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Africa Construction industry performance survey for 2018

A quarterly survey of the performance of the construction industry in Africa from a panel of construction industry players in various countries in Africa. Read on and see how the construction industry fared in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Over the last decade, Africa has seen its ups and downs as economic fortunes wax and wane. To determine where Africa stood in 2018, Construction Review interviewed over 700 participants drawn mainly from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria in order to determine how they felt 2018 compared to 2017. Collating the information produced interesting conclusions.

When comparing Kenya South Africa and Nigeria, Nigeria emerged as the most positive market with regards to improvement of the construction industry in 2018 over 2017.

Overall 52% of the Nigerians polled felt the construction industry was better or much better in the 3rd quarter compared to 42% for Kenyans while only a dismal 13% of South African respondents felt any reason to smile.

Table: 52 percent of Nigerians felt that the construction industry in the third quarter was better or much better than quarter 2.

 

Much better

The report took a closer look at this cadre of respondents particularly those that felt there had been an unusual improvement by looking at those who felt the improvement was ‘much better’ not only ‘better’.

It turns out that for Nigeria the reason was the fact that the country is emerging from a major slump after the fall of crude oil prices in the preceding years.

For Kenya those seeing major improvement felt it was due to a more stable political environment in the wake of a nail gripping general election and its aftermath. For South Africa virtually no one fell into this space suggesting that the South Africans were are very dismal lot in 2018.

Which occupations experienced the best improvements

Respondents were asked to categorise themselves as government, consultants, contractors or suppliers in the industry. From this it emerged that for those who were a very satisfied lot in the construction industry virtually all the respondents were consultants and project manager in Nigeria with no contractor or building supplier sharing the same sentiments.

In Kenya those feeling that the industry had enjoyed a much better improvement than in 2017 the respondents were equally drawn from the consultants, builders and suppliers of products and machinery. This could mean that in Nigeria the projects are on the drawing board and have not filtered down to actual project commencement while for Kenya this could mean these are ongoing projects.

Housing a key driver

In Nigeria improved performance was driven by housing with over 85% of respondents being active here while for Kenya which was also housing it stood at 52%. This means that housing was a key driver of the improved construction activity but more so in Nigeria than in Kenya

Why were South Africans a dour lot

From the table below for South Africa the performance of the construction sectors formed an almost perfect staircase where worst off in the year was those depending on the growth in the commercial building and housing sectors and telecommunications least so.

Respondents felt that the primary reasons for this state of affairs is lack of government and private spending in the sectors coupled by cut throat competition for the few jobs available which has meant projects were virtually not profitable. The upcoming elections has also introduced uncertainty.]

Source: Robert Barnes, ConstructionReviewOnline

Using Technology To Boost Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry

The world is getting smarter; people are getting more connected than ever before, the universe has become so central that with the snap of a finger or as they say with ”one-click” you are connected to another person who is more than 5000 kilometres away from where you are. It is safe to say that without technology, most of the innovations that have made life easier would not have been possible.

Whether we like it or we don’t, technology has come to stay, and with time, it is going to form the basis of everyday living. When channelled in the right path, technology has proven to improve the quality of life, and when it falls into the wrong hands, the consequences are devastating.

Technology has improved the way we work and live; it will change the future of work as more technologies are going to be deployed at the workplace increasing productivity in the process. Most industries have started incorporating technology into their operations, and you cannot blame them because let’s face it, technology is the future.

When thinking about real estate, technology and productivity in one breath, it is very easy for your mind to go to the cutting edge technologies adopted in developing a site right from when the first block is laid to when the building is finally completed. You are not wrong to think that.

Over the years, the real estate industry has undergone a technological transformation of its own. It used to be drawing out plans on broadsheets, but now with the help of 3D imaging, developers have now been able to express their creativity better and more precise.

This improves productivity as less time is spent on drawing out the plan, printing it out and then having to sell the idea to the client is entirely a different ball game but with 3D, it’s faster to get the designs out, and it is self-explanatory.

Almost all if not every part of real estate is touched by technology, from the beginning of the home search to closing deals, every transaction can be done with the click of a button. The internet has proved to be a blessing to the real estate industry, and that is set to continue for a long time.

