Housing Projects: FG Owing 3,504 Contractors About N69.9bn, Says Fashola

A file photo of Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola
A file photo of Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

 

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says the ministry is owing 3,504 contractors handling its various housing projects about N69.9 billion.

He stated this when he appeared before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Housing on Thursday in Abuja, to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget estimates.

Although N76.4 billion was allocated to the ministry in the 2021 budget, Fashola warned that the figure was grossly inadequate to execute 186 projects across the country.

He listed some of the priority areas in the 2021 budget to include the completion of the construction of the remaining 2,140 housing units under the National Housing Programme in 34 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Other priority areas identified by the minister were the completion of the construction of ongoing federal secretariats in Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Osun, and Zamfara States.

According to Fashola, is important to take the maintenance and operation of public buildings seriously.

He also advocated that Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) should provide a sum representing two to 10 per cent of their annual capital budget as maintenance provision.

The minister explained that maintenance and operation have the potential to employ as much as 10 per cent of the country’s working population and contribute up to eight per cent to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as observed in the United Kingdom and in varying ratios in some other countries.

CBN Approves N200bn Housing Loan, Targets 900,000 Low-Income Earners, Children

A file photo showing the CBN headquarters in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has okayed N200 billion as mortgage finance loan to Family Homes Fund (FHF) targeted at low-income earners. 

A statement on the apex bank’s website, Tuesday, indicated that the money will be used to build 300,000 homes in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and is expected to generate about 1.5 million jobs in five years.

“The programme will house up to 900,000 children and adults (at an average of 3 persons/home) on a low income with direct impact on health, education and economic outcomes,” the bank explained.

“Most of these would currently live in informal settlements with shared facilities in unsanitary environments. Towards targeting people on low-income level across the country.”

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To conserve foreign exchange, the CBN disclosed that the buildings will be constructed using about 90 per cent of locally sourced materials.

“In that regard, the programme will deliberately aim to revitalize local manufacture of construction materials including doors and windows, ironmongery, sanitary fittings, concrete products, tiles, glass, electrical fittings/fixtures and bricks etc,” it added.

“For example, it is estimated that the programme will require up to 1.7m doors, 7m door hinges and locks etc.”

Beneficiaries are expected to pay an interest rate of not more than 5.0% p.a. (all-inclusive).

The Framework shall be subject to review from time to time as may be
deemed necessary, the bank stated.

Solar Connection

On Monday, the Bank introduced a Solar Connection Intervention Facility to complement the Federal government’s scheme which aims at expanding energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of solar home systems or connection to a mini-grid.

According to the apex bank in its released guideline on Monday, the long term low-interest credit facility has a maximum limit of N500 million for pre-qualified home solar value chain players that include manufacturers and assemblers of solar components and off-grid energy retailers in the country.

Kaduna Evicts ‘Illegal’ Occupants Of Govt Residential Houses, Victims Kick

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

The Kaduna State Government has commenced the eviction of people living ‘illegally’ in government-owned houses as part of its housing policy.

The State’s Head of Service, Mrs Bariatu Mohammed told Channels Television that those being evicted from the government-owned residential houses were legal occupants who were served with eviction notices since after the sale of the properties since 2018, but have refused to vacate from such facilities.

According to her, part of the process entailed that the highest bid price was offered to the eligible public servants in the occupation of the houses to exercise the Right of First Refusal by effecting payment of 10 percent non-refundable deposit within 14 days, while each applicant was entitled to purchase only one residential unit.

Following the conclusion of the allocation of houses to eligible bidders, the Task Force set up by the state government within the week embarked on the eviction of those they termed as illegal occupants from their houses.

Reacting, some of those affected by the exercise kicked against the action which they described as a gross violation of their rights to the first refusal.

One of them, Linda Kuswan, told Channels Television through her lawyer, Jonathan Adamu that no vacation notice was served on her by the government.

She claimed to have obtained a court judgment from the Kaduna State High court which ordered the state government or its officials from evicting her from the House which she legally occupied many years ago.

Having obtained a court judgment dated August 7, 2020, on violation of her rights and to stop the government from evicting her from the house, she asked the state government to obey the court order by restoring her back to the house and to also give her the right of first refusal.

Apple Offers $2.5bn To Address California’s Housing Crisis

In this file photo taken on September 10, 2019, the Apple logo is projected on a screen before the start of a product launch event at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. Josh Edelson / AFP

 

Apple said Monday it would commit $2.5 billion over the next two years to help address the shortage of affordable housing in California and reduce homelessness.

The move by Apple follows similar initiatives from Silicon Valley peers Google and Facebook, which each have pledged $1 billion for housing programs.

“Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook in a statement.

“Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”

Apple said data showed some 30,000 people left San Francisco between April and June of 2019 and that its efforts are geared to help “community members like teachers, firefighters, first responders and service workers” who cannot find affordable lodging.

Apple said it was working with California Governor Gavin Newsom on several programs to address housing and homelessness.

The iPhone maker said $1 billion will go to the state’s affordable housing fund that will extend credit to develop and build additional housing faster and at a lower cost.

