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Shared Responsibility: Building And Sustaining Strong Economic Future For Nigeria~ Atedo N A Peterside

I consider it a great honour and privilege to have been invited as the Keynote Speaker on the occasion of the Dinner to celebrate the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit here today in Abuja. The organisers told me they wanted a speaker who was an active participant at the first Summit held a little over 25 years ago and who is still active today.  When I went back to read the Report of the 1st Nigerian Economic Summit which kicked off on 18 February 1993, my first reaction was one of humility and thanksgiving to God that I am still here 25 years later; I never realised that so many out of that very first batch of Summiteers had since passed on. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace.

My second reaction, however, was one of disappointment that some of the exact same economic issues and problems that plagued Nigeria then are still being debated here 25 years later. I am not claiming that we have not achieved phenomenal progress in certain areas such as telecommunications, commercial and investment banking, Pension reform and other service sector pursuits such as Information Technology, Music, Film, Art and Fashion.

GDP Growth: Triumph of Sustainable Government Policies The harsh reality is that whatever gains Nigeria achieved in income per capita over the course of the last two decades are slowly being wiped out, as falling annual per capita incomes have become the norm in every single year since 2015.

Macroeconomists measure broad aggregates and the numbers do not lie. The investment and GDP statistics used here were obtained with the assistance of Dr Yemi Kale, who heads the National Bureau of Statistics. In a nutshell, falling living standards appear to have come to stay in Nigeria and so hordes of Nigerians continue to join the ranks of the extremely poor year after year, at a time when several African countries are successfully lifting more and more of their own people out of poverty. World Bank data confirms that the African countries who have been most successful (Top ten) at reducing extreme poverty over the course of a 15-year period spanning the Year 2000 to 2015 are Tanzania, Chad, Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Congo DRC, Ethiopia, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda & Uganda. When the earlier Summits were being held in the 1990s, some of the most popular comparisons by presenters were those between Nigeria and Malaysia, Indonesia and various other Asian tigers. Today, we can clearly benefit from case studies on poverty reduction emanating from Africa’s top ten. The same can be said for education, healthcare and infrastructure where Nigeria does not feature in Africa’s top ten in terms of rapid positive change. Indeed, Nigeria now leads the world in two appalling statistics:

1) the largest number of school-age children out of primary school (10.5m), and

2) the total number of persons living in extreme poverty (90m approx.). It was not so in 1993.

Nigeria must invest in innovative technology to survive — Soludo There is a frightening and ominous link between these two sets of statistics because children who are ill-equipped in terms of basic primary education are likely to be the most difficult to integrate into a 21st Century economy. Many of them were born into poverty and will remain in poverty unless we do something urgently to rescue them. Even more worrying are the regional disparities that show up when socioeconomic data is disaggregated. For instance, the WAEC May/June 2019 WASSCE results show that 9 out of the top 10 states with the best results are from the South East and South-South zones – Lagos State is the only top 10 entrant from outside these two zones.

Conversely, of the bottom 8 States on this same Exam results chart, five are from the North West, whilst three are from the North-East zone. In the 1990s, rapid economic growth eluded many Sub-Saharan African economies. In 2018, the average GDP growth rate for Sub-Saharan African economies was 2.4 per cent, but if you exclude the two largest economies (Nigeria and South Africa), who are both laggards, then the GDP growth rate for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa immediately leaps up to five per cent. We therefore no longer need to go to Asia to learn lessons about rapid growth. We only need to look to Ivory Coast and Senegal in West Africa which grew at 7.40 per cent and 7.0 per cent respectively or to Ethiopia and Rwanda in East Africa, which grew by 8.50 per cent and 7.20 per cent respectively in 2018. The fore-runner of GDP growth is the Investment/GDP ratio. If there are little or no investments today, then there will be little or no growth in a couple of year’s time. The double-digit growth of 2002 came on the back of the very high Investment/GDP ratio of 35% recorded in the year 2000, which was the first full year following the restoration of democracy.

