The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs Akon Eyakenyi, says inaccessibility to land and high cost of land titling have hindered the ministry’s efforts to deliver houses to Nigerians.
Eyakenyi made the statement at the 2014 Ministerial Platform, which held in Abuja yesterday.
She said that the ministry was working in partnership with the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform and other stakeholders to address the plethora of issues in land administration and management.
According to her, the aim is to ensure that land owners have secured titles and bankable assets.
Eyakenyi said the committee had developed and produced a draft on Land Use Act Regulations.
“Discussions are ongoing with state governors to reduce the cost of land title applications and turnaround time to approve land applications in order to bring down the prices of houses for the citizenry.
“A Ministerial Committee was also established to undertake the inventory and auditing of all federal lands and landed property.
“The objective is to update our database on the status of all federal lands in the country in order to free under-utilised lands for housing development and optimise the use of all landed property.
“In addition, efforts were intensified to update and upgrade the land data-base management /processing system in the country through the federal land information system,’’ she said.
The minister said this would help to identify lands that were not in use while making land allocation process easy.
She said that a total of 3,798 certificates of occupancy were granted nationwide from 2010 to 2014, while 1,756 number of consents were granted for the transfer of land titles.
She added that a total number of 3,787 of serviced plots were created through the ministry.
She said that the ministry had commenced the process of issuing certificates of occupancy in respect of the 635 core assets of the successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
She said the core assets belonged to 11 electric power distribution companies in Abuja, Benin, Eko, Enugu, Ibadan ,Ikeja, Jos, Kaduna, Kano ,Port-Harcout and Yola.
Eyakenyi said that the ministry had developed a framework for conducting a National Housing Survey to establish whether Nigerians were adequately housed or not.
She said the survey would help to establish the actual number of housing deficit in the country instead of relying on forecast while addressing the concerns of the housing and urban development sector.
She said the government was working out ways to provide affordable housing for Nigerians and that a significant development was the adoption of alternative building technologies and construction methods in some projects.
Eyakenyi said the aim was to improve the speed of construction and reduce the overall cost of construction.
She said that mortgage access for the informal sector under the ministry was flourishing as 935 registered cooperative societies with 18,397 members, whose contributions stood at N133, 70 million, had been registered.
She said that the 300 housing units financed under the scheme had been developed.
She said efforts were being made to harness other sources of funds in support of a sustainable mortgage finance system, using unclaimed dividends, pension funds; dormant accounts, among others. (NAN)
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
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