Technology has also improved productivity when the way houses are designed is factored in, how you may ask. With the new trend of “Smart Houses”, productivity is further enhanced as the automation affords the occupant/owner of the apartment the luxury of focusing on other things instead of having to run the apartment manually.

While the shift to smarter homes is still relatively new to the Nigerian real estate industry, some developers have taken commendable steps into ensuring that they meet up with the global technological standards in the industry.

One of these forward-thinking developers is Hall 7, a real estate development company based in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. Established in 2013, Hall 7 Real Estate symbolises hallmark of excellence and perfection in the Real Estate sector. The company’s constant delivery of innovative, top notch and specialised customer experiences has enabled it to set the pace in the Real Estate sector.

Despite being relatively young in the business of real estate, Hall 7 is setting the pace for others to follow. From design to execution, their clients get exactly what was designed and even more by the time the project is completed. The brand says it “doesn’t promise but delivers”, this is particularly encouraging considering how a lot of developers promise you the world and then deliver structures below the expected standard.

Hall 7 is technologically inclined; it is evident that they are when one checks out the projects they have delivered in their six years existence, The Brookshore Residence and The Bridge Peridot are two examples of the company’s technological prowess. The Bridge, for example, is an automated set of apartments and townhouses, where all you need is just the press of a button away. You control lighting, temperature, entertainment systems, and appliances electronically with literally a snap of your fingers. When it comes to security, the bridge peridot is fully secured using some of the best security technologies in the world.

CEO of Hall 7, Olayinka Braimoh, a young and tech-savvy developer had this to say earlier in the year at the commissioning of the bridge peridot. “ We want to do things differently, that is why we decided on developing The Bridge Peridot which took more than two years to complete because we wanted it to be of world standard and we are pleased that we achieved that using some cutting edge technologies. We are excited about commissioning this, and we look to doing more for the Nigerian real estate sector in the near future”.

Living in an automated home like the two mentioned above for apparent reasons improves productivity, as you spend less time on managing your apartment because the houses are automated, you have more time to relax and also focus your energy on other things.

When you look at the success of Hall 7’s Bridge Peridot, you’d see that Nigerians are particular about value. If you’re not offering value to the typical Nigerian then whatever you are providing them is meaningless, and you can never fault them for that, because, who doesn’t want value anyways.

Real estate companies in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country have a huge mandate to provide value to their customers because of the capital involved. One just cannot invest a considerable amount of money in a real estate project and not expect value in return. However, most real estate firms in Nigeria have fallen short of that in recent times.

This sometimes stems from their being in a hurry to finish up the project because the client can no longer wait. At other times, it’s down to some of the companies in the industry being outrightly incapable of delivering value.

But for Hall 7, the company has been able to excellently tap into technology in its operations and build processes such that each project has something technologically unique about it. In its six years of existence, the firm has been responsible for the development of arguably some of the best and tech-driven neighbourhood in the federal capital territory.

Aside the Bridge Peridot, there’s also the Brook Shore. Like the Bridge Peridot, the Brook Shore is fully automated.

In their execution, Hall 7 employed some of the best technologies available to make sure its buildings are safe, stands the test of time and at the same time gives the customer what they want. In a country where getting value for money is becoming very difficult to find, Hall 7 has made sure that the client gets what they asked for but with some extra features that makes the customer’s experience a whole lot better than it would have been.

It is that extra attention to details and those additional features that makes the client know they have gotten value for money and Hall 7 real estate is constantly working to make sure they deliver that value to their customers.

Source: Similoluwa Olunloyo

Collaboration, New Tools and Real Innovation in Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry

People who believe Africa is truly rising share a similar conviction about the opportunities that abound, and the people’s willingness to harness those opportunities; which often come in the form of challenges. Of course, for great things to happen, the ingredients are often – a problem begging to be solved, someone willing to solve them and access to the right tools and resources to solve them. In Africa, the problems are many and so are the people – all burning with a desire to write their names in the sands of time.

In Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, there is an average of 1 entrepreneur in every group of 3 young people you meet; all of them striving daily to make their lives and those of people in their environment better. While their entrepreneurial friends in other continents seem to be tackling more advanced issues and going about their innovator journey differently, they and their colleagues back home are burdened with basic challenges like food, shelter, trade efficiencies and more.