Thereafter, the long term trend for Nigeria’s Investment/GDP ratio has been a near-continuous downward slide. By 2012, the Investment to GDP ratio had slid all the way to below 15% and so GDP growth rates were bound to fall sharply after 2013. ALSO READ: We Must Struggle to Match UAE in Technological Advancement – Pantami As GDP growth rates fizzled out in 2015 and 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) compounded the situation by embarking on forex policies which caused investors to both take fright and take flight at the same time. The inevitable outcome was an economic recession. It was only after CBN succumbed to pressure in early 2017 to allow a Nafex exchange rate, where all business units and individuals could buy and sell forex freely at a market-determined exchange rate of N360/$1 approx., that supply bottlenecks slowly disappeared and the economy limped out of a recession. The Nigerian economy is however still largely stagnant and so anaemic GDP growth rates which fall below the approximate three per cent population growth rate are not cause for celebration. With high inflation rates in the 11% range, which CBN appears to have accepted as being the norm, investors now fear stagflation. Compare and contrast this with Ivory Coast and Senegal which held inflation below two per cent and grew GDP in excess of seven per cent in 2018.

Before going into prescriptions it is important to update this audience about the current structure of the Nigerian economy, which is significantly different from what prevailed in 1993 in 5 important areas:

  1.  Over 50 per cent of our GDP now comes from the Service Sector. CBN appeared to have forgotten this in 2016 when directing banks to allocate 60 per cent of forex to the manufacturing sector that accounted for less than 10 per cent of GDP. CBN also held out the false hope that denial of forex to specific sectors of the economy would somehow incentivise investors in other sectors. The reality is that draconian actions directed at one group of investors simply make other investors think “so who is next and/or what is next”? A corollary of this proposition is to point out that actions and pronouncements that increase overall Uncertainty and Risk are likely to be counter-productive if the goal is to boost investment activity generally.
  2. Inward diaspora remittances now eclipse the oil and gas sector as the number one source of forex for Nigeria. Again, CBN overlooked this while trying to force these inflows to come in at a stipulated official rate of N200/$1 at a time when the parallel market had galloped beyond N400/$1 in 2016;
  3. Our ICT sector’s GDP contribution has since outgrown the oil and gas sector share of GDP and so it should be heralded and nurtured instead of being attacked by rogue regulators as has become fashionable;
  4.  The split of aggregate demand between the Private Sector and the Government Sector (all 3 tiers) is now 91.5%/8.5%. Some Nigerians still dream about FG stimulating national aggregate demand through its own expenditure activity alone. Meanwhile, FG’s total 2020 budget expenditures will translate into a paltry sum of $130 or less per Nigerian. How can that possibly transform Nigeria’s economy in a meaningful way? One of the first areas of consensus in that first economic summit in 1993 was that FG expenditures alone could never transform the Nigerian economy and so by far, the most impactful activity that FG could engage in was to create an enabling environment and a level playing field that would stimulate phenomenal private sector investment activity. 25 years later some of our policymakers still sound as if they missed this most basic lesson.
  5. In 2018, Nigeria’ Foreign Direct Investment inflows slipped behind Ghana’s for the first time. In terms of FDI flows into Africa, Nigeria slipped into the second tier in 2018.

The first tier is now comprised of Egypt, South Africa, Congo, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique. Indeed, Mozambique may head this chart in a few years time. They have provided the type of clarity which Nigeria has refused to provide to the Oil and Gas sector from the moment the Oil Minister in the previous administration produced the first draft of a myopic Petroleum Industry Bill.

The Way Forward It is not too late for President Buhari’s Government and our national assembly to borrow a cue from Mozambique and learn how to enact laws that provide clarity and reduce uncertainty for investors in the oil and gas sector and other sectors too. So, why is Nigeria unable to achieve GDP growth rates of 6% and above which are currently the norm in several Sub-Saharan Africa economies?

The obvious answer is that we appear to have frightened most investors away (local and foreign) and they will not be coming back any time soon until we correct the structural dysfunction that frightened them away in the first place. Investors appear to have concluded that the Nigerian economy is rigged against all except the very well-connected and they are right. By definition, the well-connected investors are few and so our Investment/GDP ratio is likely to remain low until we make it possible for all other investors (Nigerian and foreign) to come back and partake in the task of baking a bigger cake on the basis of a level playing field.

  • In Nigeria of 2019, only the well-connected can expect the following:
  •  Security of life and property;
  •  Prompt dispensation of Justice;
  • Sanctity of contracts;
  • No harassment from multiple rogue regulators;
  •  Access to land via the Land Use Act;
  •  Freedom from multiple illegal State and Local Government levies;
  • Provision of good roads and pipe-borne water to their door-step;
  • Access to subsidised financing; and
  •  Public sector employment opportunities.

