Stories by Maduka Nweke
Water is good for all living things both plants and animals. However, a wise saying has it that too much of everything is bad. Hence, when you have too much water whether in your farm, on the street or anywhere else, it becomes counter productive.
Today, flooding is a common challenge that many home owners face at one time or another. But keeping your home in good repair, moving valuables out of water’s way and creating good drainage around your home, you can stop or reduce potential flood damage.
Rain water, especially during hot weather, cools the temperature and reduces dehydration. On the other hand, when the rain becomes excessive, those that ought to enjoy it begin to complain. It is rain water that causes flood everywhere except when seas begin to overflow their banks.
Apart from the flooding but seas overflowing their banks, rain water could as well damage a lot of things. So to ensure that rain does not spoil things for you, you need to take certain steps aimed at either preventing it or ameliorating it. In addition, you should know what to do in the first 24 hours after a flood to avoid additional risks to your health and home.
•Fix leaky roofs: Some steps are strategic that you must take before the rainy season or spring thaw begins. Some of the steps are – leaky roofs and foundation cracks allow water to get into your home, which can weaken the structure and provide a perfect habitat for mould. When you see wet spots on the ceiling or cracks in the foundation, fix them as soon as it’s safe to get up on the roof or the material is dry enough to repair. Check that roofing shingles are secure.
•Spring for extra roof protection: When it’s time to replace your roof, spend some money to install a rubber roof underlayment, a waterproof barrier that goes under the shingles and protects the roof from water intrusion.
•Close foundation cracks with mortar and masonry caulk or hydraulic cement, which expands and fills gaps completely with little money. Don’t patch solely with mortar or cement, which may crack again. If water is a recurring problem, be sure to investigate other solutions for issues like wet basements.
•Endeavour to keep gutters and drainage systems clear to carry water away from your home. Check storm drains on your street, as leaves and debris can block them, causing water to collect.
•Use some battery-powered sump pump: Sump pumps allows you pump water out of your home and can be an excellent defence against flooding – unless they’re powered by electricity and the power is out. Although a battery-powered sump pump is relatively inexpensive if you can afford it, it is a solution for bailing water.
•Try and move expensive items to a safer location: If you have a second floor or an attic, moving furniture, photographs and artwork to a higher level would protect your possessions in all but the most severe floods. Elevate furnaces and water pumps when they’re installed, if possible, to a height of 12 inches above the highest known flood level for your area, suggests FEMA.
Also in the views of Mrs. Titilayo Adeleye, Vice Chairman, Nigeria Insrtitute of Architects (NIA), Lagos chapter and CEO, Eden Group, who specialises in architecture, properties and interiors, the first thing is to always use qualified professionals. They would advice clients on important flood prevention strategies. For instance, how much to raise your building above road level, how much filling is adequate, the right building location, orientation, among others.
Clients are advised to involve architects early in the life of their projects and always hearken to the advice of the architects so as not to be kobo wise and naira foolish.
Unanchored tanks can float, rupture and release fuel. Once the power sources of system units like furnaces and water heaters are disabled and the units cooled, you can also wrap them in waterproof tarps to mitigate water damage. Install a sewer or septic line check valves, which would allow waste to flow only one way. If you live on a slope and have a persistently wet basement or soggy lawn, use a French drain to collect water in your yard and divert it safely away from your house.
When pension fund investment in infrastructure qualifies as portfolio diversification
There is no denying the fact that Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit requires urgent attention to achieve meaningful national development. The long term nature of pension fund assets properly aligns with the long term profile of infrastructure and real estate/housing projects. Pension fund investments in infrastructure and real estate development also provide veritable avenues for portfolio diversification for pension funds.
Infrastructure financing is an allowable asset class for Nigerian pension funds as provided for by the PRA 2014 and Investment Regulation issued by the commission. The minimum requirements/criteria for pension fund investments in infrastructure, through infrastructure bonds and infrastructure funds, as stipulated in the Investment Regulation, are very robust and provide adequate safeguard for pension fund assets.
Despite the availability of about N1.06 trillion for infrastructure financing, only N1.36 billion has been taken as at December 31, 2015, leaving N1.059 trillion untapped. This is largely due to non-availability of investment instruments that qualify for pension fund investment as stipulated in the Investment Regulations.