For instance, while a population boom looms, a housing deficit looms as well, which implies that a large number of those yet unborn will be faced with homelessness or the inadequacies of the homes that exist.

One of the many gifts today’s innovators have is collaboration. Closely tied with collaboration is the gift of technology. Now more than ever people have the opportunity to learn and adapt efficiencies from anywhere in the world, taking learnings and improving them to suit the experience they want for their users. What this often means for users is that they get the best value for the best price, all thanks to technology and the opportunity to chart their own course, themselves. Let’s explain.

Six years ago, a Nigerian real estate firm opened shop in Nigeria’s capital, setting out to do things quite differently in the hope of solving the huge housing deficit that exists in the country. An easy option for them would’ve been to do real estate like everyone else, but they banked on technology and a collaborative approach to offer people real value for money. Despite the deficit that exists in Nigeria, there are a number of unoccupied homes in Nigeria, owing to the fact that they often don’t meet clients’ tastes or are too pricey for the basic things they offer. To be able to stand out, this real estate firm – Hall 7, gives to-be owners the opportunity to design their own homes, while they employ the very best tools to deliver those dream homes, with an extra techy touch.

In a short while, the firm has been able to deliver three massive projects that currently enjoy huge habitation and strong recommendations. One thing the firm takes pride in is the market it has created for affordable luxury homes. Nigeria has a growing middle class, and it is only smart that premium housing is made available within their financial reach. The way to do this, as Hall 7 has shown over the years, is to provide beautiful homes with usable tech, not pricey ones. The company has been able to clearly define what makes for premium housing and their offer of value over costs speaks to that definition.

Residents of her Bridge Peridot Apartments, one of its luxury projects, enjoy a daily reminder of the classy touch they paid for when they opted for a home there. Each time they step into their home, the lights glow up in a bid to announce their presence and welcome them to their haven. They go on to enjoy more automated responses from their home and the experience of your house being able to regulate itself and try to detect how to make you feel better never gets old and is only possible given how much technology inventions have evolved. As recipients of home automation glory, there are endless possibilities for Hall 7 homeowners, and as always with technology, future homeowners in any Hall 7 projects will find more useful to these tools that the firm has mastered.

Beyond the opportunity to create unique homes with brilliant finishing, new homeowners remain at an advantage considering the number of things which could be done today, that were impossible years back. Hall 7 has a Hexagon Courtyard as part of the Imperial Vista project, which spots two suspended floors, built with the best architectural calculations and complete quality assurance. Before these homes become brick and mortar, their owners get a chance to virtually tour them, have a feel of the future; and in less time than usual, hold their home keys or key cards in their hands. The seamless process and the chance to create these havens side by side with their owners is one reason for the wide acceptability and the continued fulfilled promise of value.

For the team at Hall 7, led by their CEO – Olayinka Braimoh, the future is really boundless and they can’t wait to create something new alongside their next homeowners.

By: Techcabal

Ogun completes MTR Garden, urges maintenance culture

The Ogun State Property Investment Company (OPIC) has completed the first phase of its residential apartment, MTR Gardens Isheri, located along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.The premium apartment style community was conceived in 2015 to resolve environmental challenges that had devastated property values in the Isheri/ Riverview area and developed in line with the state’s urban regeneration drive.

The first phase is situated on a 789 square meters and made up of 25 blocks of 150 units of three bedrooms and 36 units two bedrooms.According to the officials, the estate was developed to complement the Makun City, the pilot phase; Family Homes Fund housing project located the same axis built as high and low medium homes.

The MTR Gardens is made up of 32 three bedrooms with two boys quarters each fully fitted with air conditioners and 24 two bedrooms.Described as exquisite affordable offering within the neigbourhood, a unit of three bedrooms fully finished with fitted kitchen and air-conditioners goes for N32 million while its completed shell goes for N24 million.

The two bedrooms, standard finishes goes for N18.5 million, while its completed shell goes for N14 million. It also offers a wide range of facilities, including a multi purpose gym, basket ball court, swimming pool, club and lounge, neighhood supermarket, 24 hours power supply, integrated security networks, artesian water, integrated sewage solution and broadband internet services.There is also a flexible payment plans with 50 per cent down payment, and the rest spread across 12 months with a mortgages provided by Gateway Mortgage Bank, Home Base and Trusbond Mortgage banks.