For the youths, the less privileged and others who are not well connected, they dare not expect these 9 things.

 

Instead, they should concentrate on avoiding being the victims of extra-judicial killings and other forms of Police (notably SARS) or Army brutality and if they go into a legitimate business activity, they should get ready to grapple with endless threats and harassment by FIRS, Customs, State Government Tax authorities, SARS, NAFDAC etc. The bulk of this harassment typically comes from corrupt government officials seeking to line their own pockets through extortion. Sadly, there appears to be no oversight function and so the excesses of these rogue regulators are largely unchecked, thereby leaving no respite nor protection for their poor victims. There is no justice for the underprivileged in Nigeria and so this exacerbates Income inequality which is already very high, as demonstrated by our Gini Coefficient of 0.4 approx. A new generation of Nigerians (largely youths) have been dealt a terrible hand. A Nigerian Passport gives them few options for taking flight. It is not so with investors. Many can take flight and have done so. Sadly, most utterances by important public figures give the remaining investors, even more, cause to worry. We need a paradigm shift away from harassing investors to one of welcoming them sincerely as well as taking actions that boost business confidence, as Morocco and Rwanda do all the time. A global race is on to win the hearts and minds of investors. Nigeria is currently losing that race badly even within Africa. Reversing this terrible trend is a shared responsibility.

A society gets the leaders that it deserves and so I do not blame this Government or past Governments. I blame the elite in general because we shy away from backing truly competent political leaders as if we fear that we will not succeed in manipulating them or getting them to rig economic outcomes in our favour. In the meantime, FG has lost fiscal viability because it lacks the courage to trim personnel overheads on account of a bloated headcount in the public sector. Will 98% of the population continue to suffer so that less than 2% who make up the bloated public sector can maintain their lifestyles? The same FG endorsed a largely unaffordable minimum wage and presses on with “populist” subsidies which are largely cornered by the rich. Government revenues as a percentage of GDP are exceedingly low at 6% approx and yet all that the private sector does is resist any attempts to increase indirect taxes or price products such as petrol and electricity on the basis of full cost recovery.

Even the recent inevitable decision to introduce toll gates on our roads has been met by private sector resistance. Following the launch of a new payments-enabled National ID Card, it is certainly possible to quantify the annual petrol subsidy, apportion it and pay each Nigerian adult that falls below a minimum income threshold his or her share. This can be executed transparently by the same office for National Social Investment Programmes that currently pays monthly handouts to a lucky few out of the 90 million extremely poor Nigerians.

If FG is in the habit of being seen to grant subsidies then we should focus less on getting stubborn people to shed a bad habit. It is far better to get them to replace a bad habit of wasted subsidies with a much better habit of direct payments to the poor via an instrument that the rich cannot corner or access. There will be no strong economic future for Nigeria that can be built and sustained if the deal is to starve the Government of revenues, whilst blaming the 3 tiers of Government for failing to deliver on their respective mandates.

The responsibility that we must share is to encourage FG to get its finances in order and attain both fiscal viability and macroeconomic stability. We must also encourage FG to level the playing field for investors and quit dangling rent-seeking and/or arbitrage opportunities such as multiple exchange rates, which remain open to abuse. In 1993, Summiteers and CBN agreed that CBN should pursue a 5% inflation target. At that time US inflation was 3% and so the gap was only 2% p.a. Today, US inflation is 2% and yet CBN appears to be content with keeping inflation high at 10 or 11% p.a., the 9% per annum differential is much too high and is inconsistent with the declared goal of maintaining exchange rate stability. Nobody should get carried away by our short term reliance on “hot” money inflows to bolster forex reserves on the basis of distorted “carry trades”. CBN should quit expanding its mandate into other questionable areas, if it cannot meet its most basic mandate of containing inflation.

We cannot afford to approach the next 25 years by repeating the errors of the last 25 years. The shared responsibility includes getting the elite to become less insular or less sycophantic and to learn to speak truth to power. The recently appointed Economic Policy Advisory team is a step in the right direction by FG. Their job will be made a lot easier if this Summit can help establish an elite consensus on the unfinished business that is still holding us back from building and sustaining a strong economic future for Nigeria. I thank you for your attention.

Atedo N A Peterside* CON, is the Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and the Chairman of Anap Business Jets Limited, ART X Collective Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneurship Ltd/Gte.

