Stories by Maduka Nweke
Growing urbanisation of population leaves Nigeria with the challenge of providing all inhabitants with decent, affordable and sustainable housing regardless of their income. Providing these daunting necessities of life without taking into consideration how to disaster proof them would amount to giving birth to children without taking care of them.
Whether it’s for a home or a business property, many people need to look at getting covered for a range of storms and other catastrophic events that can cause major damage to properties. When you are looking to get insurance protection against natural disasters, some tips from professionals and those experienced in the industry can help beginners to get the kind of effective cover they need against whatever may come their way.
It is obvious that after disaster hits, homeowners need to assess the condition of their property. While damage could lead to huge financial blows to homeowners’ bank accounts, destruction may be preventable. Through updating their property and reinforcing their home’s existing features, homeowners could disaster-proof their houses and save them on home insurances.
Some of the ways to strengthen homes to avoid damages include;
•Ask insurance professional to explain your already loaded policy:
One of the first things to do when looking for natural disaster coverage is to see what your existing policy covers and what it leaves out. Ask insurance company representatives about what sorts of perils are included in your standard policy options. Also ask about how quickly the company can settle claims. When it comes to paying out for natural disasters and other events, not all insurance companies are equal.
The more you inquire before storms and other events happen, the better informed you will be to start dealing with the aftermath of one of these disasters. Inspect any exclusions in your policy. Insurance companies would often provide specific exclusions, whether it is flood, earthquake or other kinds of natural events. When you know that something is excluded, you know that you have to get coverage for it some other way.
•Look for additional insurance riders that could help:
The insurance company that you use may be able to offer you extra coverage against some natural disasters in the form of an insurance rider, an additional premium amount that you can tack onto your policy.
•Search for nonstandard natural disaster insurance:
Some companies may specialize in offering the kind of coverage that you need for a specific property that may be vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, lightning storms or anything else that could cause serious damage.
•Seek for government programs that could cover some special natural disasters:
In many cases, federal, state or local governments provide additional insurance opportunities for property owners when private insurers refuse to cover specific liabilities related to natural disasters or anything else that is out of the individual property owner’s control.
The Nation Flood Insurance Program, (NFIP)helps Americans all over the country get effective flood coverage for their properties. Since you won’t easily find flood insurance from a private insurer, knowing about the NFIP is extremely important.
Some types of government insurance arise from findings by Federal Emergency Management Association, (FEMA), an agency of the federal government. From FEMA’s website, research anything applicable to your properties.
Some states have specific insurance pools for dangers particular to that area. For example, the South-east and other nearby states are prone to gully erosion. These gullies and other risks may not be covered by private insurers but state programs could cater for it. Ask about these programs and think about whether they are applicable to your home or business property.
During a storm with strong winds or other severe weather events, windows are at risk for breaking. This could lead to injuries and damage to property inside. To prevent insurance costs from glass-related destruction, homeowners should replace their old windows with shatter-resistant models, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
When earthquakes happen, it is easy for heavy-duty items to fall and potentially hit someone on the way down. Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety suggested homeowners brace equipment that is at risk for striking people, from heating equipment to appliances. Homeowners should consider reinforcing water heaters with materials they can find in any hardware store, including a 2 x 4 wood block, shelving brackets and plumber’s strapping.
Damage to certain parts of the home makes the structure more vulnerable to damage. This is especially true for roofs. Since roofs provide a first line of defense for water, debris, wind and other forces of nature, homeowners should make sure they are the best quality.
If property owners notice their roof has signs of aging, such as broken or missing shingles, they could renovate their home and install a new covering. New roofs generally could reduce home insurance costs on homeowners by between 10 to 20 per cent. The special characteristics of the roof designed to lower risks could also minimize insurance costs.
FG may invest pension funds, unclaimed dividends in mortgages
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government may have decided to invest a sizeable part of the pension funds, dormant assets of banks and unclaimed dividends in Primary Mortgage Products, if the recommendations of a National Summit on Affordable Housing that ended in Abuja yesterday are anything to go by.