Apple also said it would make available land it owns in San Jose worth some $300 million for homes.

The company is committing $200 million to support new lower-income housing in the Bay Area, including $150 for a public-private partnership.

It will also offer $50 million to support the efforts to address homelessness in Silicon Valley with the nonprofit group Destination: Home.

“We have worked closely with leading experts to put together a plan that confronts this challenge on all fronts, from the critical need to increase housing supply, to support for first-time homebuyers and young families, to essential philanthropy to assist those at greatest risk,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environment and social initiatives.

AFP

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja Airport

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja AirportDomestic flights have resumed operations into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.

Passengers aboard a domestic flight expressed delight at being able to fly directly into the capital city, and applauded the timely rehabilitation of the facility.

They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the construction of a second runway for the airport, in addition to regular maintenance of the newly rehabilitated one.

Speaking to Channels Television, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, lauded the prompt decision of the government to rehabilitate the airport.

“We must thank the agencies: The Ministries of Transport, Aviation, Works, and other Nigerians who gave the support. The greatest thing is we thank God that we didn’t wait for a disaster to happen in Abuja before we took that decision,” he said.

The spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, also said: “The last couple of weeks have been quite challenging for some of us who fly quite frequently, the logistics of having to go to Kaduna and all that; but I think it has been managed quite effectively”.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the Abuja Airport had been certified to accommodate international and local flights, ahead of the date scheduled for its re-opening, April 19.

The Ethiopian Airline Airbus 8350 was the first major airline to land at the airport.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari lauded the efforts of key agencies on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.

He also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.

President Buhari Commends Re-opening Of Abuja Airport

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commended the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, 24 hours ahead of the deadline.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, the President lauded the efforts of the contractor, security agencies, Kaduna State Government, as well as the Ministries of Transport, Power, Works and Housing, on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.

He said that he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.

President Buhari also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.

Ahead of the date scheduled for the re-opening, April 19, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the Abuja Airport has been certified to accommodate international and local flights.

The Minister said this when he landed at the airport at about 11.15am on board a Caverton helicopter from Kaduna State.

The Ethiopian Airline Airbus 8350 was the first major airline to land at the airport.

Enugu Lawmakers Propose Closure Of New Artisan Market

New Artisan Market, Enugu LawmakersEnugu State House of Assembly has urged the State government to order the closure of the livestock market popularly known as New Artisan Market in Enugu metropolis.

The call became necessary following a report presented to the House at Wednesday’s plenary by the Committee on Works, Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Sunday Uduokoye, had on Monday led some lawmakers on a visit to the market, following the alleged killing of a police officer on Saturday, December 17, in a fracas between the Police Anti-cult Squad and tricycle riders.

Presenting the report, Honourable Udeokoye alleged that the livestock market was being used for hard drugs’ peddling and as criminals’ hideout among other illegal acts.

Prayers For Closure

In their remarks, the House Deputy Speaker, Donatus Uzoagbado, and other lawmakers said it was illegal for a market to be designated in an area that was not captured in the initial capital plan of the state.

Another member of the Assembly, Johnkevin Ukuta, also blamed the high level of criminality in the market on the nonchalant attitude of law enforcement agencies in the state and urged them to brace up to their mandate.

After various contributions and deliberations, the House unanimously supported the call for the closure and relocation of the market.

The lawmakers also proposed that a panel of inquiry be setup to investigate the incident that led to the said killing of the police officer.

In another development, Honourable Udeokoye presented a report on the committee’s findings during a visit to the proposed site for a monorail station at Amechi-Akwuke – Amagu-Agabe.

He said it was found out that there was massive encroachment on the land, as individuals have illegally erected structures and run businesses on the said land.

The committee recommended that the land be reallocated to the Enugu State Housing Development Cooperation.

Nigeria Asks African Governments To Focus On Creating Housing Opportunities

Kaduna Housing SchemeThe Federal Government has advised heads of African governments to reduce the discuss on housing deficit in the continent and rather focus more on housing opportunities regardless of the issues facing the sector.

The demand was made at the 32nd Annual Conference of the African Union for Housing Finance, which attracted participants from across Africa.

It was aimed at finding solutions to Africa’s housing problems and stimulating the continent’s economy.

Delivering her keynote address at the conference, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. the head of Public Private Partnership Directorate Of The Federal Ministry Of Housing, Mrs Eucheria Alozie stressed the need for African governments to address many years of inadequate investment and poor maintenance culture.

These according to her, have left the continent with a significant housing deficit.

Lack Of Housing Finance

She identified the lack of housing finance in the public and private sectors, and double digit housing loans, as major factors that must be addressed for Africans to access affordable housing.

According to reports by the African Union for Housing Finance, Nigeria is said to have an estimated deficit record of 17 million housing units while Africa’s need for affordable housing is 400 million units.

It was for this reason that the union convened its Annual Conference in Nigeria and Mrs Eucheria Alozie has advised heads of African governments to tackle the challenge head-on.

Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the continent’s affordable housing crisis, a board member of the African Union for Housing Finance, Professor Charles Inyangete, expressed concerns about the challenge of affordable housing.