SOURCE: VANGUARD

Nigeria Needs Collective Efforts to Hasten National Growth – Minister

Collective efforts of the public and private sectors in Nigeria will hasten the growth of the nation, the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.

The minister said this at the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday. The summit is being held under the theme: ‘Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears.

Mrs Ahmed acknowledged the crucial role of the private sector in economic development, saying its collaboration with the public sector will bring to reality, by 2050, the kind of future Nigerians crave.

“This future will require comprehensive targeted reforms, tough decisions, a radical shift in the current culture, including attitudes towards taxes and public finance,” she said.

The minister said the future requires huge financial investments in multi-faceted physical and social areas by the federal, state and local governments for provision of useful amenities.

“Additionally, we must be in a position to provide digital connectivity and innovation, and rise above the tide of disruption that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring,” she said.

The minister used the occasion to outline the critical areas that the government places priority on in the implementation of its policies.

The priority areas include economic and governance reforms; macroeconomic stability through coordinated economic, monetary, fiscal and trade policies; fight against corruption and improved governance.

Others are enhanced investments in physical infrastructure, human capital development to spur job creation and economic growth; improved health, education and productivity of Nigerians as well as energy sufficiency (power) and petroleum products; and improved transportation and other Infrastructure.

Also, they include drive towards industrialisation, focusing on macro, small and medium-sized enterprises, optimise investments in physical security and food security to drive inclusive socio-economic development, improve security for all citizens, enhance agriculture self-sufficiency to achieve food security, social inclusion by scaling-up social investments, improve access to mass housing and consumer credit to enhance financial inclusion

Mrs Ahmed said the outputs of the 25th Anniversary Summit will be critical towards co-creating the Nigeria envisioned by its people.

She said the summit will aid the government in developing and implementing the next generation of national plans, and towards implementing policies.

Speaking at the summit, the Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Asue Ighadalo, said there is a marginal increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), between the last summit and now.

“The real GDP growth rate improved marginally, but remained below our projections. We recorded a GDP growth rate of about two per cent in the first half of 2019, and a decline in headline inflation from 15.1 per cent to 11 per cent,” he said.

However, he said the rate of inflationary decline has slowed considerably, largely as a result of food inflation, which remained at 13.2 per cent.

Mr Ighadalo said it has resulted in continued erosion of the real income of most of Nigerians .

He said the total revenue receipts for 2018 came in at N3.5 trillion, only 48.6 per cent of the projected revenue figure for the year, while total debt service at N2.2 trillion remained unchanged relative to projections.

“If this imbalance persists, the availability of funds to drive infrastructure development and other social investment programmes will remain challenged.

“As such, there is an urgent need to address not just our perennial revenue-expenditure mismatches, but our overall productivity and growth as a nation,” he said

SOURCE: Allafrica

Adron Homes Boss Donates Museum, Amusement Park To Community

As part of given back to the community, the Group Managing Director of Adron  Home and Property Limited,  Aare Adetola Olaniyi  Olaonipekun Emmanuelking, has donated a world class museum and an amusement park to Ode -Remo  community his maternal root in Ogun state .
Aare Emmanuelking, at a media briefing  Monday said come October 10, 2019 ,Ode Remo community will witness the commissioning of the first world class museum.

He said the donation was an inspiration given to him by the Almighty GOD and he will continue to listen to the voice that is inspiring him  for good things and better achievements to come in Nigeria .

In an appreciating statement by  the Alaye of Ode –Remo ,His Royal Majesty Alayeluwa Oba Adetunji Amidu Osho, said the vision of Ode –Remo museum and amusement park was given to Aare Emmanuelking upon his conferment of the chieftancy title  as the BoBajiro of Ode –Remo a little over a year ago.

It is very interesting to note that the chieftancy title has only ever bestowed on one notable personality in Nigeria the late MKO Abiola ,and as a result of the honour and to strengthened his maternal tide in Ode –Remo Aare EmmanuelKing decided to give the people of Ode –Remo a befitting master piece such as the museum .   

It is therefore with exreme gratitude to the Almighty  God   and profound  joy that the commissioning of this museum  ,first of its kind in the history of Remo land is taking place in October 2019 by His Excellency ,Prince [Dr] Dapo Abiodun MFR Alayeluwa added.’

Source: Blueprintng

Requirements For Processing Governor’s Consent

The requirements and workflow shown below were provided by the Lagos state government lands bureau in the handbook of activities of the directorate of land services during Governor Ambode’s Administration.

