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Nigeria ranked 83rd in global real estate transparency index

A newly released biannual Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2016 by property consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Nigeria ranks 83rd out of 109 markets covered.Nigeria’s real estate transparency score was 3.8 in 2016, a marked improvement in transparency. The scores in the Index range between one and five, with one representing the highest level of transparency and five being the least transparent.

The index reveals, which countries provide the most favourable operating environments for investors, developers and corporate occupiers. Covering 109 markets worldwide, it quantifies transparency based on 139 variables relating to transaction processes, regulatory & legal frameworks, and corporate governance. Higher real estate transparency is associated with stronger investor and corporate real estate activity.

JLL’s 2016 index reveals that real estate transparency has continued to improve steadily at a sub-national, national and international level. Globally, transparency scores have advanced by an average of 2.4per cent (2014-2016), matching broadly the improvements made between 2010-2012 (at 2.9per cent) and 2012-2014 (at 3.4per cent). Two-thirds of markets have shown progress over the past two years.

The Anglosphere countries continue to dominate the upper echelons of the transparency hierarchy – accounting for six of the world’s ten ‘Highly Transparent’ markets. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States hold the top positions.

Technology is also allowing some emerging markets to leapfrog the normal transparency evolution. Examples include the digitisation of land registries in Kenya and Ecuador, while Ghana is reportedly trialing a system to record title deeds with blockchain technology.

With growing interest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from corporates and international real estate investors, GRETI 2016 has further extended its footprint across the region to provide coverage of 15 countries, with Rwanda, Tanzania and Ivory Coast joining the 12 countries surveyed in GRETI 2014 (which itself was up from eight SSA countries in GRETI 2012).

GRETI 2016 reveals that SSA has continued to make advances in real estate transparency over the last two years, although progress has been more mixed than in 2014, when SSA registered the largest improvement among the global regions.

Out of the 12 markets from the region included in the 2014 Index, six (Nigeria, Botswana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Angola and Ghana) have recorded reasonable progress in transparency. Advances in the ‘market fundamentals’, ‘performance measurement’ and ‘governance of listed vehicles’ sub-indices have supported the overall regional improvement, as greater involvement by international real estate consultancies and local data providers elevates the level of access to information about real estate markets.

Despite these advances, the region has crucially also seen a slight deterioration in the sub-indices scores for the ‘regulatory and legal environment’ and ‘transaction process’ sub-indices, as development in improving the legislative and operating environment appears to have slowed in several markets, with two countries – South Africa and Mozambique – registering a noteworthy decline in overall score.

While tangible improvements in transparency are being made, SSA is still some distance from competing equally with its regional counterparts and sizeable efforts will be needed to close the gap with other global regions.

Originally published in The Guardian

FG urges construction coys to mobilise to sites

The Federal Government has urged construction companies to mobilise to site in view of over 80 percent of 247 billion naira so far released for the capital projects in the 2016 budget to the construction industry.

This was disclosed by Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris  Ngige  while receiving the leadership of Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association in Abuja.

He said, “as of today, the capital releases of the government stand at 247 billion out of  which a larger chunk has gone to the construction industry in five ministries -Works and Housing with about 120 billion or there about. Transport- the construction angle of it, rail and others account for another large chunk. So in effect, 80 percent of 247 billion so far released has gone to the construction industry.

“The idea is that government wants to reflate the economy and put money in the hands of the people through these construction companies that have millions of Nigerians in their employ.”
On the abuse of the expatriate quota which the union highlighted  as one of the bane of the sector, the minister said  the situation where expatriates take over positions meant for Nigerians, even as low as the menial, was unacceptable.

Earlier, the National President of Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association, Comrade Isaac Egbugara who said the construction industry was groaning under huge debt, solicited the assistance of the minister towards the release of owed funds, stressing the need for an urgent attention to avoid further job losses.

Originally published in DailyTrust

FCTA to issue certificates of occupancy to all landed properties in Abuja

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said  that the FCT Administration is working towards hastening the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy to owners of all landed properties in the territory, including those ones in estates.

Bello  made this disclosure while receiving a delegation of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) led by its national president, Surveyor Ugochukwu Chime in his office
The minister explained  that the policy is to make  valid title documents available for all landed properties in the Federal Capital Territory, irrespective of the size  to ease the land related transactions and transfer of title between parties.

He  said that it is the duty of the FCT Administration to ensure that owners of properties in Abuja  benefit from  obtaining credit facilities from financial institutions the way it is done all over the World.

He said, “Properties anywhere in Abuja would be certificated, whether they are just on one-off plot, in estates or high-rise buildings. Wherever they are, we have realized that it’s very important for every person to have a title document for his or her building or land.  This is something that we are working on and we feel very encouraged that a reputable group like REDAN is also advocating the same thing.”