Speaking on the project, the Managing Director, Ogun State Property Investment Company (OPIC), Babajide Odusolu, said the MTR Gardens was developed to ensure that many businesses owners live and work in Ogun. To boost the property value in the axis, the state, he said, are in the process of completing a 1.5 kilometre road in the area with a plan to bring in one megawatt Independent Power Plant (IPP) before the end of the year to compliment the power supply in the estate. Odusolu also said, the state would soon commence the commercial segment in its second phase with the building of a world-class city mall, with offices and hotel in order to recreate the quality of life in the axis.

Meanwhile, the State’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ogun State Ministry of Housing, Sulaimon Oladipo, an architect, has called for the formulation of maintenance policy and the inclusion of maintenance culture in the country’s educational curriculum. Oladipo who delivered a lecture on  ‘’Maintenance Culture in the Protection of Government Properties’’ at a training programme organised by the State’s Civil Service Commission in Abeokuta, urged Nigerians to embrace good maintenance culture.

In a statement signed by the Press Officer, Ministry of Housing, Olawale Osunbiyi, he said the influx of quacks in the Nigeria housing sector, has been identified as the major cause of building collapse in the country. According to him, loss of lives and properties usually associated with building collapse would have been avoided, if professionals were engaged.

The Director, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Ogun State Chapter, added that other key factors responsible for building collapse included, use of substandard building materials and poor maintenance culture. Earlier, the Acting Chairman, Ogun State Civil Service Commission, Alhaji Surajudeen Olusesi, said the need for a renaissance in maintenance culture among members of the public towards government property, prompted the commission to organise the training.

Source: Guardianng

ICC Approves Shipping Containers For Building Structures

The addition to Chapter 31 of the International Building Code (IBC) will spell out what code officials should look for in container construction to confirm structural safety.With a 97% yes vote, the International Code Council (ICC) membership officially ratified a change to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) that would allow ISO shipping containers to be used in commercial construction.

The addition to Chapter 31 of the IBC — the chapter on special construction — will spell out what code officials should look for in container construction to confirm structural safety.

Representatives from the shipping container building industry and code officials will also introduce more clarity into the IBC on the safe use of shipping containers by releasing a corresponding set of guidelines that explain the new shipping container building codes.

“This vote is a major victory for both code officials and the container-based structures industry,” said Stephen Shang, Falcon Structures CEO and co-chair of the ICC’s Container Industry Task Force.

A 97% yes vote is uncommon in ICC’s final action hearings. Shang and Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute, credit the enormous support to code officials’ near universal desire to implement the guidelines.

Not long ago, code officials were required to go through the cumbersome alternative mean and methods provision to approve containers in construction. As more developers look to shipping container construction, code officials and building professionals have been seeking a streamlined process.

The new change in tandem with container acceptance criteria (AC462) and the ICC’s guidelines for container use, will mitigate process of approving shipping container structures. “Once states adopt the 2021 IBC we expect to see an uptick in this type of construction activity,” said Hardiman.

Falcon Structures, a provider of AC462 compliant shipping containers, has already seen growing interest in container buildings thanks to the ongoing collaboration between the ICC and the MBI’s Container Task Force. Shang anticipates the momentum will only continue to grow now that the 2021 IBC will formally sanction the use of containers.

“Incorporation into the building code ushers in a new era for repurposing shipping containers and demonstrates the win-win that happens when code officials and industry leaders work together,” said Shang.

Founded in 2003, Falcon Structures repurposes steel shipping containers into AC462 code-compliant modules for container-based buildings, as well as single container structures for living, working and storage. As part of its work, Falcon has manufactured the largest shipping container structure to date, the 122-container stadium, Fortress Obetz in Obetz, OH.

Source: Facility Executive

IMPROVED HOUSING DOUBLES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA BUT MILLIONS REMAIN IN SLUMS

A new study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London and Malaria Atlas Project, University of Oxford has revealed that improved housing had doubled on the African continent between 2000 and 2015.