Requirements For Processing Governor’s Consent

  • Duly completed Land Form 1C.
  • Certified True Copy (CTC) of root of title.
  • Deeds/Instruments of transfer (3Nos.) with clear survey plans attached.
  • 4Nos Passport photographs (5×5) with white background.
  • Certificate of Incorporation for Company and form showing particulars of Directors.
  • Site photographs with dates.
  • Site location sketch.
  • Receipt of payment for NGN 10,500.00 (Charting, endorsement and form 1C).
  • Letter of Authority by the applicant and means of identification (where application is being processed on behalf of applicant)
  • Covering letter with functional telephone line(s) and e-mail address

 

Workflow For Governor’s Consent

  • Submission of application with attached documents to the Directorate of Land Services.
  • Issuing of Demand Notice to applicant based on location and applicable Fair Market Value (FMV) compiled and published in Lagos State Official Gazette No. 10 Vol.48 dated 5th February, 2015. Aggregate is 3% broken down as follows: Consent fee at 1.5% of assessed value; Capital Gains Tax (CGT) at 0.5% of assessed value; Stamp duty at 0.5% of assessed value; Registration fee at 0.5% of assessed value. The Neighborhood Improvement Charges (N.I.C). (for private and excised lands) assessed at the size of land X N2/m2 X number of years of relevant title.

For mortgage transactions, assessment is as follows:

  • Consent fee @ N2, 500/N1, 000,000.
  • 0.25% for Registration fee @ N5, 000/N1, 000,000.
  • 0.5% for gift transactions, beneficiaries/applicants are exempted from the payment of Capital Gain Tax.
  • Applicant submits all payment receipts.
  • Release of Registered Deeds/Instruments to applicant.

Source: estateintel

25th Economic Summit: Full Text of President Buhari’s Speech

President Muhammadu Buhar, on Monday addressed the 25th Nigerian Economic summit.

The event was held at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja where the President noted that the last election in the country showed the world that Nigeria can choose their leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Buhari also said that the election saw an increase in the number of aggrieved candidates, and supporters, who took their concerns and grievances to the courts as opposed to the streets, adding that this is how it should be.

Here is the full text of Buhari’s speech:

I am delighted to join you this morning at the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit. Since 1993, public and private sector leaders have used this platform to deliberate on key issues of national development.

I commend and congratulate all stakeholders, from the public and private sectors, for sustaining this partnership.

The elections have come and gone. Our country, once again, has shown the world that we can choose our leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner. Apart from a few pockets of unrest, the majority of voters exercised their civic rights without hindrance.

Furthermore, we also saw an increase in the number of aggrieved candidates, and supporters, who took their concerns and grievances to the courts as opposed to the streets. This is how it should be.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what this clearly shows is that our democracy is maturing.

During the elections, almost all candidates proposed their vision for the economy and for the country. Our party, the All Progressive Congress put before the country, policies that focus on delivering prosperity to all Nigerians through: enhancing security; eliminating corrupt practices in public service; supporting sectors that will create jobs, and promoting socially-focused interventions to support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

These areas are all interconnected and are equally important in creating a prosperous society for all.

Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same.

Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth. Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.

But a prosperous society is one where the majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.

Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in 4 or 5 states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.

This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for a better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.

In recent weeks, I have been to; Niger Republic to attend the ECOWAS summit; Japan with fellow African leaders to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; and the United Nations General Assembly in New York. South Africa on a State visit to exchange ideas on the common themes we share as the two largest economies in Africa.

What was very clear at these meetings, and numerous others I have been privileged to attend over the years is the increased consensus by leaders that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, our policies and programs must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.

This shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone will be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets that provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives.

Recently, in a book about the financial crisis written by three leading US policymakers who are advocates and true believers in the power of free markets, the authors also highlighted the need for the invisible hand of the market to work side by side with the visible hand of government to protect businesses and create opportunities for citizens.

Our economic policies in the last four years focused on the need to uplift the poor and the disadvantaged and encourage inclusivity.

This year’s economic summit focuses on what Nigeria would be in the year 2050 when many studies estimate our population will rise to over 400 million people.

As a government, our view is to equip our citizens with the means to seize any opportunities that may arise. This means we continue investments in education, health care, infrastructure, security and strengthen and entrench the rule of law.