Pension fund investment in infrastructure projects in Nigeria is a “win-win” for all stakeholders, especially for the contributors. For the pension funds managers, it would generate consistent streams of income and relatively higher/above-inflation returns. For the contributor, it would provide a platform for employment creation and sustenance as well as improved standard of living for the citizens.
In the light of the statutory and regulatory framework for investment of pension fund assets, there is an urgent need to refocus the discussion to a call for development of bankable/eligible infrastructure-financing structure in Nigeria that can attract pension fund and other institutional investments. Thus, to attract pension funds investment, infrastructure projects in Nigeria must be shown to be commercially viable and self-financing. The bid/concession processes for the projects must also be open and transparent. There must also be a cover against political risk, to be provided by the Federal Government and/or multilateral finance institutions, e.g. IFC/World Bank, AfDB, among others.
In view of the foregoing, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) recommends the following action steps, which relevant Federal Government agencies should immediately embark upon:
1. Determination of key infrastructure segments to focus on, for instance, roads, rails, power and ports. The need to identify potential projects and create PPP vehicles for these projects.
2. Put in place appropriate government guarantees that would improve ratings of infrastructure projects and thereby increase their attractiveness to institutional investors.
3. Provide other government support such as long-term policy planning and tax incentives to encourage investors to invest in less liquid, long-term infrastructure investments.
4. Create a public/private intermediary that provides instruments such as takeout financing, co-financing in the form of long-term or subordinated debt and a variety of guarantees.
5. The intermediary would need to have a credible governance and management structure in place that provides oversight as well as checks and balances to maximally insulate its operations and decision-making from political influence.
6. The intermediary should provide the credit assessment and arranger functions.
7. Improved coordination between key stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Finance, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and various line Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure that the right projects are initiated, financed and successfully completed.
Pertinence Ltd launches promo to reduce housing deficit
The Executive Director, Pertinence Limited, Mr. Wisdom, Ahamefule Ezekiel, a real estate firm that procures, builds and sells properties to the public, has said that the company has mapped out strategies to help reduce housing deficit in the country.
Speaking during the launch of its promo to get across to the masses, Ezekiel said the company decided to organise an event where all stakeholders are brought together and through that give back to the society by having people patronise the company at a reduced price.
While fielding questions on the procurement of titles for the properties, Ezekiel said, “when it comes to documentation, we do what we call global C of O, which covers everybody. This is because a lot of people don’t have money to pursue individual C of O. So before we start building for the masses, we make sure they do not need to spend as much to be able to acquire a document that would cover their land. So we do it as a global C of O to cover everybody so that the price of getting it is reduced.”
In his contribution, another Executive Director, Mr. Olorunseyi Sunday, stated that, “before designing the company’s products for the market, we consider that regardless of your social or economic status, you should be able to invest in real estate. For instance, the last promo launch we had, we sold a plot of land as low as N100,000. It simply means that even if you are an artisan or somebody that does not earn more than N30-N40,000 even N20,000 a month, you can actually save up to N100,000 to be able to buy. So we classify those people as low income.
“But whether you are in the middle or high class, we have locations for you. We have properties at Ajah for those that feel, okay that is where I want to live. But if you want to go to Sango, Ifo or you want to live at Ado-Ota close to Agbara, it is there. Then for the medium class, we have something going on at Ikorodu, so it depends on what you earn and what you can put into real estate,” he said.
Commenting on the price of land, the company said, “when it comes to prices of our land, it ranges from as low as N150,000 depending on the location. We have locations at Sango-Ifo phases 1, 2 and 3; at Ado-Ota, we have 1 and 2; at Ofada Owode, we have phases 1 and 2 also. At Ikorodu, we have there, we have at Lekki, Ibeju Lekki 1 and 2. Even outside Lagos, we have at Abuja, we have at Kuje. At Ilorin, we have at Al-Sadam. We have in many locations and the cheapest is N150,000. And like I said, there was a time we sold a plot for as low as N100,000.”
How Raumplus intends to enhance local content devt
Raumplus, a leading global interior and furniture design firm, has underscored its commitment to accelerate the development of the property industry in Nigeria through transfer of skills and the establishment of factories to produce its products locally.
Managing Director, Raumplus Nigeria, Mr. Adeyanju Adelakun, made the assertion at the opening of the ultra-modern office complex and showroom of the company recently in Abuja.