The study published in the “Nature International Journal of Science” is the first accurate estimate of urban and rural housing quality in sub-Saharan Africa and was done using state-of-the-art mapping. While highlighting the positive transformation in the region, the prevalence of improved housing doubling from 11% in 2000 to 23% in 2015, the study also estimates that 53 million urban Africans (in the countries analyzed) still lived in slum conditions in 2015.

Lead author Dr. Lucy Tusting, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who conducted the work while at the Malaria Atlas Project, University of Oxford, said: “Adequate housing is a human right. The housing need is particularly urgent in Africa where the population is predicted to more than double by 2050. A remarkable development is occurring across the continent but until now this trend had not been measured on a large scale.

These results are a crucial step to reaching sustainable development goals as quickly as possible, and show that African housing is transforming, with huge potential to improve human health and wellbeing.”

 

Adequate housing is integral to many associated health outcomes including mental health, respiratory disease, diarrhoeal disease, and vector-borne diseases, such as malaria. Addressing the housing needs of a growing population is, therefore, key to sustainable urban development and the health and wellbeing of millions of Africans.

 

The researchers say these new data will be vital to guide interventions to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 which aims for universal access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and to upgrade slums by 2030. Graham Alabaster from UN-Habitat emphasized that “the opportunity and need for better housing will be an answer to Africa which is faced with a rapid shift in economic and demographic profile”.

To produce these new estimates, the researchers combined data from 661,945 households from 31 countries into a model using an innovative technique that allowed the prevalence of different house types to be mapped across the African continent. Housing was categorized using the United Nations description, where houses with improved water and sanitation, sufficient living area and durable construction were considered to be improved. Housing lacking any one of these features was considered to be unimproved.

The prevalence of improved housing was highest in countries including Botswana, Gabon and Zimbabwe, and lower in countries such as South Sudan. The researchers also found that the housing transition may be linked to economic development. Improved housing was 80% more likely among more educated households and twice as likely in the wealthiest households, compared to the least educated and poorest families.

Senior author Dr. Samir Bhatt from the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London said: “These findings highlight that poor sanitation remains commonplace across much of sub-Saharan Africa, which may be holding back progress to improve living conditions. Our study demonstrates that people are wisely investing in their homes, but there is also an urgent need for governments to help improve water and sanitation infrastructure.” To be able to meet SDG 6 – Clean water and Sanitation.

“The changes that we have observed are incredibly significant, especially since households mostly paid for these improvements with their own incomes and no external financing. From a public health perspective, this trend presents a massive opportunity for African governments to accelerate ongoing efforts against vector-borne diseases such as malaria, and to secure such gains for the long-term said” Dr Fredros Okumu, Director of Science at Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, and a co-author of the paper

The authors acknowledge the limitations of their study including the difficulty of using a single definition to capture the full range of housing conditions across sub-Saharan Africa. The study also relied on national surveys which may not be directly comparable due to variation in their methods and data collection procedures, and which represent a limited sample of African households.

Dr Tusting was supported by a fellowship from the UK Medical Research Council to conduct this work.

Why Obaseki is embarking on luxury apartments devt in Benin, by EDPA

The Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) has said its foray into luxury apartment development in Benin City, the Edo State Capital is a response to the changing dynamics in the business community in the city ushered in by the booming private sector presence.

Executive Chairperson, EDPA, Isoken Omo, in a chat with journalists, said that the state government is backing the project because it aligns with its vision to open up the state for development and provide a conducive environment for investors to do business.

Recall that the agency recently signed an agreement with Iron Projects Limited for development of 18-unit luxury apartment in Central Road, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin City, being the first of such project in the state.

Omo said that the state government’s contribution to the project is just the landed property and provision of necessary support for the realization of the project, as there was no funding commitment on the side of government.

According to her, “The project will meet part of the housing requirements by providing shelter but more importantly, it will create economic activities which will drive employment and encourage people to come and live, work and enjoy Benin. Businesses in the state will also benefit hugely from this investment. New lines of businesses will open up as a result of this project.”

She continued, “We have hotels in Benin, like Protea Hotels and Best Western Hotel, which cater for high value individuals that come to do business in the state, but they are not sufficient because of the numbers of such visitors.

“Our development will be completely furnished and serviced to provide a home away from home for visitors. Its proximity to the Edo State Government House, Benin Airport and the Golf Course, coupled with the serenity of the location, will make it a must-have for frequent visitors to the State. We already have interested buyers for the units.”