I am informed that this year’s Summit has identified key job-creating sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, creative industry and the extractive industry as focus sectors. I am also told that your deliberations will focus on unlocking capital through our financial services sector to actualize the opportunities in these sectors.

In your deliberations, I would request that your proposals are productive, inventive and innovative keeping in mind that Nigeria’s unique challenges can only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions.

As a government, we very much look forward to our continued collaboration with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity driven growth.

It is now my pleasure to declare the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit open and I wish you very fruitful, robust and productive deliberations.

Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Source: dailypostng

NMRC Partners Stakeholders to Train Returnees, IDPS, Others in Construction Artisanship

The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and other partners have commenced a 60-day training and empowerment program for Nigerian youths, especially rescued victims of human trafficking, internally displaced persons and persons who returned from countries like South Africa because of xenophobia in construction artisanship.

Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday at the headquarters of Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in Abuja, the MD/CEO of NMRC, Kehinde Ogundimu, said this was a corporate social responsibility that will enable the beneficiaries settle into their various communities and able to earn a living by contributing to the Nigeria housing sector with acquired skills and start-off seeds.

NMRC is working collaboratively with ITF and NAPTIP to achieve this program. While NAPTIP helped identify the beneficiaries whom they had rescued from their various ordeals, ITF will offer the training being sponsored and supervised by NMRC.

According to Ogundimu, NMRC has been undertaking this corporate social responsibility with ITF since 2017 to train and impact people with skills and the necessary tools and capital for take-off.

While IDPs have been the major beneficiaries in the past years, this year’s training and empowerment program focuses mainly on returnees.

‘’What instigated this particular initiative is the need to empower citizens of Nigeria, to ensure that young Nigerians who are capable but without opportunities are adequately given the right skills. Today’s event is one of the series of events we undertake as a corporate social responsibility. As an organisation, we believe that Nigerians need to be empowered so that they can contribute to society. We will not only give them the skills, but the tools to start their journey into integration and economic independence, so that they too can become employers of labours themselves,’’ Ogundimu said.

‘’This year we have decided to train and empower returnees. For that, we are in partnership with NAPTIP, an organisation that has been at the forefront of fighting human trafficking. They have been working to settle people returning from places like Libya, South Africa and others. At the end of the training, ITF will issue each beneficiary a certificate of training that can be tendered Nationwide for jobs and opportunities,’’ he added.

Ogundimu also stated that this initiative was equally inspired by the need to end the importation of artisans from countries like Togo and Benin Republic. ‘’This is our contribution to stop that. We are empowering people with skills that can help them contribute to housing development. Their skills will help a lot of construction works.’’

By creating jobs for them through this, Ogundimu believes that it will also help reduce unemployment and idleness in the country, which has often been the cause of crimes.

The training will also involve feeding and payment of stipends to motivate the beneficiaries.

At the completion of the training, the progress of the beneficiaries will also be monitored to ensure a seamless transition. According to Ogundimu, there is a developed mobile app that will monitor their progress, advertise their skills, and match them with potential employers. ‘’We don’t just train and abandon them,’’ he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Director General of ITF, Farouk Danladi Ahmed also expressed his excitement about the vocational and technical skills program which will signifanctly help in reducing unemployment in Nigeria.

According to him, the training is situated under the Federal Government National Industrial Revolution Plan and it is specifically tagged by them as National Industrial Skills Development Program.

He encouraged the trainees not to limit themselves, but to believe in themselves and imbibe the spirit of hard work, continuous improvement and integrity.

Some of the technical skills that will be acquired by the trainees include painting, screeding, plumbing, electric installation, interior decorations and many more.

SON Tasks Cable Makers, Others On Global Best Practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sounded a note of warning to cable manufacturers and importers on the need to always adhere to global best practices in their operations.

SON noted that the cable sector, which has been the pride of Nigeria for some years is being threatened by unwholesome practices.SON Director General, Osita Aboloma, who spoke during a meeting with Cable Manufacturers urged them to protect their products, because of the influx of substandard cable in Nigeria.

“There was a serious concerns raised by consumers and stakeholders in the cable industry of the menace of substandard cable in Nigeria, thereby eroding the little milage we have been able to build over the years,” he said.

Represented by the Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate, Obiora Manafa, he said: “There is also this unethical cloning of established brands in the market and it is quite appalling . They take a look at successful brand and copy it, but the quality cannot be guaranteed whether it is standard or not, if you use what belongs to someone thereby misleading the public, then it becomes a problem that you have to resolve with SON.”

