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‘Why FG budgeted N100bn for housing fund in 2017’

The federal government appropriated N100bn for social housing fund in the 2017  budget because it is committed to delivering affordable housing to Nigerians through the integrated national housing plan in the coming years.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, senator Udoma  Udo  Udoma, said this in Abuja when he received the Housing and Urban Development  working team of the  National Economic Summit Group led by Architect Pemwalk  GomwalK.

The minister said the Buhari administration has made housing and urban development as key elements of the nation’s national planning.

Udoma acknowledged that funding has been the major challenge in realising the goal of meeting the country’s housing deficit.

The minister challenged the national economic summit group to mobilize the private sector to complement government efforts in investing  in the housing sector, maintaining that housing is a good sector to invest in.

The leader of the delegation, Architect Pemwalk Gomwalk, told the minister that the group has put together its input which will be presented to the minister in the coming days for inclusion into the national integrated housing plan of the federal government.

The group told the minister that it is working hard to mobilize the private sector to team up with government to ensure that the objectives of the integrated national housing plan are fully realized.

Originally published in Daily Trust

‘EIA reports must precede projects’

Worried that most projects are without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Lagos State Government has vowed to make EIA report a must for projects in the state. Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare disclosed this at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on Environmental Impact Assessment for Dredging and Land Reclamation Projects in Lagos State held in Ikorodu and Eti-Osa East local councils.

Adejare, who was represented by the Director, Environmental Management, Mr. Sherif Savage, stated that EIA as a decision making tool which provide decision makers the necessary information to satisfactorily assess both the environmental and social effects of a proposed project must be prioritised.

According to him, “Environmental Impact Assessment ensures the potential Impacts of a proposed project are identified and measures for mitigation proffered before the commencement of the project”He stressed that community members must be involved in the making of EIA since it is a vital part of project implementation process.

Adejare therefore enjoined communities to have interest in any proposed project brought to their domain and demand for EIA on such projects to forestall untoward consequences. The Commissioner further debunked some misconceptions that EIA is a money making venture for government, waste of time and resources. Adejare maintained that the relevant stakeholders in environmental impact assessment process are the appropriate regulators/regulatory agencies, project host community/communities, community leaders and people affected by the project.

Also an environment consultant, Mr. Ayo Tella has described Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as a vital part of project implementation process, thereby making EIA report a priority for execution of projects.

Speaking on the theme, “Enhancing public Participation in EIA Process”, Tella, urged the stakeholders to ensure that communities are consulted before projects are cited in their environs.

According to him, the community consultation “is a Platform to inform/ educate and create awareness amongst community members about the Project, its benefit and negative impacts.”

Originally published in The Guardian

Mixed reactions trail FG’s N141b sector allocation, social housing project

 

Housing Experts have expressed mixed feelings over 2017 appropriation of N141Billion for the sector, sayong that if properly administered could bridge the nation’s hosing deficit.

The Project Director, Artic Infrastructure, Lookman Oshodi said if the budget is matched with the Ministry’s intention of building 40 blocks of housing through direct construction in each of the 27 states that have made land available, there could be the possibility of achieving about 6,480 units but the budget may not be sufficient to deliver the units and the complimentary infrastructure.

He however, stressed that the concept of adopting made in Nigeria building materials, if available in the right quantity by the Federal Government could be the right step which will strengthen budget performance.

“The Federal Ministry said the houses will be constructed through direct construction model while in another it is looking at private sector as developers to increase the supply of housing.“There is need to have clarity in the delivery model as this will have huge tactical implications on the budget outlay and other housing development indicators. Equally important is the actual field or project disbursement period for the budget sum of N141 billion. This will likely be in August or September 2017 which is five to four months before the end of 2017, eroding housing delivery intentions for the year.”

The Chairman, Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), Mr. William Odudu, said the budget is a step in the right direction.He however said the disbursement of the funds and for what sector of housing will determine its effectiveness and benefit to the people of this country.

“I have always maintained that the government should concentrate on housing for the needy, the low income earners and not for the well to do or high income earners.“ If the budgeted funds are channelled to housing the low income earners, it will go a long way to reducing the housing deficit”, he said.

On the provision of N100 billion for Social Housing in the 2017 Budget, Odudu said it is a good sign that the government is thinking seriously on how to subsidize cost of housing for the low-income earners or those that cannot have access to housing loans.

