewed for this report said the production and processing of C-of-O and other title documents takes very long in Abuja.

They said as a result of this, many property owners in highbrow areas of the city were struggling to get their C-of-O several years after paying the required fees and fulfilling the conditions for issuance of the vital land title. They further said part of the implication of this delay in the issuance of C-of-O to valid or genuine land and property owners was the proliferation of fraudulent practices that were often associated with the processing of C-of-O in the FCT and its environs.

An Abuja-based estate surveyor and valuer at Shola Abeji & Partners, Mr. Olushola Abeji, said the reason most estates and properties in Abuja did not have C-of-O was not far-fetched. Mr. Abeji said, “You can get an allocation letter from the government; they will tell you, ‘Don’t worry, we will give you C-of-O’, but you won’t get it. Most times the developers have a developer’s agreement with the government or a letter of intent. Not even a Right of Occupancy (R-of-O). There are people with properties in Wuse and other highbrow areas that are struggling to get their C-of-O signed.

“We also have issues of land racketeering and double allocation by sister agencies. The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) will allocate a plot to you and the Abuja Metropolitan Council (AMAC) will allocate the same plot to you.” He further said the chances of revocation of lands without titles at will by government was a major concern to developers and prospective investors in the property market in the city. “It is already happening. Right now, around Lokogoma axis, there are estates that have been marked for demolition,” he said. Abeji added that getting loans from banks with an R-of-O or any other land title outside C-of-O was a herculean task as the title most respected by the banks was C-of-O, further saying, “even with the C-of-O, we have challenges.

This current minister hasn’t signed up to 500 C-of-O since he assumed office. So, you have people with proper allocations and with all the required documents, they don’t have C-of-O, some for close to 10 years, and we are talking about development and growth. Until you have a C-of-O, any document you have can be revoked at will.” The President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Kunle Awobodu, said so many people have experienced the dangers of prolonged processing of C-of-O. He said, “Assuming fund is already made available for a project, when execution is delayed there is tendency to divert such fund. Once you don’t devote the available fund immediately for a project, such fund will start to lose its size gradually.

“Secondly, assuming that you are expecting a facility from the bank and they need C-of-O as a guarantee, with the prolonged process, there is tendency for you not to provide such requirement as at when due. So, such facility may just escape your grip. It may be foreign partners that are to execute the project and there is a time limit that they could tarry because of some other activities elsewhere. Once the allocated time is no longer favourable, you may lose such expertise. “It is because our system appears analogue compared to well computerised systems in other climes. It is advisable for us to introduce some kind of methodology that can facilitate the process.”

Awobodu, however, explained that the process for a C-of-O was prolonged in the FCT because of the need to verify the authenticity of land ownership; which was usually done by various sections and then taken in batches to the minister for signing after investigation and verification had been concluded.

Also speaking on the issue in an interview with Daily Trust, the Executive Secretary (ES) of the Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board (FGSHLB), Dr. Hannatu Adamu Fika, said the board had identified land title as one of the major challenges facing housing development. Dr. Fika said, “World over, you can’t have a mortgage without a perfect title. To facilitate titles, we have to work with state governments and the FCT.”

In his reaction, the FCT Director of Land Administration, Adamu Jibrin Hussaini, in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, said the FCT Administration (FCTA) had prepared and signed 11,263 C-of-O for various degrees of properties in and around Abuja which had been left uncollected by their bona fide owners. The director revealed that the certificates so far prepared and ready for collection were enormous; cutting across plots of land in all the districts of the capital city, some satellite towns, as well as properties under the Sales of Federal Government Housing Scheme.

 

Hussaini further said some of these title documents have been ready for collection since 2005 and were in the vaults, but that the owners have not shown up to claim them, and that because of that, the FCTA has concluded arrangements to advertise all unclaimed C-of-O in two national dailies for owners of such titles to come forward for collection. He said, “The FCT Department of Land Administration has sorted out 11,263 C-of-O that are uncollected from its vaults, and these are documents that can be used for various transactions, including collateral.”

He wondered why the documents which could be used to improve commercial activities across the country with positive multiplier effects, including generation of employment to the teeming population of the citizenry, had been left in the vaults. Hussaini emphasised that everything being equal, after payment of requisite premium fee, the production and processing of C-of-O takes an average of four weeks, and added that the current FCTA signed thousands of C-of-O even to the end of its first tenure and has since commenced in this dispensation.