Aboloma said apart from cloning, the agency has also been hinted about a situation where unscrupulous dealers mislabel their products to cheat the unsuspecting consumers of their hard earned money spent on goods purchased.

Responding, the Chairman Cable Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Robert  Krersctoter, said the association is willing to partner with SON to achieve its mandate of improving the quality of lives through quality assurance. The association pledged to support SON to sanitise the cable market through intelligence report.

In a related development, Compliance Directorate, Engr. Obiora Manafa, at a one day sensitisation programme with importers and dealers of electronics in Alaba international market, urged them to adhere to standards as the surest way to bring back the glory days of Alaba international market. He expressed SON’s readiness to work with local manufacturers to make their goods exportable in a bid to earn foreign exchange for the Nigerian economy.

The DG pointed out that SON has in its warehouse substandard electric cables waiting for court order to be destroyed, while also restating it’s commitment to bringing down the influx of substandard goods into the country.

Source: guardianng

APC In S/Africa Promises To Partner Buhari On Housing, Power.

The South African Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to solve problems of housing, healthcare and energy in the country.
The group, in a letter addressed to the President and jointly signed by Mr Bola Babarinde and Prof. Folorunso Fasina, the Chairman and Secretary- General, respectively, said these were critical issues demanding urgent attention of the President.

A copy of the letter, titled “On the National Question: Critical issues demanding urgent attention of Mr President,” was made available to NAN in Lagos on Monday.

The group, which expressed pleasure in meeting with the President during his visit to South Africa, said that the low income earners and civil servants were hardly remembered by developers of mass housing schemes in the country.

“The issues of affordability hampers ordinary citizens from access to good housing and a recent research done for Niger State shows that most civil servants die a few years after retirement from active service.

“Life after service is hard because things change sharply post-retirement, including housing. The Diaspora can assist in the provision of quality and affordable housing for the low to middle income earners, particularly civil servants.

“Using modern technologies, we can provide housing solution through mortgage financing supported by single digit interest rates. Workers will have between 15 and 25 years to repay, depending on the years of service left.

“It will be credit to this government to provide housing solution and reduce the suffering of the people,” the group said.

On the health sector, the group said that the country was not doing well taking into consideration the flight of medical personnel and the amount spent on medical tourism to countries like India, South Africa, Egypt and UK.

The group said that Nigerians in Diaspora, especially professionals in South Africa, were ready to partner the government at various levels on healthcare (primary, secondary and tertiary) to confront the health issues.

They said that this would also include mentorship of young medical personnel, exposure to the state of state- of-art-equipment, information exchange and sustainable, but affordable medical missions and training.

The group added that infrastructure including roads, water, schools buildings, hostels accommodation and other facilities also needed attention of the government.

“With benefits of hindsight and experiences outside the shores of Nigeria, the Diaspora members of APC-SA and others have solution to these challenges through making available the infrastructural fund, technical know-how and result-based monitoring and evaluation to assist the poor,” it said.

According to the group, Nigeria is energy deficient, yet the solutions are not far-fetched.

It said since the country was generating huge volumes of wastes daily, generation of energy from wastes might be a viable solution.

“Conversion of ‘wastes to energy’ is one of the means by which energy are generated in South Africa and we in Diaspora can be great partners in making this a reality in Nigeria.

“We can mobilise the fund, we have the technical know-how and relation with other Diaspora chapters to generate clean energy at affordable rates.

“All that is needed is the enabling environment and the government’s readiness to work with us,” it added.

The group, which commended the President for creating the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, appealed that the commission be populated with people-oriented leaders.

According to them, the institution should have some credible Nigerians who have lived outside the countries for at least 15 years to add value to the commission’s diversity and experience.

“The creation of some continental coordinating offices for the Nigerian Diaspora Commission in Africa, Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas will be a great service.

“There seems to be a current disconnect between the commission and major stakeholders, primarily outside Nigeria. The Presidency should wade in on this matters and see how our wealth of experience can benefits our country.”