According to him, the low income earners don’t all need to own their houses but government should find ways of providing cheap and affordable housing for those who need to be housed or given shelter.

“Government must take care of those who cannot afford to buy their homes or who have no access to housing loans.According to him, it has been a routine that allocations are made in form of budget only for government to withhold the money.

But the immediate past president of Association of  Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), Dr Ifenna Chukwujekwu said it is not yet uhuru for the built environment until the money is released.

Chukwujekwu, who is also the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) , Vice President  South East;  said proper analysis of the allocation will be done on the release of the money and not on mere allocation.

Also, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Dele Mafimidiwo commended the Federal Government for taking the steps in the right direction in addressing the housing deficit through the budgetary allocation.

According to him, the government has taken a bold step to start from somewhere though it may be very small amount when we consider the 21 million-housing deficit in the country. “I believe that such bold steps is very good. If Government can continue to earmark fund continuously like that, it will definitely go a long way in solving the housing shortages.

“Although, this may not have significant impact of reducing the housing shortages but definitely it will still have an impact no matter how small. This is better than not doing anything,” he said

Mafimidiwo also commended the Federal Government on its commitment to social and national housing programmes, saying it will gradually help in mitigating against housing shortages in the country.

He however called for private sector participation because according to him, Government alone cannot solve this problem of housing shortages.His view also received tacit support from Oshodi, an architect, who described the N100billion budget for new social housing programme as a welcome development.

According to him, it appears that the Federal Government is on the track to actualising the provisions of chapter eight of the National Housing Policy regarding social housing.
The budget, he said, may not achieve the desired results because of lack of implementation structures.

“Apart from Cross River State that has institutionalised social housing policy; other states are yet to have institutional commitment to the housing model. “Since the states have been identified as the implementing partners in the National policy, the current budget should go into supporting the States to build institutions and processes that will drive social housing in their respective urban and rural communities. Attempts to construct houses at this stage under a social housing scheme will amount to waste of scarce public resources.

“On the other hand, the N41billion federal government’s National Housing Programme needs further clarity on its goal, objectives, delivery strategies and beneficiaries.“If it will be deliver as an integral part of agriculture settlements, being developed by the job creation unit under the office of the Vice President, it is a good approach of decentralising qualitative housing delivery in secondary cities and rural communities across the country,” he added.

Originally published in The Guardian

FHA, NPC, others plan national housing profile

Disturbed that Nigeria lacks accurate data on housing that can help policy-makers address problems in the sector, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has announced plans to work with other agencies on the development of a national housing profile for the country.

With the impressive growth in the housing sector, little had been done to collect adequate data on the growth and challenges in the sector. Developers and investors are at loss on how to identify the appropriate areas where there is a need for housing or even pieces of land that we can buy for development.

In most cases, data collected around the country often fails to reflect the key areas with housing problems as it only dwells on a broad and general analysis of the problems.

In a meeting with United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat), the Managing Director, Professor Mohammed Al- Amin confirmed that the authority was embarking on the project because of the unreliable nature of the available housing statistics in the country.

He told UN-HABITAT Programme Officer, Mr. Kabir Yari, that although an attempt was made to incorporate a housing census into the 2006 national headcount, the data obtained from the exercise was unreliable.

That failure, he said was due to the defective nature of the tool designed for it as enumerators were only trained on how to capture data on individuals and not housing units.

He noted that the lack of reliable housing data had hamstrung proper planning and called for concerted efforts to address the situation.

The FHA chief executive expressed doubt about the authenticity of the famous 17 million housing deficit for Nigeria being often referred to in various quarters because no scientific basis has been shown for it.

He said the authority was in touch with the National Population Commission (NPC), which he said had indicated that it would embark on a proper housing count during the next population census. He, therefore, urged the UN-HABITAT to make its expertise available to ensure the success of the exercise.

Al-Amin also told his host that the Authority wished to participate in the implementation of the resolutions of the just concluded Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development held in Quito, Ecuador. Expressing regret that Nigeria had not been taking full advantage of platforms opened to it by international organisations, he said FHA was poised to participate in the follow-up activities to Habitat III at the national, sub-regional and regional levels.