Source: Dailytrustng

Dubai Sees 134% Increase In Property Deals

Transactions in the real estate industry have increased by 134% according to the Dubai Land Department. The Dubai Land Department was set up by the Ruler and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. The Deputy Ruler who is the son of the Ruler also chairs the committee. And since this committee was established, real estate transactions have seen a positive turnaround. This has demonstrated that confidence in the property market in Dubai has surged.
The committee is dedicated to ensuring the following protocols,
  1. Avoid project duplication
  2. Reach a healthy balance between supply and demand
  3. This instant impact that Dubai has seen in the increase of property transactions aligns with the objective of the country, to ensure that a sustainable balance is achieved in the real estate market.
The real estate market is indicating that this sustainable balance is displayed in facts and figures as given below,
  1. Accumulative investments 715,000
  2. Accumulative investors      374,000
  3. Total value achieved AED1.4 trillion
The real estate market in Dubai is slowly inching forward, or so it seems, according to the aforementioned data. In fact, the newest data indicates that transactions made from residential sales hit a 4-year high. Home sales have increased since July of this year, and overall, with investors and homeowners taking advantage of the plummet in the property market.

The Rise in Residential Sales

Residential sales have increased by 33.46% in 2019, compared to sales made in 2018. Summer of 2019 has proved to be good for the property market in Dubai. Dh14.94 billion was recorded in residential sales transactions this summer season.
Analysts claim that these are positive signs for the property market, particularly with Expo 2020 around the corner. More growth is expected at the start of 2020 and experts predict that if the property market continues this upward trend to attract investors while the iron is hot, it will propel them to buy residences in the city. It is also the best time to negotiate a fair and attractive deal.

Off-Plan Rise

It also indicates that the recovery is not just slow but also solid in comparison to the last few years. The off-plan market has performed the best. Sales of villas, townhouses, apartments and land plots have increased this summer. The secondary housing market has also registered a good run with a 20.43% growth in 2019, with sales transactions amounting to 3,801. The property outlook in the UAE looks positive, with attractive prices targeting a pool of buyers.

How Expo 2020 Can Turn Things Around

Analysts and experts are patiently awaiting Expo 2020. The momentum that has started should only grow in the coming year. Dubai will see an increase in its economic activity, which in turn will impact the property market. This rising trend only affirms why the Dubai property market continues to be a stronghold in the region, and instills confidence in investors around the world.

‘If A Man Can Do It, A Woman Can’: Quebecer Breaking Barriers in Construction

A Canadian immigrant is breaking gender stereotypes on construction sites as she helps rebuild Quebec’s largest interchange.

Shengnan Li is helping make inroads for the massive five-year project by operating an articulated dump truck, transporting materials to and from the site.

“The road will be there for many many years and I can tell my daughter, ‘See mommy built that’,” said Li in an interview with CTV National’s Vanessa Lee.

The 35-year-old arrived in Quebec from Tianjin, China in 2007, “with two suitcases” and a diploma in computer sciences. She intended to earn a master’s degree in management.

But two weeks before graduation, she says she had a change of heart.

“I’m a girl who likes action and to try new things and some adventures and then I realized that management is not for me,” she laughed.

Turning to a job skills questionnaire, Li was matched with a heavy machinery operator — a surprise to both her and her civil engineer father.

“He works in big construction sites in Beijing and he told me ‘Oh, there’s big machinery like [an] excavator and bulldozer that maybe you can try but I cannot imagine you doing that,'” said Li.

Despite the surprising result, Li signed up for the trade program and says she hasn’t looked back since.

“The first day for me, it was a little bit scary because I’m so small, so little and the big machinery is so big, so high,” said Li. She added that “if a man can do it, a woman can do it too.”

Li was previously recognized by the Elles Committee of Quebec for her determination to break stereotypes in the construction field after working on several major projects in the province.

She said the male dominated trade is gaining more female representation every year.

“First year, I see maybe three women working here, but now it’s 17,” says Li.

According to the Quebec Construction Commission, there are currently 3,520 women in the construction trades.

Li says she is proud to be one of those women and hopes she encourages other females to join the trade.

