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Housing Investment: W’ Bank Tasks FG On Conducive Environment

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Lead Financial Sector
Specialist, Finance and Markets, World Bank Group, Mr. Simon Wally on Wednesday said that Nigeria needed to boost housing development by facilitating an environment conducive for investors.
Wally made the observation at the 32nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of the African Union for Housing Financing (AUHF) in partnership with Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in Abuja.
The three-day conference with theme as “Housing and Africa’s Growth Agenda’’, is being organised by Fesadeb Communications Ltd., convener of Annual Abuja Housing Show and producer of Housing programmes on television.
Wally  said  Nigeria had the necessary capital to finance the provision of affordable housing and did not need capital from other countries to finance affordable housing.
“You do not need capital from outside of Nigeria, looking at the level of investment required; Nigerian has got more than enough capital within the country.
“Investors want to put their money into investment and housing is perfect; in that sense, long term investment is what investors are looking for.
“The country needs the right mechanism, tools and methods for turning that domestic naira investments into housing, and that needs to be done on a very large scale,’’ Wally said.
He said that the critical problem facing Africa was the rate at which the population was growing.
Wally also said that the underlying population growth rate and organisation rate combined were going to present real challenges for Africa in the next 10 to 20 years.
“The country is looking at housing needs in excess of over 150 to 200 housing units per year just to keep up with the demand.
“The problem is that the number of housing needed has not been produced at the moment for Nigeria and other countries and the result of that is informal housing or slums’’, he said.
Chief Executive Officer of NMRC, Prof. Charles Inangete, explained that housing was paramount to the national economy,  adding that Nigeria had an outdated housing data.
“We are still talking of 17 million housing deficit, a data which was created four years ago; we need more current data in order to make housing policy more relevant,” he said.
Mr Thierno-Habib Hann, Senior Housing Finance Regional Lead, International Finance Corporation (IFC),  in a presentation , said housing finance could be expanded by making mortgage markets affordable.
According to him, financing for energy efficiency housing and potential by  scaling up of small loans for home improvement and self construction can as well boost housing investment.
He listed  other factors that could boost housing investment as appropriate support and targeted subsidy policies,  the refocusing  of government interventions and restructuring of failing housing banks.
Hann said rationalising the formalisation process of customary rights to facilitate access to land could remove housing market constraints.
The expert explained that enhancing the capacity of the land administration, starting with the support of its computerisation and low registration charges could also bridge housing constraints.
H, however, called for strengthening of developers in the industry, including land developers and synergy of real estate agents around the federation for improved housing development.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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