The Managing Director said his visit to UN-HABITAT was part of the efforts to attune the Authority’s programmes with international best practices.
He said FHA also wanted to work with the United Nations agency on critical housing issues such as slum development and the rising housing deficit in the country with a view to improving the quality of urban life.

Responding, Yari said UN-HABITAT had helped many nations to develop their housing policies but expressed regret that monitoring and implementation had been the bane of policies in Nigeria.

Yari said a nation should, with available statistics, be able to project into how many houses it would need for its populace in the short, medium and long term. He said his agency and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had projected that the population of urban dwellers in the world would rise to three billion by 2050.

In view of that projection, he said it was important for policymakers to be on guard to ensure the availability of adequate waste disposal facilities and sustainable use of resources.

Yari noted that low-income earners who formed the bulk of the housing need base got their housing mostly from the informal sector, which he said, was usually characterised by acute lack of infrastructure.

He said if nations could get it right with pro-poor housing, they would be able to reach majority of those who needed housing. Yari who pointed out that the UN-HABITAT was not a funding agency, promised to provide technical assistance to the FHA in the execution of its programmes.

He later presented some of the agency’s publications to the Managing Director who in turn gave an FHA commemorative plaque to his host. Al-Amin was accompanied on the visit by the Executive Director (Business Development), Mr. Aniedi Akpabio; the Acting General Manager (Commercial Housing), Ms Hajara Kadiri; Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Tunde Ipinmisho and the MD/CE’s Technical Assistant (Commercial Housing), Mr. Gabriel Baba.

Originally published in The Guardian

N40tn mortgage needed to address housing shortage

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has said the country needs over N40tr in mortgage finance to address the present housing shortage.

The bank, in a document, noted that the mortgage finance must be affordable to have the desired effect.

According to the bank, home ownership rate in the country is currently at about 25 per cent, a ratio it considers low compared with figures from countries with entrenched mortgage markets.

The banks stated, “The building and construction sector, inclusive of housing, contributes a mere 1.62 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, a dismal figure compared to contributions ranging from between 30-40 per cent to 60-80 per cent in emerging and developed economies, respectively.

“The mortgage sector contributes less than one per cent to the GDP compared to what obtains in other countries such as the USA, with 63 per cent; Britain, 64 per cent; Germany, 55 per cent; Thailand, 15 per cent; South Africa, 20 per cent, India, five per cent and Ghana, three per cent.”

The FMBN noted that 36 per cent of the Nigerian population currently reside in cities with the rural-urban migration as high as five per cent per annum, putting great demand on urban housing.

The bank added that while the country’s housing deficit had been put in the region of 14 to 17 million units, with 72 to 102 million Nigerians without access to decent housing, mortgage loans and advances by banks were still insignificant due to their long-term nature compared to the short-term nature of bank’s liabilities.

The President, Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of Homebase Mortgage Bank Limited, Dr. Femi Johnson, however said,   that rather than thinking of mortgage financing, stakeholders should focus on making houses available by increasing the housing stock.

He said, “The houses don’t even exist; we need to find money to build these houses first. When an investor brings his money to build houses, depending on if he is on a short or long-term investment, because if he is a short-term investor, he wants to sell and take his money out, but if he’s a long-term investor, that money for construction is the same that is converted to mortgages and people pay over a long period before the investor exits eventually.

“Today, we have over N10tr in the pension fund; this is long-term money that can go into providing mortgages. I think the major issue is to find money to build the houses first. When they are available, money will come. There are so many places to source for funds, the capital market and the World Bank, for instance, are there.”

Johnson noted that with the way the country was structured, it would be difficult to meet the housing needs of the citizens.

“The truth is that with the way we are structured in Nigeria today, it will be difficult for us to build one million houses annually; and even if we do, it will take us almost 25 years to reduce the deficit. So, we shouldn’t be thinking of mortgages yet; at best, we should be looking at construction,” he said.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Strategies for Success

What is success and why is strategy required for success?

Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose while strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim. Organizations will always have targets and aim for specific goals. A systematic, formally documented plan to attain these goals is vital to achieving it.

What are these strategies?