The minister called on REDAN to come forward with further ideas that could  help in fine-tuning this policy.

Originally published in DailyTrust

Senate President, Fashola for Abuja housing show

The Senate President; President Bukola Saraki, Speaker House of Representatives; Hon.Yakubu Dogora, FCT Minister; Mohammed Bello and Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola are among digniatries expected at the Abuja Housing Show opening tomorrow at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

The 1Oth edition of the Abuja Housing Show is set to introduce a new dimension to the quest for affordable housing delivery, by dedicating quality time to promoting rent-to-own scheme in collaboration with Natanel Florens in Nigeria.

The coordinator of the annual epoch making event, Festus Adebayo, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of FESADEB Communications Limited, commended the efforts of Barr. Babatunde Fashola- Minister for Power, Works and Housing for his determination to work with credible individuals who can help in promoting housing development.

Adebayo stated that the Abuja Housing Show, that has become a reliable solution hub for both government and stakeholders in the built environment, is poised to introducing innovations meant to bolster efforts of government towards developing policies that will ensure sustainable housing delivery.

He also said that the Housing show, being an effort of the organized private sector, with commitment to creating synergy for the urgent solution needed to solve the staggering over 18 million housing deficit in Nigeria, has received the endorsement of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who has promised to attend the programme to address issues that can move the sector forward.

Speaking further, he noted that the event will provide an opportunity for both policy makers and stakeholders to interact, and proffer solution to the plethora of problems that have bedeviled the sector over the years‎. He also added that the private sector will have a rare privilege of telling the government exactly what the sector lacks, as well as sharing ideas that have helped housing delivery in other climes.

On the backdrop of similar programmes that have been organized for the development of the housing sector , without achieving the desired results, he said that Abuja housing show stands out as not just an ordinary talk show, but a one stop shop for novel ideas, innovations and pragmatic platform that synchronizes ‎the position of government and stakeholders.

The the major areas of focus during the event include; the modalities for accessing funds for affordable housing delivery, the practicability of financing low cost housing for the low cadre and average income earners in Nigeria.
Other issues of concern which the event is poised to addressing is how to evolve a mechanism for creating a building technology system that is suitable for our economy and heterogeneous society‎.

Abuja housing show is also said to be prepared to address the challenges encountered by developers who are made to pass through many needless ‎ processes to get land titles and other documents that will be tenable in law for business transactions.
According to the organising secretariat, over 1O countries have already registered for the show, while about 2OO exhibitors are already jostling for spaces to showcase their goods and services.

The event which is set to attract over 4O members of the National Assembly as well as other dignitaries is said to provide a forum for unifying purposes towards articulating a formidable force needed to sponsor a legislative bill that will seek to create more enabling ground for affordable housing in Nigeria.

Taking a further step to prove that the show is not just a jamboree, the organizer has disclosed that experts are expected from the United States of America, South Africa, the Netherland and other countries whose expertise shall provide Nigeria developers a ground and experience to leverage on.

Another unique innovation apart from the green house revolution which the events is set address, is‎ the rent to home programme which the organizer have invited a foreign group that will discuss the model and the operational possibility in Nigeria.

One other side attractions that is said to inject a sense of enthusiasm on the participants of the events, is the modalities worked out by the organizer to give up to 5 percent discount to all transactions during the show.

Originally published in The Guardian

Nigeria, 74 others for real estate expo in Germany

With housing as part of economic development strategy of every nation, the private real estate developers and the government are continually seeking strategies to boost the housing sector.

Nigerians will be joining over 18,985 visitors, amongst who are decision makers to the 19th International fair on Real Estate and investment scheduled to hold October in Munich, Germany. The forum is the largest business-to-business expo for property and investment in Europe since 1998.

The focus this year will be on commercial property: office, retail, hotel, logistics, health, infrastructure and residential property for institutional investors. Profile of attendees include real estate developers, architectural and planning firms, lawyers, investment companies, asset managers, real estate financiers, universities and colleges, banks, fund companies, tax advisors, mortgage finance institutions and property consultants.

A Lagos-based public relations company, Niche PR and Events, is working closely with Messe München International and Trade and Fairs Consulting, Germany to recruit participation from Nigeria.

According to Niche PR, invitations have been extended to stakeholders in the private and public institutions related to real estate and financing to take up a stand at the African pavilion to facilitate one on one business networking meetings between international financiers looking to doing business in Africa and the Nigerian delegation. For exhibition of products and services, there will be 1,707 exhibiting companies. A projected number of over 37,853 participants comprising 18,985 visitors and 18,872 exhibitor’s representatives will be in attendance.