Source – CTV NEWS

Lagos’ Mega City Dream Under Threat

Lagos dreams of becoming one of Africa’s mega cities. While its economy is flourishing, ease of movement and seamless traffic, a major investor’s consideration, is scuttled by lack of infrastructure, such as roads. A vehicle cannot move a kilometre without encountering a bad spot or potholes, making movement difficult. Though the governor has assured Lagosians of his readiness to work on the roads, residents want urgent attention

An Africa, Nigeria seems to be an octopus on the continent’s economic space. One of the states that has made the country very visible is Lagos. The state is forever expanding. To the east of the city is a fully developed Lekki Phase One, which an upscale abode for the rich,  Phase Two, is still developing.

There is also the burgeoning Atlantic City, which probably is the first of its kind on the continent, offering some of the best residential abode and workplaces on the continent.

With many such upscale abodes in the city, Lagos prides itself as a mega city. But some major features of a mega city are good roads and seamless flow of traffic. These are practically absent in Lagos as most o its roads are dilapidated and riddled with portholes. The roads are so bad that driving in Lagos is a nightmarish experience and motorists most times spend thousands of manhours on the roads.

Analysts believe opportunities in Lagos are enormous such that it become a true Nigerian success story but for the roads. The dearth of infractructure is the greatest threat to its mega city project which aims to make the city one of Africa’s most vibrant, attracting a gaggle of foreign investors.

Aside infractructure, the mega city dream is also challenged by a population that is busting at its seam,  housing crisis, flooding, insecurity  and filthy environment.

Provision of adequate infrastructure seems to be a challenge which successive governments in the state have failed to find a solution to. Whenever the rains come, the roads become flooded causing some portions to sink. The attendant gridlock across the city keeps people held up for hours in traffic, which impacts negatively on their health and vehicles.

From the Mainland to the Island, from the densely populated Orile, Ajegunle Ikorodu, Oshodi,  Ijesha to upscale abodes, such as Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Island, the embarrassing sight of decrepit roads confronts one daily.

Cars bounce, passengers curse, tempers flare and cars run into themselves during rush hours. Accidents are frequent and articulated trucks have let down their containers on smaller vehicles with fatality. The bad roads didn’t happen in one day; the roads have deteriorated to the extent that Lagos residents are crying out to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to save from the nightmare. who promised to do intervention works as soon as the rains stop.

Sanwo-Olu promised that there would be extensive and massive rehabilitation of roads after the rainy season, but that all the roads cannot be tackled at the same time. He said continuous rain since he was sworn in, about four months ago, was slowing down the rehabilitation/palliative work on the roads.

He, however, assured that the government was still working day and night to remedy the state of the roads in the state.

Against this backdrop, the General Manager, Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC), Olufemi Daramola, an engineer, said his outfit had begun full-scale repair and rehabilitation of roads across the state in fulfillment of the ‘Executive Order on Zero Tolerance’ for potholes declared by Sanwo-Olu.

He said the corporation had been providing palliatives with the use of boulders and crush stones on some roads across the state, to ensure free flow of traffic.

“In line with the Executive Order, we had to fix our plants and put some equipment and logistics in place, but the rain had slowed down our speed of delivery. However, things are getting better and we will go all out to enforce the governor’s directive because he feels the pain of the people and commuters across the state,’’ he said.

But not many people will agree with him. Mrs. Yetunde Daramola, a resident of Ilupeju, carpeted the agency for the deplorable condition of Fatai Atere Way, Matori and Ilupeju Bye Pass. She said she was once attacked at Ilupeju Bye Pass because she needed to slow down because of craters and potholes on the road. She regretted that residents and motorists spent about two hours to commute on a the road that otherwise should not take five minutes.

Furthermore, the Chairman of Yaba Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Kayode Adejare Omiyale, has called on the state government to rescue the local government from perennial flooding of Adebisi Street by Jacob Mus Estate and Herbert Macaulay Way near Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH).

He made the call when the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, visited his LCDA.

According to Omiyale, efforts have been made to de-silt the locations within the council, “but, so far, none of our efforts seemed to have yielded fruits.” He appealed to state officials to present the matter to the governor.

“To solve the flood challenges at the two locations will require a strong will backed by the state to remove all obstructing structures.”

Tunde Odofin, who has lived in Ajao Estate for 10 years, regretted that it seemed they are not a part of the city. He said if Lagos wanted to become a mega  city, it has to fix its mega pothole problems. A city is only as liveable as its decent infrastructure, he added.

He said: “The state of roads in Ajao Estate is horrible; we don’t have proper drainage channels and most of our roads are very bad, and the cost of maintaining a car in this environment is alarming”.

A resident of Ajangbadi, Chief Ebuka Ofodile, said it has become an ordeal to live in Ojo Local Government and its environs.

