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Industrialisation key to achieving local content in housing – expert

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Mr Benson Ngbede, member, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), says industrialisation is key to achieving local content inputs in providing affordable housing for citizens.

Ngbede told the Nigeria News Agency , on Sunday in Abuja that building houses would be cheaper when the country is able to develop its industries and locally produce materials that were currently imported.

“Most resources required to build houses are locally available in their raw state. Establishing industries that will turn these raw materials into finished products for builders will ensure affordable houses for citizens.

“Government needs to put in place what is needed for developers to provide houses at relatively affordable prices; that entails availability of land and infrastructure.

“We also need to look inward. We need to develop our industries. We need to be more industrialised to help us develop local content.

“If we can do that, one bedroom house can go for 1million naira, 2 bedroom for about 1.5 million, while a 3 bedroom house can be sold for N3 million, since the materials are sourced at home

“To achieve this, institutions like NIBRRI must be properly funded and supported to carry out researches that will help develop materials needed to build houses.

“We have a place like Ajaokuta which can supply iron to the entire African continent, but it is lying there idle nd not working, forcing us to import metals from other places in the world, and at a high cost,” Ngbede lamented.

He also urged government to provide infrastructure, drainage, roads and other facilities necessary for real estate developers so as to ensure a consequence reduction in the cost of houses.

“As it is now, when you buy a house in an estate, you sometimes have to pay for infrastructure; in most cases, it is usually integrated in the cost of the house which raises the price.

“Government should provide infrastructure, make industries like Ajaokuta functional and the estate developers will do their part. That is the way to go to make affordable housing feasible,” he said.

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin

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FG, Labour meet to end minimum wage logjam

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The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) and the representatives of the Federal Government are currently meeting to put an end to delays in the implementation of the new national minimum wage.

The meeting, holding at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is expected to bring to an end continued disagreements in the percentage of consequential adjustments.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.

At a meeting between the government and labour in July, the former had proposed a 10 percent increment for workers on GL. 7 to 14 and 5.5 percent for those on GL. 15 to 17.

Mr Richard Egbule, the immediate past Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, had attributed the delay in the implementation of the “consequential adjustment” of the N30,000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands by labour unions.

Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high, and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.

Labour, on its own part, had also turned down government’s offer, proposing, instead, 30 percent increase for workers on GL. 7 to 14 and 25 percent for those on GL. 15 to 17.

The JNPSNC had initially demanded for 66 per cent increment across board for all workers, basing it on the fact that the increase in wage from N18, 000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent.

Mr Lawrence Amaechi, an executive member of the labour group in the negotiating council, told NAN that public service workers were expecting government to finally agree with them on reasonable adjustments to the salaries for immediate implementation of the minimum wage.

Amaechi, who is also the National President, Nigerian Civil Service Union, said that the payment of the new minimum wage was long overdue.

He urged government to be proactive in order not to accumulate arrears which, he said, might result in another round of agitations by employees.

Amaechi said although the two labour unions – NLC and Trade Union Congress – were not part of the eight unions that made up the JNPSNC, their representatives had been invited as observers, should negotiations break down.

Both parties are expected to either agree with government’s proposed additions of 10 percent for GL. 7 to 14 workers and 5.5 percent for those on GL. 15 to 17 or come to a middle point away from labour’s demands for 30 and 25 per cent increase respectively.

Edited by Folorunso Poroye and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

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Institute, COREN move to curb corruption in engineering projects

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The Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE) and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), have pledged to eliminate corruption and other  vices ranging from contract inflation and over designing in the execution of engineering projects.

Mrs Aishatu Umar, National Chairman of NICE made the this known she led a delegation of the National Executive on a courtesy visit to the President of COREN Mr Ali Rabiu.

Umar said that corruption in the Civil Engineering projects had remained a major challenge to the practicing civil engineers in Nigeria.

She said that getting jobs in Nigeria in spite of evidence of competence had become a herculean task.

The chairperson of NICE urged COREN to take advantage of its MOU with the Independent Corrupt Practice and other related Offences Commission to take aggressive action on corruption in the Civil Engineering Projects to sustain quality project delivery.

She said quackery was also another area that the institute was desirous of cooperation with COREN.

Umar also expressed worry over the fact that the job of Nigerian Civil Engineers had been high jacked by politicians and people who have nothing to do with the profession resulting in building collapses and other infrastructure in Nigeria.

She, therefore, appealed to COREN to aggressively fight against quackery in civil engineering domain in Nigeria as it would create jobs for the teaming population of civil engineers in Nigeria.