There are different forms of strategy but an Organization should at least consider three basic types, namely:

  • Corporate strategy
  • Business strategy
  • Operational strategy

Corporate strategy

Is a corporation’s overall scope and direction. The way in which its various business operations work together to achieve particular goals. The goal is to optimize an organization’s operations, profitability and growth.

Business strategy

Business strategy is basically how an organization will approach the market place. It focuses on where and how to compete in order to have a competitive advantage. However, this should align with the corporate strategy. This can also be termed as competitive strategy.

Operational strategy

An operational strategy supports the corporate strategy. It’s a plan of action on how an organization will deploy resources in the production of a products or services and effectively deliver in terms of people and processes.

Can you highlight some of the benefits of these strategies?

Clarity and direction

Specific written goals are much easier to achieve than vague ones and this automatically makes it clear. Strategy highlights the plan, the plot and gives direction.  Direction determines destination, not the intention. Without direction, exertions might be futile.

Improvement of corporate performance

An excellently executed strategy has a direct impact on corporate performance. An organization’s execution on its most important parameters, typically financial, market and shareholder performance improves drastically.

A more proactive business

A good strategy makes an organization more proactive rather than reactive. With a plan, you can realize the need for change well before the change occurs and be strategically positioned.

Identification of new opportunities

A strategy may also identify opportunities and trends in the future since it requires an organized effort to gather information about target markets or customers.

Others are:

  • Improved communication between employees, investors and the board.
  • Identification of industry changes and key external trends.
  • Indication of the organization’s business model.
  • More commitment in the management team.
  • Improved resource management.

What You Need to Know About Home Inspection

One of the worst nightmares in Real Estate is to pay so much for a property and then discover a million and one things are wrong with the purchase. Sometimes, when a property is for sale, its being “dressed up” to accentuate its best features and minimize its potential flaws.

This is why inspections are recommended before you pay for that property. Here are a few things you should know about home inspections.

Buyers Are Responsible for Inspections

Home inspection will be to your advantage and not the seller at the end of the day. It is the buyer’s responsibility. This means that you will hire the home inspector, have the inspections completed within a reasonable amount of time, and shoulder the cost.

Get a Certified Inspector

A contractor is different from a home Inspector. They are trained to identify specific problems contractors may not be able to, so there is a need to get a qualified home Inspector in order to get the job done.

Your realtor may assist in searching for one.

What Home Inspections Cover?

Basically, home inspection covers the following:

  • Foundation and basement
  • Any additional structural components
  • Interior plumbing systems
  • Interior electrical systems
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Condition of windows
  • Condition of doors and door frames
  • Condition of floors, walls, and ceilings
  • The attic and any visible insulation

What Home Inspections Don’t Cover?

There is a limit to what a home Inspector can check. Some are listed below:

  • Inside the walls
  • Roof or chimney repairs
  • Septic tanks
  • Wells, sheds, or additional structures separate from the main house

You Should Attend Inspections if You Can

Your presence will reduce the back and forth in reaching a conclusion. Most home inspectors even recommend that buyers attend their property inspection. If you are present, you can also ask questions in real time.

Request a Report

All the findings must be documented  and handed over to you for proper record keeping.

Repairs After Inspections are Negotiable

Unlike paying for the inspection, who pays for the necessary repairs is up for discussion. Luckily, buyers have the upper hand in this scenario, especially if the repairs are extensive.

You Can Walk Away

If the report features something truly catastrophic like toxic mold or severe structural damage which you are not willing to deal with or even negotiate, you can walk away.

FG to build 3,000 housing units for civil servants in Abuja

The Federal Government through the office of the Head of Service (HOS) has entered into an agreement with a housing developer, Brains and Hammers to build at least 3,000 housing units in 72 hectares of land located in Bwari, Abuja.

The housing units which are to be completed within 6 months is to enable the civil servants acquire their own houses with ease.

The HOS, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita explained after a meeting with the developers in Abuja, that the initiative will, ‘’serve an economic multiplier effect on the people as skilled and semi-skilled labour will be engaged, while schools, hospitality industry and hospitals will grow in such environment’’.

She called on civil servants who are contributors to the National Housing Funds to use the opportunity to own their houses.

She disclosed that no fewer than 8000 Federal Civil Servants has so far signalled interest in the Federal government Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to build affordable houses for Nigerians.