He said: “I must confess that, for quite a long time, we have not felt the presence of the government in this estate. In fact, it appears like the government has ignored us, some residents and business owners have used their hard-earned money to fix some of the roads so that they can be manageable. But, there is a limit to what they can do, which is why the government is needed.”

A tricycle operator, Udoh  Emmanuel, while lamenting that the bad state of the roads had affected business in the area, said the gridlock caused by the potholes had made commuting uneasy in the estate.

“The roads in Ajao Estate are an eyesore and for years, we have been going through hell. The government is behaving as if it is not aware that the bad state of the roads is responsible for the gridlock we experience daily, while plying the estate’s roads. The gridlock starts from 6.30am and ends around noon, but later resurfaces around 5pm. These periods are supposed to be our peak periods, but the gridlock is seriously affecting our income,’’ he said.

A civil engineer and Managing Director, Ethical Business and Management Associates, Victoria Island, Afolabi Adedeji, said contractors often use poor quality materials to build roads in Lagos. He explained why the roads in Lagos often go with the rains: “When the rains come around, it erodes all the poor quality materials that have been used to construct roads in Lagos during the dry season. Contractors short-change the state government including the poor quality of materials used in construction.”

He said it seemed to him that there is poor supervision by the government to ensure the right texture of materials are used for road construction while some state officials receive kickbacks from contractors to deliver poor quality roads.

According to him, what the government should be thinking of is partnering the private sector to handle most of the roads in the city, citing budget constraints. Afolabi recalled that through such partnerships Ajose Adeogun Street in Victoria was constructed by Zenith Bank while Saka Tinubu and Oyin Jalayemi roads also in Victoria Island were done by several banks that came together.

He canvassed the patronage of  alternative means of construction, such as using cement to construct  such as concrete roads  which he said has the capacity to last between 40 and 50 years though the initial capital outlay may be huge, he advised that the topography of the state calls for such technology.

The engineer also called for attitudinal change by Lagosians by stopping the ugly practice of unhealthy, indiscriminate dumping of refuse that blocks channels. According to him, most failed roads are as a result of water finding its way into the roads because their channels have been blocked.

He advised that people should embrace and adopt acceptable ways of disposing waste because the era of dumping waste into water channels was over.

Aliu Musa, a surveyor, regretted that the city’s drains have been totally covered with sand and stagnant water to the point that people no longer remember the channels, dumping refuse indiscriminately.

Source: thenationonlineng

Majority of Homes for Rent in Ireland Too Expensive for People on State Housing Benefits, Study Reveals

Simon Community research has discovered that just 3.7% of available properties are within rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment limits over four categories

The majority of homes for rent are too expensive for people who rely on State housing benefits, a new study revealed.

Simon Community research has discovered that just 3.7% of available properties are within rent supplement or Housing Assistance Payment limits over four categories.

And the snapshot survey by the charity found just 55 out of the 1,491 properties in 16 areas were affordable for those receiving standard HAP.

During the study, which was carried out from July 30 to August 2, a further 469 (31.5%) were found to be within Housing Assistance Payment discretion limits.

Simon Community spokesman Wayne Stanley said: “We are now at a point where it is becoming startlingly obvious the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is not driving the level of change in our housing system that is required.

“The structural foundation of housing provision in Ireland is not fit for purpose.” HAP is a type of rental benefit payment to provide assistance to lower-income people and
families.

Under the scheme, a tenant’s primary rent is paid directly to a landlord, while the person renting pays a different rent to their local council. The average cost of renting in Dublin was €1,713 a month between April and June this year – a €114 increase compared with the same quarterly period last year.

However, the city council’s limit for standard HAP in the capital is €1,300 for a family four – with the local authority having a 20% discretion to go higher than that.

The report also reveals single people and couples were worst affected by availability, with just four properties nationwide available to rent in those categories. Mr Stanley added: “Every day the Simon Communities in Ireland and others, are ending homelessness for individuals and families.

“However, the shortage of housing is driving more people into homelessness. We believe that a well-functioning, Government-led cost rental system is a key requirement in solving the housing crisis in Ireland.

“In the interim, low income families and individuals must be given the chance to find a home. In Budget 2020, we are calling for an increase in Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment rates to ensure they are kept in line with market rents.”

Meanwhile, the report found no properties were available to rent within standard or discretionary HAP limits across eight study areas for a single person or couple.

