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Fashola partners finance ministry, others to reduce housing deficit

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says his ministry is working with ministries of finance, budget and national planning to lower interest and lending rates to reduce housing deficit in the country.

Fashola made the assertion at the third edition of Lafarge Africa Plc Quarterly webinar – Concrete Ideas.

It is a platform for deliberation on issues, policies and developments shaping Nigeria’s construction, infrastructure and housing sectors.

The theme of the webinar was: “New Solutions for Nigerian’s Urban Housing.”

The minister, who spoke as the Special Guest of Honour, said the government would ensure long term financing to reduce the housing deficit in the country.

He said housing was a commodity, which the private sector could leverage to increase their entrepreneurial skills to deliver.

“I’m happy to observe that in the last four years at least, the footprints of private sector in the real estate is increasing.

“What government can do to strengthen that space is to use its fiscal and monetary policies muscles to make it even more prolific to play by bringing down the rates – interest and lending rates.

“Government should ensure long tenure financing and these are conversations I’m having with my colleagues, the Minister of Finance, budget and national planning,” he said.

Fashola added that houses of assemblies of states and attorney generals must rise up and intervene on behalf of their residents by way of rent control.

He noted that housing must be discussed along the terms of ownership and rental.

“Where you have people asking citizens to pay three years’ rent in advance for salaries earned monthly in arrears, there is a mismatch there; housing will never be affordable and the bulk of property do not belong to the government but private citizens,” Fashola said.

He urged the attorney generals to get creative through legislation to solve the problem.

According to him, Nigeria needs to redesign its building method for those with economic power to demand and consume.

The minister debunked claims that Nigeria had a housing deficit of between 17 million and 22 million, saying the claim was unrealistic as there were empty houses all over the major urban centres.

He said the Federal Government was perfecting plans to ensure the next census would include home ownership to ascertain the country’s housing deficit figure.

He noted that housing deficit was an urban problem, and that land was a very important component in addressing housing problems in the country, yet he said the Federal Government did not control land but states.

Also speaking, Lafarge Africa Chief Executive Officer, Mr Khaled El Dokani, said the Concrete Ideals platform was for strategic discussions of critical and tropical issues in the area of construction and other sections of its value chain.

Dokani said the commitment of the Federal Government and its agencies to encourage private sector involvement in critical policy formation could not be overemphasised.

“Today’s event signals a call for all key stakeholders within the sector to work together and find lasting solutions to Nigeria’s urban housing issues,” he said.

He said the company would remain committed in providing building solutions through innovative products for economic growth and development.

Miss Amaka Nwaokolo, founder, Blue Tower House, said access to finance was vital in solving housing problem.

Nwaokolo urged the government to provide affordable finance to real estate players to solve housing issues in the country to ease the burden that would be passed to end users.

 

 

(NAN)

 

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SANWO-OLU URGES RESIDENTS TO STAY CALM OVER CASH SCARCITY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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The Lagos State Government has observed the tension caused by the slow release of cash through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and within banking halls.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu today joined a delegation that met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to deliberate on measures to remove the hardship caused by the scarcity of the new currency.

In a statement signed by the Hon. Commissioner for information, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, Mr. Sanwo-Olu urges residents to remain calm as the government is doing everything possible to normalise the situation. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to put measures in place to ensure residents have access to currency notes released to banks.

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Buhari inaugurates new MOFI Board

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) to grow its Assets Under Management from the current value of N18 trillion to at least N100 trillion in the next 10 years.

The president gave the charge at the launch of the new MOFI and inauguration of the Governing Council and Board of Directors of the body shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The president also tasked the new board to “be the clearing house for the management of Federal Government’s investments and assets in line with global best practices with a view to ensuring that these investments are delivering superior risk-adjusted returns to the government.”

He also called on the new MOFI to work with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to create a consolidated national assets register with a view to converting them into cash-flow-generating entities.

This, he said, would support the government’s revenue drive.