As part of efforts at evolving the appropriate construction financing schemes, including funding sources for multilateral schemes, the summit also recommended that interest rate in mortgage loan be maintained at single digit even if it requires subsidising for the low income earners.
This was contained in the communiqué presented by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
While stressing 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, the communiqué called for the recapitalisation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and enforcement of the National Housing Fund (NHF) contribution as enshrined in the enabling Act.
On access to land, the summit urged governments at both federal and states levels to reduce the cumbersome process of land acquisition and titling with a view to easing housing construction.
It further called for the development of sectoral policies on affordable housing in consonance with the provisions of the various Acts and Bills on land utilisation for housing.
“Towards this, the summit directed that the various bills on land for the construction of houses in the National Assembly should be reviewed and finalised as soon as possible.
“Land Use Act should be retained but the state and federal governments should endeavour to evolve necessary reforms in land administration by making land allocation to actual developers and simplifying the issue of title documents,” the communiqué stated.
The theme of the summit was “Developing a Blueprint for Affordable Housing Delivery in Nigeria”.
Houston EB5 completes Astoria in 2 years
…Launches first hotel, residences in San Antonio, Texas
Two years after construction commenced in 2014, the $70 million Astoria high-rise residential tower was finally unveiled on May 11 this year, though before completion. It attracted huge market such that all 75 residences were sold out while construction was ongoing.
Precisely, in 2010, Houston EB5 tapped a federal programme targeting wealthy foreigners to fund their real estate projects. This gave rise to a $70 million residential tower in the vibrant Houston Galleria area called Astoria and a $48 million eight-storey, 242-units apartment building in the heart of Downtown Houston called Block 384. Astoria raise was completed with $30 million from EB5 investors and the raise for Block 384 with $12 million.
3Invest, in partnership with Houston EB5, is raising capital for Thompson Hotel and Residences, San Antonio, in the region.
Houston EB5 is a real estate investment company offering potential investors the opportunity of investing in real estate developments in Houston Texas. In addition to the prospect of a good return on investment on the project, investing in it would qualify investors for permanent residency in the United States through the EB5 programme.
The Thompson Hotel and Residences is positioning itself as the premier luxury boutique hotel in San Antonio. Consisting of 20 storeys, the 170 guest room, 56 residences hotel would feature 15,000 square feet of riverfront meeting space and a Skybar Club, providing sweeping views of the city.
Designed to meet the needs of the San Antonio market, the Thompson San Antonio Hotel delivers unrivalled elegance and comfort.
Houston EB5 boasts of a 100 per cent success rate on Green Card approvals and because of this success, it has completed its third raise of $13 million for Marlowe, a luxury residential tower in Downtown Houston.
Other projects currently undergoing successful raises include Imperial Refinery District Lofts and Arabella, a contemporary high-rise residential tower.
Like previous Houston EB5 projects, Thompson San Antonio has received great support from both the cities of Houston and San Antonio. A “TEA” designation has been assigned to both projects, lowering the minimum investment amount to $500,000 as opposed to $1 million.
According to Emilio Guzman, Chief Investor Relations of Houston EB5, through the marketing of previous projects, Houston EB5 has established strong investor pipelines in both Latin America and Africa, helping to assure complete capitalisation of projects.
Speaking on the issue, Acho Azuike, Managing Director of Houston EB5, the USCIS is also considering raising the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $800,000 in September 2016. This means that interested investors should aim to complete their investment before the proposed increase.
According to him, “the EB5 Investment Programme is administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security. It allows investors who make a qualified investment to fast track permanent legal residency in the United States for themselves and their immediate families without the usual roadblocks or red tape associated with the immigration process.
“Houston EB5 has stayed committed to bringing developments of impeccable design and elegance to Houston and to sustaining the strong economic environment from which the city has grown. Given that real estate investments remain much safer in nature than typical business investments, coupled with Houston’s strong economy, participants in Houston EB5’s projects can expect a more reliable and timely return on their investment.