Adelakun said the company has in no small measure engendered growth in the nation’s property market by creating and adding value through quality furnishing products to complement the structural developments in the property industry. He said it is the vision of the company to commence building materials factories in the country to promote local content development and provide employment opportunities for Nigerians.
According to him, Raumplus has brought innovations into the Nigerian interior design sector, adding that it has introduced products that help in achieving home design dreams. He said the company’s products provide solutions for living rooms and workplaces with modern day technology used in producing products like sliding doors, room dividers and cabinet systems.
In his speech at the occasion, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, stated that Nigeria’s economy offers huge potentials and opportunities for investors to leverage on and establish their businesses.
He commended Raumplus for retaining a strong pedigree in the nation’s furniture industry and the property market in general.
Ambode asserted that the economy was big enough for every key player to participate and showcase their business acumen and produce products that meet the taste of the people.
Represented by his Special Adviser in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Obafela Bank Olemoh, he stated that the economy offers a level playing ground for every organisation and as a result, urged more businesses to take advantage of the potentials that abound in the economy.
Also speaking, Prof. Amos Utuama, former Deputy Governor of Delta State, lauded the emergence of Raumplus in Abuja, which is a strategic move to expand business operations in Nigeria. He said it is laudable vision for the global brands to introduce innovative products into the Nigerian market.
Utuama said the business model of Raumplus to meet the desired needs of customers in Nigeria is commendable as the new office complex in Abuja is part of strategic business growth and expansion.
He commended the foresight of the franchisee, Adelakun, in maintaining a sustainable business partnership with the world’s renowned brand. He further urged both global organisations to ensure the opening of local factories in Nigeria to further expand their operations.
The franchisee, Adelakun, in his remarks reiterated his company’s commitment to further tap into the enormous potentials the economy offers to expand business operations, saying the global brand is deepening its brand equity in Nigeria to provide high value interior furnishing and quality home appliances for Nigerians.
Foreign coys shun construction summit
…Fashola calls for local capacity devt
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Stakeholders in the built and road sector of the economy yesterday bemoaned the dominance of the sector by a few large expatriate firms, which control about 90 per cent of the nation’s construction industry.
This is as the Director General of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NIBRRI), Prof. Daladi Matawal, decried the absence of foreign construction firms at the 2016 NIBRRI organised construction summit, holding in Abuja, despite being invited.
NIBRRI, however, said it has decided to team up with the Federal Government to change the tide. A major initiative in this regard was the launch of a vocational education scheme to prepare artisans and other skilled workers for employment in the sector. He also stated that local firms are working with NIBRRI on how to enhance performance and ensure that projects are completed faster at lower project costs.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who spoke at the summit, identified vocational education as a fundamental requirement for the development of the sector.
He spoke of government’s resolve to reduce over-dependence on public finance for the execution of road projects in the country. This, he said, would be achieved by facilitating participation of private sector, multi-lateral and bi-lateral agencies on road development projects.
The Minister said, “Nigeria being the largest population in Africa with an increasing demand for road transport network has a road sector that accounts for about 90 per cent of all freight and passenger movements in the country due to inadequacy of other modes of transportation. Indeed, the country has long suffered from a sub-optimal road network where only about 28,980km out of the 193,200km, total length of roads are paved.
“The housing sub-sector is equally a strategic component in the construction industry that contributes immensely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. However, the sector’s growth has been hindered by serious challenges such as incessant building collapse, use of substandard materials and construction of substandard buildings, lack of home-based code of practice and inconsistent government policies, among others.”
Prof. Matawal on the other hand said the summit was meant to chart a way forward in the built and road sector of the economy. He disclosed of efforts at setting up the Training Academy for Artisans and Craftsmen as well as transforming the institute into a centre of excellence in collaboration with international organisations.
He said: “Unfortunately, the Nigerian construction industry is dominated by a few large expatriate firms, which account for the rest of the work. These are mainly in the area of building construction but an almost negligible number embarking on civil engineering works of complex nature, including bridges, airports, wharfs, railways and bridges. Even in the area of small building works and commercial and industrial buildings, only a few are able to compete successfully with expatriate firms. The indigenous contractor is faced with the problems of working capital, poor management and lack of good organisation.”