The director of other financial institutions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Ahmed Abdullahi, however informed participants of the opportunities in the housing sector.

NBS Releases June Inflation Rate

Bureau Of Statistics, Inflation RateNigeria’s headline inflation increased by 16.5% in June from 15.6% in May, as the rate continues to increase for the fifth consecutive month.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the 0.9% increase is attributed to a rise in energy costs, imported food items and related products.

During the period, the food index rose at a faster rate of 1.4%, month-on-month due to increase in the prices of meat, vegetables and cereals.

While the urban index also jumped 11.9% in June, the corresponding rural index increased from 10.4% to 10.9%.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian stock market’s benchmark index dropped by 25 basis points to 28,733.90, while the market capitalisation fell by 25 billion naira to 9.86 trillion naira against Friday’s figure, as the market reacts to the country’s June inflation data, and financial markets illiquidity.

However, investors’ appetite for stock remained moderate as a total of 315.5 million shares worth 1.72 billion naira were traded in 3,976 deals at the close of session.

Skye Bank topped the lead of the most actively traded stock with a whopping 138.2 million shares followed by FBN Holdings and UBA.

On the price table, Skye Bank was also the major price advancer in a list of ten, with a 10% increase to its share price, followed by Forte Oil and Nigerian Police Microfinance Bank.

And on the flip side, Law Union and Rock Insurance led 23 other decliners including Wapco and Arbico, down by 8.33%.

Foreign Investment: Presidency Defends China Trip

Foreign InvestmentSix billion US dollar is what the Presidency claims that Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to China has attracted as the Asian country appears to be the new bride in Nigeria’s foreign investment drive.

The President’s Media Adviser believes that the country hasn’t seen anything yet and more investments will flow in within the next few days.

Mr Femi Adesina was the guest of Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, where he answered some of the questions raised by Nigerians concerning President Buhari’s recent trip to China.

“It is not like going to the market and then you come back home at the end of the day and they ask how much you have sold, because investments take time to yield but this trip to China has been particularly productive because it is a continuation of what has been started by the previous administration.

“Like it is said, government is a continuum, some of the things started by the Goodluck Jonathan administration have now been consummated by this administration through this trip.

“For example, we know China is well endowed in the area of infrastructure, while Nigeria today has plenty infrastructural deficit. So we have a lot to gain in the areas of power, agriculture, housing, railway, transportation generally and so many other areas,” he said.

 

Buhari’s China Visit Yields Billions In Investment For Nigeria – Presidency

Muhammadu-Buhari-China-Nigeria-Power-InvestmentPresident Muhammadu Buhari has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his working visit to China, which has yielded additional investments in Nigeria exceeding six billion dollars.

President Buhari believes that the several agreements concluded with the Chinese during the visit would have a huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu disclosed the President’s views in a statement on Friday.

“In the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited signed an agreement valued at 478,657,941.28 dollars for the construction of 300 Mega Watts solar power in Shiriro, Niger State.

“In the solid minerals sector, Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signed an agreement valued at 55 million dollars for the construction and equipping of granite mining plant in Nigeria.

“A total of one billion dollars is to be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.

“For the housing sector, both companies also sealed a 250 million dollars deal to develop an ultramodern 27-storey high rise complex and a 2.5 billion dollars agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project,” the statement read.

Other agreements announced and signed during the visit include one billion dollars for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State.

The Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited also signed an agreement valued at 200 million dollars for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities.

“An agreement valued at 363 million dollars for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi State was also announced at the Nigeria-China business forum.

“Other agreements undergoing negotiations include a 500 million dollars project for the provision of television broadcast equipment and a 25 million dollars facility for production of pre-paid smart meters between Mojec International Limited and Microstar Company Limited,” the statement read.

About 100 Nigerian businesses and 300 Chinese firms participated in the Nigeria-China business forum, which took place a day after President Buhari began his visit to China.

UN Habitat: African Reps Set Priorities For African Urban Agenda

UN HabitatAfrican representatives meeting at the UN Habitat III regional conference in Abuja, have set seven priorities to fast-track urbanization in Africa, accompanied by sustainable development, social integration and equity.

After three days of deliberations, seven broad priorities were set by 52 African countries, for Africa’s urban agenda, and the UN Habitat III regional conference in Nigeria, drew to a close.

The representatives have agreed that there are no general solutions to issues of urbanization but they say there are a set of frameworks that can serve as guides.

Seven strategic priorities have been set in what would in future be known as ‘The Abuja Declaration’.

Among the priorities of the conference is the enhancement of people-centred urban and human settlements through access to affordable and adequate basic services, housing and land, urban safety and security, and upgrading of slums.

Also among the priorities is the allocation of adequate financial resources, enhancement of the connectivity between rural and urban areas and empowering local governments to deliver adequate shelter to citizen.

The focus is urbanization that accelerates structural transformation for inclusive growth, and strengthening of institutions and systems to promote transformative change in settlements.

The United Nations Habitat office is optimistic that these strategic priorities will set Africa out towards the global urban goal.

Every government now has the task to set about implementation, each nation according to its level of development.