Source: Thenationonlineng

What you need to know about Oyedepo’s multi-billion naira Canaan City

Canaan City, a multi-billion naira housing project being developed by the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo has been opened for habitation. There are certain things you need to know about this city.

The project, a mortgage scheme which is one of the most affordable housing schemes in the country today gives church staff 30 years to pay up while also giving members convenient time frames to pay for houses of their choice and capability.

Canaan City project was first announced a few years ago during Shiloh. The Estate which has a fence of several kilometers will have its own police station, fire service station, shopping malls, parks and gardens, sport centers, swimming pools and Independent Power Plant (IPP), among other facilities.

On completion, Canaan City with ranges of homes from affordable one bedroom flats to duplexes and terraces is billed to become the largest housing estate in Africa.

The 15,000 housing estate called ‘Canaan City’ would be the second largest single housing estate in the world, second only to the Co-Op City Estate, a 15,342 housing estate located in Bronx, New York and built between 1968 and 1973 in the USA housing over 56,000 people.

Like it is at the various estates within the Redemption Camp of the Pastor Enoch Adeboye led Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Canaan City is not open for sale to non-members of the Church.

 

Source: PMNewsNigeria

Housing Department Charges Facebook With Discrimination

he U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today filed charges against Facebook for allegedly violating the Fair Housing Act by encouraging, enabling and causing housing discrimination through the tech giant’s advertising platform.

HUD claims Facebook discriminates against users by restricting who can view housing-related ads on Facebook’s platforms and across the internet. The complaint also charges that Facebook mines extensive data about its users and then uses the data to determine which of its users view housing-related ads based on these protected characteristics.

“Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Facebook pledging to do more to protect users from discrimination on its site. On March 19, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, announced in a blog post that changes “will better protect people on Facebook.”

Sandberg stated: “Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.”

In a new blog post today announcing a better way to learn about ads on Facebook, product manager Satwik Shukla said the company is updating its archives to make it easier to learn about all Facebook ads and the pages that run them.

“We’re committed to creating a new standard of transparency and authenticity for advertising,” said Shukla, adding: “By the end of June, we’ll roll out transparency tools for political or issue ads around the world.”

HUD claims Facebook enabled advertisers to exclude people whom Facebook classified as parents; non-American-born; non-Christian; interested in accessibility; interested in Hispanic culture; or a wide variety of other interests that closely align with the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes. HUD also accuses Facebook of allowing advertisers to exclude people based on their neighborhood by drawing a red line around those neighborhoods on a map.

HUD’s charge also asserts that Facebook “uses the protected characteristics of people to determine who will view ads regardless of whether an advertiser wants to reach a broad or narrow audience. HUD claims Facebook combines data it collects about user attributes and behavior with data it obtains about user behavior on other websites and in the non-digital world.

Facebook then allegedly uses machine learning and other prediction techniques to classify and group users to project each user’s likely response to a given ad, and in doing so, may recreate groupings defined by their protected class.”

The charge concludes that by grouping users who have similar attributes and behaviors (unrelated to housing) and presuming a shared interest or disinterest in housing-related advertisements, Facebook’s mechanisms function just like an advertiser who intentionally targets or excludes users based on their protected class.

“Even as we confront new technologies, the fair housing laws enacted over half a century ago remain clear—discrimination in housing-related advertising is against the law,” said HUD General Counsel Paul Compton. “Just because a process to deliver advertising is opaque and complex doesn’t mean that it exempts Facebook and others from our scrutiny and the law of the land. Fashioning appropriate remedies and the rules of the road for today’s technology as it impacts housing are a priority for HUD.”

Source: Forbes

NHF Bill: Experts differ on implications for the economy

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

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

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

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

How housing development impacts the economy

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

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

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

An overview of Nigeria’s acute housing deficit

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

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

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

Like Nigeria, other nations equally affected

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

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

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

Recent declines

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

More investments needed to close housing deficits

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

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

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

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

Analysts at loggerheads on the impact of proposed NHF law

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

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

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

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

He further stated the following:

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

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

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

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

The financial expert further stated:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He stated further,

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

Source: NairaMetrics

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