In 2015, Expo Real launched a conference on Sub-Saharan Africa -its real estate investment markets and urban development projects within the framework of Expo Real.

Originally published in The Guardian

Stakeholders seek single digit interest rate for mortgage loans

Still grappling with the problem of access to long-term fund for housing, stakeholders have urged the Federal and State governments to maintain the single digit interest rate in mortgage loan even if it requires subsidizing for the low income earners.

They also stressed the need to proffer local solutions to mortgage financing by considering generational mortgage financing where tenor could be extended beyond the original mortgagee for continuity.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the 2016 National Summit on Affordable Housing in Abuja, the participants agreed that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria should be recapitalized and enforcement of the National Housing Fund (NHF) contribution as enshrined in the enabling Act.

The summit expressed the need for PENCOM to invest a sizeable part of the pension funds, dormant assets of banks and unclaimed dividends in Primary Mortgage Products; put in place the appropriate construction financing schemes including funding sources for multilateral schemes.

They further urged governments to reduce the cumbersome process of land acquisition and land titling with a view to easing housing construction. According to the statement, the summit agreed that the journey of repositioning the Housing Sector as one of the key drivers of national development had greatly progressed and confident that with the cooperation and support of all stakeholders, the sector will be re-energized to fulfill the aspirations of the Nigerian people.

It stressed the need to develop sectoral policies on affordable housing in consonance with the provisions of the various Acts and bills on land utilization for housing.

To this end, the participant directed that the various bills on Land for the construction of houses in the National Assembly should be reviewed and finalized as soon as possible.

According to the communiqué, there is the need to introduce tax exemption to developers who build and provide infrastructure at Affordable Housing sites as well as reduce the rate of land registration, stamp duties, professional fees of valuers and surveyors and lawyers thereby reducing the cost of housing (creating the enabling environment for investment);

It urged Stakeholders to join the Ministry in liaising with the National Assembly to fast track the amendment of the relevant laws already submitted such as foreclosure, mortgage and insurance laws among others.

Housing deficit: FCTA proposes 400 housing units annually

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was created by the federal government in the mid-1970s to be a “functional, model city” and replacement for Lagos, the then nation’s capital, which was suffering decay, congestion and excessive pressure on infrastructure. While the city of Abuja is desirous of becoming the “jewel of Africa,” it continues to witness a tremendous increase in people who come in droves mainly in search of greener pastures and white collar jobs.
The FCT, burdened with increasing population and pressure on available resources, especially land, affordable houses have become a major problem to residents with those at the low income level grappling with exorbitant house rent.The immediate past FCT minister, Bala Mohammed, in August 2014, said that the FCT accounts for 10% of 17m housing deficit in the country.He said: “From statistics, the housing deficit in Nigeria is about 17m and 10 per cent of it is in the FCT. This, of course, is due to the peculiar demographic nature of the territory, resulting from the mass influx into the capital city.”
To bridge this gap, the past  administration  embarked on a number of policies such as the Land Swap initiatives, affordable housing and mass housing schemes and  awarded contracts for the provision of infrastructure in 10 new districts, Jahi, Kagini, Maitama Extension, Wuye, Mbora, Guzape 1 and 2, Wasa and Katampe .
But despite all these efforts, affordable houses continued to be elusive to most residents who are mostly public servants.
However,  hope  of  mass availability  of houses in the FCT was rekindled on Tuesday  when the present FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello,  disclosed  that the FCTA would   build 400 housing units, annually,  to close the housing deficit and provide affordable accommodation for its workforce. He made this disclosure while receiving the Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, in Abuja.
The minister said that substantial amount of money has already been provided in the FCT 2016 statutory budget to commence this project, which he reiterated is dear to his heart to improve the welfare of the workers. Bello, who admitted that he assumed office with the erroneous impression that all workers of the FCT Administration were landlords,  said that  he was shocked to realise that most of the staff, especially those at the middle and junior levels, had no houses of their own.
He said: “Some of them have worked here for so many years, processing land applications, processing files, giving approvals, providing services, but they have been tenants in this city. Some of them never had the opportunity of occupying the houses that were sold some years back.”
While responding to a request made by the head of service to provide suitable land for mass housing projects for all civil servants in the Territory under Federal Integrated Staff Housing Scheme (FISH), which the FCTA was equally a partner, the minister said that his administration was ready to partner with the service to achieve this objective, even if it means retrieving plots of land that it had previously allocated to some government institutions.
“With respect to this particular programme, I assure you we will try to identify and locate land in areas where you will build and deliver the houses at the rate you have mentioned, so that the houses can be occupied immediately.
“Even if it means we have to look at existing allocations that have not been utilised, especially if they were allocations made to government agencies. I think we will have to recover them and bring them all under your office under this new project so that we will be able to have them successfully executed the way they were meant to be from the very beginning.”
The minister, while lamenting that pockets of houses were built in the past without proper linkage with the city centre in terms of access road, power, water lines and sewage, said the FCTA has concluded plans to revamp its mass housing programme to make it more inclusive and responsive to the requirements of Nigerians, especially civil servants.
The minister, who said that some of the houses have not been occupied, despite having gulped so much resources, added that the new system of mass housing will be executed in a holistic way  to provide the needed facilities.
Ms. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita said that the issue of housing and accommodation for civil servants became a very big challenge, recalling that since the year 2001 when the monetisation policy was implemented, only few civil servants, who were occupiers of official quarters at that time, bought their houses with assistance from banks.
Since then, she said, civil servants were not lucky to own houses, except those who had arrangement with private developers. She lamented that civil servants have been left to suffer in the hands of exploitative landlords.
She called on the minister to allocate plots of land to develop housing estates for civil servants under the FISH programme.
“The whole purpose of the FISH programme is to bring the expertise and the mandate of different ministries and government agencies to provide affordable houses for civil servants,” she said.
“We plan to also work with private developers. Every year, we should be able to set up some units of houses which our civil servants can acquire.”
Originally published in Daily Trust