Other areas they sought partnership with COREN was Engineering Regulation Monitoring.

She appealed to the president to strengthen and properly fund the Engineering Regulation Monitoring programme of COREN in order to effectively checkmate those who had invaded the engineering profession especially in the civil engineering profession.

The National Chairman expressed joy over the released official Gazette no 51, volume 105 concerning COREN Regulation on the Construction Industry through an Executive Order endorsed by the President Muhammadu Buhari with the following highlights.

”Designs of all major engineering works are to be carried out in Nigeria; all contracts up to N2.5B are to be reserved exclusively for Nigerian Engineering Firms.

”Copies of all stamped working drawings are to be kept on site for inspection purposes; all major engineering contracts shall have a training component for training of engineering personnel.

”All drawings for the works shall be duly cross checked and endorsed by duly registered engineer.

”Regulation Compliance Committee – Division of COREN to be established to ensure compliance with Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) laws, local content laws, among others,’’ she said.

She urged COREN to aggressively drive toward the implementation of the gazette.

The delegation thanked the President of COREN for receiving them and pledged to give him the necessary support to enable him succeed in his tenure.

She invited Rabiu to the 17th International Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineering (NICE).

The event is scheduled to take place at the Multipurpose Hall Government House Maiduguri Borno State, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 as the Special Guest of Honour.

Responding, Rabiu, said he was honoured and delighted to have his own institute visit him and thanked them for their support.

He assured the delegation that he would critically look at all their proposals and collaborate with the institute where necessary.

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Buhari meets Northern Traditional Rulers at Aso Rock

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Meeting

By Ismaila Chafe

Abuja, Aug. 23, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met behind closed door with traditional rulers from the Northern part of the country at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the traditional rulers were led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and the Emir of Kano, Dr Muhammed Sanusi.

NAN reports that the agenda of the meeting between the president and the traditional rulers was unknown while leadership of the Monarchs also declined comment on the outcome of their deliberation.

President Buhari had on July 31 in Abuja met with traditional rulers from the Southwestern part of the country and assured that his administration was doing everything possible to tackle security challenges in the country.

The Oba and Chiefss were led by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Kano State to integrate Almajiri system into modern education

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Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State says the state government will integrate the Almajiri education system into the modern academic curriculum of  the state.

Ganduje made the promise on Friday in Abuja while speaking to newsmen during a working visit to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.

The governor advised that education should be made free from basic to secondary levels in the interest of the Nigerian child.

“As a government, we have said that basic education and secondary education will be free; we have also made it compulsory to ensure sustainability.

“We have also resolved to hold a stakeholders’ summit to this effect; the summit will brainstorm on how to take care of out-of-school children which include Almajiri,” he said.

Ganduje said the state’s plan was to modify the curriculum in such a way that would tally with the national curriculum.

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FMBN, Diaspora Commission plan to providing easy mortgage for Nigerians abroad

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The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is developing  a Diaspora mortgage housing scheme to assist Nigerians living abroad to own homes in Nigeria, the Managing Director, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, says.

Dangiwa spoke in Abuja on Thursday when Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, paid him a courtesy visit.

He described the visit as timely because the bank was currently managing Nigerians in the Diaspora on mortgage products developed for them.

Dangiwa said that several presentations had been made on the subject at external engagements attended by the bank, particularly in the UK and the U.S.

He said the bank had received positive responses and visits as a result of some of the engagements.

“The Diaspora Mortgage is a special window developed for Nigerians living abroad to facilitate access to finance for residential housing development at home.

“The steps we took show that we have the interest of Nigerians in Diaspora,” Dangiwa said.

He said that the central focus of the bank’s strategic realignment was to strengthen its partnership and collaborate with stakeholders to promote mutual understanding to  achieve  the purpose of the National Housing Fund (NHF).

He said that the bank was established to provide affordable mortgages to drive home ownership among Nigerians, particularly low and medium income earners, through NHF.

Dangiwa said Nigerian workers contributed 2.5 per cent of their monthly income to the NHF scheme.

In her speech, Dabiri-Erewa said the project would make the lives of Nigerians in Diaspora easier by enabling them to acquire their own houses.

She said that it would deal with the major challenges faced by Nigerians in Diaspora as many  had been duped by friends and relatives.

“Many of them will send some money home for people to help them build houses but at the end, those relatives will spend the money without doing anything,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

She said that Dangiwa had made mortgage attractive as poor Nigerians could now own houses.

Dabiri-Erewa said it was important that something was done urgently to ensure that Nigerians in Diaspora owned houses in the country.

She said that the staff of the commission would participate in the bank’s mortgage programme.

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