These areas were Limerick city centre, Limerick city suburbs, Waterford city centre, Portlaoise, Sligo town, Galway city centre, Cork city suburbs and Athlone.

The study was extended to five new areas for the first time – Dublin city north, Dublin city south, Limerick city suburbs, Galway city suburbs and Cork city suburbs.

Source: irishmirror

Nigeria Must Lead on Climate Change

That climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity today is no longer in doubt. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world must cut its carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 in order to prevent global warming of 1.5°C, or likely more, above pre-industrial levels.

In its 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has said that this year will be another hot year. It is important to note that 2018 was hotter than the preceding year; the trend is clear for all to see. The mean annual variability and trend of rainfall over Nigeria in the last six decades depicts several inter-annual fluctuations that have been responsible for dry and wet years or extreme climate events such as droughts and floods in many parts of the country.

NiMet has also predicted that as a result of these climatic conditions, incidences of malaria and other diseases will be higher in areas with temperatures ranging between 18-32C and with humidity above 60 percent.

More worrisome is the increasing knowledge that the country will be subject to consistent changes in rainfall and temperatures in the not-so-distant future. Hotter and drier conditions would likely exacerbate floods, droughts and heat waves and hamper agricultural production, particularly rain-fed agriculture, which many Nigerians rely on for their livelihoods. Agriculture accounts for around 23 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Unless we take action, these trends are likely to jeopardize hard-won progress. Already climate-induced conflicts are exacerbating fragile security situations, with flashpoints mainly in the middle belt of the country. Climate change therefore, poses a significant threat to Nigeria’s development ambitions of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and could stunt and even reverse the progress that’s already been made.

The world is in a race to limit climate change and find workable, practical, and cost-efficient solutions to this emergency that is redefining global partnerships in a way not seen before. This is a race we, as humanity, can win. But for this to happen, unprecedented leadership, sacrifices, concessions from all nations big and small are needed. Nigeria has ratified the 2915 Paris Agreement. This is commendable considering it is one of the top six greenhouse gas emitters in Africa.

The country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) made under the Paris Agreement embodies the country’s efforts to reduce national emissions and to adapt to the effects of climate change. If fully implemented, these efforts will pave way for a low carbon economy and result in about 50 percent reduction in emissions. At the same time, the economy will grow at an average annual rate of five percent by 2030. This represents an important milestone in tackling the challenges of climate change.

Recently, UNDP launched the NDC Global Outlook Report: The Heat Is On: Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition and the UNDP Climate Promise to help 100 countries to step up their NDCs. The report offers a comprehensive review of how nations are stepping up climate action and how they are linking these policies to the SDGs. According to the report, nearly half of the world, 75 nations representing 37 percent of emissions, are deeply committed to doing the right thing, right now. President Mohammadu Buhari’s plan for tackling climate change as laid out at the UNGA at Climate Change Summit is timely, ambitious and essential. It would foster a low-carbon, high growth economic development path and build a climate resilient Nigeria.

The president’s seven-point plans reiterates commitment to concrete actions towards the Paris Agreement goals. The imperativeness of the president’s speech in front of the whole world leaves Nigeria with no other option than to lead the way.

UNDP is committed to supporting Nigeria on this course. The UNDP-NDC Support Programme is already fully operational, with the clear target of increased engagement with government and the private sector. In the important years ahead, three pillars: ambition, acceleration and mobilization will guide and shape our support.

At UNDP, we will remain steadfast and accompany the government and people of this great country on this path.

Source: undp

Expert Offers Insights on Why Global Funds Elude Nigerian Property Market

Though Nigeria has a large property market with huge and compelling opportunities for investors, it is not receiving the kind of investments funds it should from global investors for a number of reasons that are not clear to the investors.

Besides the frequently cited unfriendly business environment, these investors lack knowledge of how Nigerian property market works. This, according to Bill Endsley, Principal at World Citizen Consulting, is because there is lack of transparency in the market just as transactional data is non-existent.

“There are billions of global funds flowing into the property market at the moment, but not much is coming into Nigerian market; investors are unwilling to come to put their money here,” noted Endsley who spoke in an interview with BusinessDay on the sideline of a FIABCI International Real Estate Consultant (FIREC) programme hosted by FIABCI-Nigeria chapter in Lagos at the weekend.