“Houston EB5 believes Nigeria can become a crucial part in helping to expand the city’s skyline by investing in Houston EB5’s developments. Interested parties in this investment opportunity can make further inquiries as to how to proceed by contacting 3Invest, the project’s industry partner here in West Africa, for further details.
“3Invest is an organisation with a collective goal to develop ideas designed to change the way investors approach real estate in the future. This provides a foundation for our core brand values – ‘live well, work right, invest wisely.’”
CDK Integrated Industries set to commence production
CDK Integrated Industries has disclosed plans to commence production of high quality porcelain tiles and sanitary wares soon in its state-of-the-art factories in Shagamu, Ogun State.
According to Dr. Khater Massaad, CEO of CDK Integrated Industries, “we are building world-class factories here in Shagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria, with a global standard that would stem the importation of ceramic tiles and sanitary wares. It is clear that Nigeria imports over 65 million square meters of tiles according to an international magazine with specialisation on ceramic tiles and sanitary wares.
“We are going to change the Nigerian narrative in this area as we build the CDK Integrated Industries with the most sophisticated modern equipment known in the world for manufacturing tiles and sanitary wares.
“CDK Integrated Industries’ goal is to be the hub of ceramic tiles and sanitary wares in West Africa and we have started the journey of building two world-class factories, a great place to work and a place Nigerians would be proud to be associated with as we are also environmentally friendly in the nature of our construction.”
To achieve this world-class status, he said, “we are training Nigerians and investing in equipment that would make us produce high quality products of ceramic tiles and sanitary wares.
“With one million square meters of land in Shagamu, Ogun State, we are set for the world to experience something new and wonderful from Nigeria. It is going to be the most modern factory in the world today and our training of staff is world-class.”
“We are producing super high quality products in this country, products that will surpass what is available in Europe. We are already set to meet international standards and our experience is global.
“CDK Integrated Industries sanitary wares factory would be producing 500,000 pieces of several models of European designs collections, with the best technology, best raw materials, highest standard, world-class fittings and soft closing hinges, among others, annually.
“CDK Integrated Industries porcelain tiles factory would be producing 60×60, 30×60 and 40×40 polished glazed, glazed polished and soluble salt tiles with superior quality state-of-the-art technology and digital printing. We want to be a respected partner in the business across the globe, with the aim that everyone that comes in contact with the CDK Integrated Industries’ brand of ceramics and sanitary wares would be glad to do so.”
Massaad said a lot of people would benefit from the company’s existence in the country as it will help save the country some needed foreign currencies instead of it being used to import over 65 million square meters of tiles from Europe.
He noted that Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, which is providing a great platform for CDK Integrated Industries to establish factories in a country with almost all the raw materials needed in the manufacturing of tiles and sanitary wares.
FAAN to review concession of Lagos airport car park
By Louis Iba
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is to review the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the concessioning of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, car park.
This comes as FAAN workers’ union have taken over the management and collection of toll at the car park over allegation of poor remittances by concessionaire, Homitel for the past two years.
The takeover, according to the General Secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mr. Olayinka Abioye, had become necessary to shore up monthly Internally Generated Revenue that will allow the easy payment of staff salaries.
Abioye said the management of FAAN had given its nod to the takeover by staff and had ordered its legal department to look at the naughty areas in the MoU between the two parties. “We have resolved the matter and FAAN staff have taken over the control of the car park from Hometel and the management of FAAN have supported the takeover of the car park,” said Abioye.
“The Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma has ordered the legal department to critically look at the MoU with the owners of the company because if you have a concessionaire that is not generating revenue as supposed to you, what will you do with such a company? We will now be generating enough revenue that will be enough for us to pay salaries at the end of the month,” he added.
The unions also accused the management of the car park of lack of proper concessioning agreement with FAAN, saying that it only signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) with the management, adding that it violated part of the agreement by unilaterally raising the car park fee from N200 to N500 per car without informing FAAN.
The meeting to discuss the takeover of the car park was held on Monday at the headquarters of FAAN in Lagos.