Tips on Personal Branding

Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands

A strong personal brand will have a tremendous impact on both your individual success and that of your company.

Having a great personal brand is awesome and everyone needs one.

The objective is for your personal brand to build your reputation, grow your network in a way that interests others who will seek you out for your knowledge and expertise.

Here are a few Personal Branding Tips:

Know Yourself

By asking yourself the following, you will be able to commit to a niche.

What do you want to be known for? What sets you apart from other established influencers in the same space? How are you going to be memorable?

All the big names in your industry started out by dominating a small space. What can you master that they can’t? What’s your superpower?

Then, after you become the expert of your niche, you can continue to grow by entering an adjacent space.

Invest in Yourself

Develop your skills and explore your creative side. Personal branding isn’t free.

Consider the following:

  • Buy and read a great book
  • Get a Mentor
  • Attend seminars
  • Register for trainings
  • Read success stories

Be remarkable

You will be better off doing something remarkable before building a personal brand. So don’t build a personal brand if it isn’t time. Do something remarkable first!

Hard work is required if you’re serious about being successful. Be innovative and never feel your ideas are stupid. An idea may sound stupid until someone else takes the same idea and runs with it.


UK approves £16.7m to upscale Nigeria’s household solar systems

The United Kingdom Department for International Development has approved an additional £16.7 million for Solar Nigeria to help scale the market for solar home lighting and power in Nigeria through to 2020, enabling millions of Nigerian households to experience reliable power for the very first time.

The pilot programmes in 2015 provided capacity building grants of £1.5 million to 16 companies. In 2016 a financing pilot will provide £0.5 million in grants to mobilise the provision of commercial finance into the value chain for household scale solar light and power systems.

An additional 49,000 homes across Nigeria acquired solar lighting and power systems in just three months this year with help from Solar Nigeria, an innovative programme that helps solar suppliers and financiers scale up and allows households to access this equipment on full commercial terms.

The aim of the Solar Nigeria Programme is to scale up the private market for small solar lighting and power systems. Funded by UKAID, Solar Nigeria will help millions of Nigerian households (and micro-enterprises) to access modern, clean, lighting and power at lower cost than kerosene lanterns and small generators.These homes now enjoy bright light and reliable power at lower cost than kerosene and generators. More than 14,000 of the homes benefitting are in Nigeria’s northern states, where grid deficiencies and the need for reliable power are the most acute. All systems were accessed on full commercial terms, with the householder paying cash, taking a loan, or renting the equipment.

“Millions of Nigerian households could today save money while enjoying bright light and clean power using solar instead of kerosene lanterns and small generators. So why do they not already use it?

“They need someone trustworthy to make quality solar products available to them in their village, and they need to be able to pay for it over time. This requires capable companies to invest in the market, to reach the customers, and to enable financing,” said Leigh Vial, head of consumer markets for Solar Nigeria.

Originally published in The Guardian

Constitute new SURCON council, NIS begs Buhari

The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors has called on the Federal Government to speed up the appointment of a new president and members of council of the Surveyors Council of Nigeria.

The NIS made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of its 51st Annual General Meeting and conference with the theme, ‘Beyond mapping: Integrating geospatial solutions for sustainable urban and rural development in Nigeria’.

According to the communiqué, which was signed by the NIS Secretary General, Mr. Eugene Udochi, the focus should be on generating solutions for nation building using spatial data.

The delay in the appointment of a new president and members of the council for SURCON is stifling the profession.

Originally published in The Punch
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