Endsley pointed out that even though risks are always there for any investor, those risks have to be priced so that an investor that is coming will understand what exactly the risks are. He noted, however that it was difficult now to price the risks in the Nigerian property market because of what he called “unclean window”.

“We need to clean the window so that investors can see the risks,” he advised, adding that the Nigerian market also lacks transactional data for which the market should be looking at the property laws, the qualification of the professionals and the role of the banking sector in property transaction.

The stressed the need to train Nigerian professionals on international norms for real estate investing and standards so that they can attract more foreign direct real estate investors. He added that the professionals have to be brought to the level of world class consultants so that they can move Nigeria away from oil economy to the world of investment in property.

Endsley affirmed that there were opportunities in the Nigerian property market and now was the prime time to invest in the market because, as he put it, ‘the country is trying to move away from the commodity-oil economy to a new industry and property is the foundation of everything.”

For the investors, he advised that they should do proper market and financial analyses, explaining that market analysis would involve finding out what the market needs—whether it is residential or commercial property, while financial analysis would be looking at the cash flow and bank transactions.

FIREC programme, already in its second edition, is an annual event through which FIABCI trains and educates its members on current trends in the built industry. It is all about real estate and how things are done globally with reference to Nigeria.

“We need to push ahead otherwise the whole of us in the entire building industry will be far behind. In this age of digitalization, we need to keep abreast of events because things have changed drastically,” noted Adeniji Adele, President, FIABCI Nigeria chapter.

Continuing, the president said, “we need to begin to gain insightful knowledge and share same. That is the essence of this programme. It is about gaining insightful knowledge and keying into international principles and practice; we believe in the continuous education of our members and also in sharing knowledge. We also need to connect with other professionals in the outside world.”

He explained that the business world has become global and the real estate market has been internationalized, saying this has resulted in the need for professionals to transact business with investors from diverse cultures and backgrounds making it imperative for professionals to figure out how to deal with these cultural differences in their negotiations.

Source: Busineesadyng

Dealers Urge Government To Tackle Substandard Building Materials

Amid increasing cases of building collapse, dealers of construction-based products have urged the Federal Government to strengthen implementation of existing policies and guidelines regulating importation of substandard products into the country.

They argued that the circulation of substandard products in the market has worsened, hence the need for government to fish out the bad eggs in the sector.

President of Coker building materials and allied products dealers association, Mazi Justin Okpani who raised the issue on the sidelines of the association 40th anniversary in Lagos said, although the building and plumbing material market is a lucrative business but the greatest problem encountered by the operators is low turn over as a result of poor economic situation in Nigeria.

He said, “Some of the substandard products brought to Nigeria are from Chinese companies and they have a way of beating government agencies. So when they now bring it at a relatively cheap cost, it would fall back on those who import standard and quality products. The competition is so severe but those who value quality still patronize us.

“There are policy and rules guiding importation of fake building products however, the greatest problem is implementation. If government could step up its enforcement, government would be able to curtail inflow of substandard building materials into the country.”

He called on the government to cut the cost of clearing goods, which is observed was too high compared to what it used to be in the past while measures should be put in place to reduce the cost and the time of clearing goods.

“It takes an average of a month to bring goods from the Wharf and that is not suppose to be the case. A week is enough to bring in goods. The road to the Apapa Wharf is not really friendly and our containers fall down every time due to bad road. The government needs to reduce the tariff and give incentives to those that are bringing good into the country, especially those that have to do with agriculture like water pump and fire-fighting equipment. The import duties on such sensitive items should be reduced.”

Okpani said operators must be made to register their goods and products registered with the Standard Organization of Nigeria and NAFDAC to guide against infiltration of adulterated products into the market.

“Though, you can’t beat them because what they do is that the bad goods are often off loaded outside of the market because existing task force department of association doesn’t tolerate such.”

He stressed the need to educate Nigerians to stop patronizing fake materials which are often sell out at cheaper rate, adding that such products complicates the rate of building collapse in Nigeria.

“This vision encouraged the founders to establish new market frontiers in Odun Ade-Ade market, Agric coker market, fire and equipment market and the marble market in Ifelodun and Orile Iganmu areas”

Speaking with The Guardian, a member of the association, Chief Michael Ugokwe also urged the government to intervene by blacklisting those bringing materials illegally to the country.

Ugokwe also advised the government to be liberal in spending on capital projects to help the middle class and the low class investors to patronize the market because is the highest spender and improving it’s spending would cut across all strata of the Nigerian economy.

SOURCE:Guardian

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