According to her, those that have shown interest have also paid a deposit of N1000 each in the first stage of meeting the requirements for acquisition of the low-cost houses.

Originally published in The Guardian

 

Leading Change

What is Change?

Change is simply ‘a new direction’. When  something differs from the past or the norm.  A change could be developmental, transitional or transformational.  The common factor at the end of the day is an alteration.

Why do people or even Organizations tend to resist change?

Change may be resisted for several reasons. One of which is the desire to preserve the old ways of doing things and old institutions.  Other reasons are; fear of the unknown, loss of control, inadequate communication/information, more responsibilities, fear of incompetence and so much more.

Could the realization of an Organization’s potentials depend on change?

The realization of an Organization’s vision is dependent on change.  The environment won’t stay the same, so organizations must embrace change.  As the world evolves, customers’ needs also change.

Where there is resistance to change, there is resistance to ideas. Businesses must be willing to change in order to remain productive and stay relevant. Challenging the status quo could give birth to new ideas and innovations that will further launch the organization’s potentials.

In order to identify opportunities in the market place and equally increase competitiveness, change should be seen as a catalyst and not a hindrance.  Companies that don’t innovate die.

How can we lead change?

Change is inevitable so it is a collective effort. In an organization, everyone can be a change agent but it is the responsibility of the management to develop a change management plan in order to involve all stakeholders in the process.

Below are a few steps that should be considered:

Know the goal

What is the objective of this change? This should be understood from the beginning.

A change leader must have the confidence and ability to change tactic, if another path looks clearer.

Plan

To successfully implement change, a plan must be in place. Before embarking on a journey of transformation, ensure there is a solid business plan.

Communicate

The level of communication determines the amount of information available to stakeholders for corporate change.  Communication should be consistent, frequent, and through multiple channels.

Identify key players.

In the process of change, change advocates should be identified. This actually makes the process easier. They are likely to be instrumental when new processes are put into practice.

Delegate

Change can’t be implemented in isolation. Tasks should be delegated to individuals across the teams with deadlines for completion.

 

PPP panacea to housing deficit in Nigeria – Fashola

The Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has reiterated the importance of synergy between the federal government and the private sector in the built industry in the provision of mass housing to Nigerians. He said the federal government must find a way to exploit the Private Sector participation in the industry especially in the area of local content manufacturing of building materials, noting that it would help reduce prices of the materials and subsequently the cost of the houses.

He made this known during an inspection visit to some selected sites and polysterene manufacturing company in Abuja. He said the visit was a follow up to the claims by some sponsors in the built industry during the Affordable Housing Summit held in Abuja earlier in the year that they had all the machineries to partner with the federal government in delivering affordable mass housing to Nigerians.

The minister who expressed satisfaction with what he saw on ground, noted that the concepts of acceptability and affordability were significant and must be factored into any system the federal government intends to adopt in the sector, adding that the low and middle income earners in Nigeria may not be interested in most of the houses available on ground at the moment, though beautiful and accepted but because they are mostly not affordable and said government was committed to initiate policies that would address the situation.

At the Citec building and manufacturing factory in Mbora District, Abuja, The minister who was conducted round the factory by the Managing Director, Engr. Bello inspected EPS Polystyerene, a building raw material made from petrochemical products and is being used to construct facials used in deckings for storey buildings. Other building materials included, wire mesh which acts as load bearing on the wall and sandwich for constructing portakabins. The company also manufactures doors and windows.

The minister said more companies using polystyerene would be encouraged as houses built with it are cheaper, noise proof, self fire extinguishing and does not need the use of air conditioners because it regulates the weather, adding that for the concept of acceptability and affordability to be meaningful to Nigerians, government must do its best to bring down the cost of owning a house.

He said as part of efforts to assist Nigerians own houses with less burdens, the Federal Mortgage Bank has been repositioned to better perform its statutory function so that government on its part would concentrate more on ensuring the provision of acceptable housing designs.

The minister also visited building sites including: Braines and Hammers at Life Camp and Galadimawa, Sunny Vale at Logokoma and Rockvale at Gudu. He expressed satisfaction that Nigerian youths were being engaged at the sites in various trades such as masons, building sewage plants, iron mongering, and so on, noting that it has shown that the built sector is important in reducing the unemployment rate in the country.

Originally published in Daily Trust

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