Buhari urged members of the board to work with the government with a view to using government-owned investments and assets to support the government in delivering on its social and economic obligations to the citizenry.

He, therefore, directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr  Zainab Ahmed to commence the process of amending the MOFI Act and other legislations to further institutionalize this reform.

According to him, the amendments when carried out, would ensure that MOFI was restructured and repositioned to become a trusted custodian and manager of Federal Government’s investments and assets.

Buhari said the event was significant as the restructured MOFI would help identify “what we own” and how to get the best out of them.

According to the president, the MOFI Act of 1959, now Cap. 229, Laws of the Federation, 2004, explicitly empowers MOFI to enter into commercial transactions of any description on behalf of the Federal Government in its own name.

He said that MOFI was used as a Special Purpose Vehicle across different sectors to invest in commercial entities over the last 64 years, adding that MOFI was created even before Nigeria’s independence.

In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning thanked Buhari for his support and approvals that had made the restructuring and repositioning of MOFI possible.

According to the minister, the council members and board will ensure that the new MOFI delivers on its mandates.

The governing council is chaired by the President, with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, as Vice Chair.

It’s members include: The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo.

Others are: Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Godwin Emefiele and three experts appointed by the President, namely: Prof. Muhammad Sagagi, Dr Ayo Teriba and Prof. Ken Ife.

The board members include: Former Finance Minister, Shamsudeen Usman as Chairman, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance and Petroleum Resources and acting Accountant-General of the Federation.

Others are; Olawale Edun, Fatima Mede, Ike Chioke, Muhammad Nda, Alheri Nyako and an executive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are also members of the board

Members of the Executive Management Team are: Dr Armstrong Takang, Managing Director, Eric solo, Executive Director, Chief Portfolio Officer, Sani Yakubu Chief Investment Officer and Oluwakemi Owonubi, Chief Risk Officer.

 

 

(NAN)

 

 

 

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Polls: NBC warns broadcasters against compromising national unity

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National Broadcasting Commission
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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned all broadcasters against compromising national unity while covering forthcoming  general election.

The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah issued the warning in a statement, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said: ”The National Broadcasting Commission wish to again, remind all broadcasters covering the forthcoming general elections to take note of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, and other relevant regulations guiding the broadcast of elections in Nigeria.

”The commission has observed, with deep concerns, how ethics and ethos have been thrown to the winds by politicians using broadcast media platforms.

”This is against the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which provides that in using materials for news and current affairs programmes, the broadcaster shall avoid hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory and divisive remarks or allusions.

”The commission notes that some station now glamorise these situations on their platforms. The NBC reiterates that such stations shall pay for their professional misdemeanor.”

Ilelah said for the avoidance of doubt, broadcasters were advised to note the sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which provides that the broadcaster shall promote human dignity.

He added: “Therefore, hate speech is prohibited. Section 3.11.1 (a) states that all broadcasters should ensure that language or a scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast.

“Also, section 3.11.1 (b) advice broadcaster to ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

“Similarly, section 5.4.1 (f) prohibit broadcasters from transmitting divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.”

Ilelah said that section 5.3.3 (g) urged broadcasters to ensure that a political broadcast was clearly identified as such, and not presented in a manner that would mislead the audience to believe that the programme was of any other type.

“Also, section 5.3.3 (j) enjoin broadcasters to ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement and any form of partisan political party identification or symbol ends not later than 24 hours before polling day.

“The NBC ACT CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, also prescribes, in the Third Schedule 12(6) that “A Licensee shall be responsible for the content of the Station’s Broadcast.

”The commission enjoins all broadcasters to desist from using or allowing their platforms and facilities to be used by politicians, their supporters and or sympathisers, for the broadcast of contents that may lead to the breakdown of law and order,” Ilelah

He said that broadcasters were therefore expected to perform the role of peace agents by adhering to the principles of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.

 

 

(NAN)

 

 

 

 

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