NAN reports that President Buhari met with the Nigerian community during a three-day official visit to South Africa between Wednesday and Friday

SOURCE:THENEWSNIGERIA

Housing Secretary Reveals Plans for Green Housing Revolution

In a bid to tackle climate change and keep household bills low, the government is to introduce new initiatives to aid the creation of more environmentally-friendly homes, in what has been dubbed a green revolution, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Under the Future Homes Standard, polluting heating systems based on fossil fuels, such as gas boilers, will be banned from newly-constructed homes by 2025. They will be replaced with state-of-the-art alternatives that depend on cleaner fuel sources such as air source heat pumps and solar panels.

Planning rules are also expected to be revised, to help create what the MHCLG described as a simpler system that would work for all.

MT Finance – MPU
The government’s green housing agenda comes after it announced plans to boost the construction of homes in March’s spring statement. They set a target for 300,000 new homes to be built each year in England by the mid-2020s.

Ambitious targets set
The MHCLG unveiled a series of ambitious environmental targets, with a consultation on the Future Homes Standard set to run until January 2020. Local authorities will be expected to produce their own design guides, laying out the requirements for new homes in the coming years.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick explained: “Building new homes isn’t just about bricks and mortar. I want to ensure everyone – including developers – do their bit to protect the environment and give the next generation beautiful, environmentally-friendly homes that local communities can support.”

The government intends to ensure that carbon emissions are cut by 80 per cent from 2025 onwards for all new homes built under the green proposals. A new National Design Guide was also unveiled, setting a blueprint for local authorities to use as they set about developing new housing projects.

New builds will be required to blend into existing communities, ensuring that these new homes are produced to a standard that is also satisfactory to residents, as well as more environmentally-friendly.

Funding for more green space
Another aspect of the government’s proposals is the desire to support the funding of a pocket parks programme, helping transform derelict urban areas into reimagined green spaces that can be used by local communities for recreational use.

An increasing number of new pocket parks would have the benefit of allowing community groups and local authorities to organise activities, and create a greater community identity, the MHCLG added.

Demand for more green spaces is supported by the fact that a significant proportion of those looking for a new home revealed earlier this year that access to green spaces, such as gardens, was a key consideration, when moving from place to place, according to research by Rightmove.

Mr Jenrick concluded: “We are also reforming the planning system, making it faster and more efficient for everyone, from households to large developers, alongside giving families greater freedom to extend their homes to meet their changing needs.”

SOURCE: PROPERTYNOTIFY

Savannah Bank Set to Resume Operation

Ten years after Savannah Bank’s licence was restored by a court judgement, indications emerged at the weekend that  the management is set to resume operations, soon.

Sources close to the owners of the bank said the massive  renovation works ongoing at its over 118 branches across the country are eloquent testimony that the bank which went into coma years ago due to some technical insolvency may eventually open for business in no distant time

Savannah Bank was  one of the leading banks in the country between 1999 and 2000. But the  institution suddenly plunged into  the murky  waters of politics and got trapped with depositors’ funds leading to the death of many.

At the time of its forceful  closure, Savannah Bank had nearly 85,000 shareholders, a share capital of N1 billion, and 118 branches. Its depositors were in hundreds of thousands.

Before the suspension of its operating license,  the  bank showed no obvious or remote signs of distress that could have precipitated its closure. The much that was disclosed was that the bank committed some infractions against extant regulations owing to alleged non -professionalism  in some aspects of its operations.

However, a three-member Court of Appeal panel suddenly ruled that  the bank’s closure was “unlawful as we have found that it was done in bad faith”.

Perhaps, the ‘bad faith’ was demonstrated shortly before its licence was revoked when  both the CBN and NDIC demanded that Savannah Bank recapitalise with N5.4 billion within three months. The bank’s plea for a year’s grace to increase its capital base was rejected.

The bank’s misfortune however led to job losses in the banking industry given its spread and number of branches across the country,with government o’s failure to  bail out the ailine institution .

Although the court awarded N100 million damages against the CBN and NDIC, as against the N100 billion claims of Savannah Bank, the amount was insufficient to restream the bank that had spent hugely on litigations in a bid to revalidate its licence.

In the aftermath of its suspension of business, several deposit and staff of the bank were said to have died on hearing on hearing the sudden revocation of the bank’s licence.   There were also other Nigerians whose hopes and aspirations were cut short over Savannah Bank’s misfortune. However, stakeholders have said that the reason the  bank has not taken off several  years after its restoration was for fear that depositors whose monies had been tied down for over a decade would want to withdraw their money and cause another run on the bank in the process.

Source: sunnewsonline

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