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Economy

Why builders flout town planning codes — Expert

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A former Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr Ayo Adejumo, has identified poor funding as an obstacle to effective operation of the building industry by regulatory agencies.

Adejumo told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos that Lagos State Physical Planning and Development Authority and other appropriate bodies responsible for processing building plan approvals sometimes failed to discharge their duties effectively due lack of fund.

The former NITP vice-chairman noted that the regulatory agencies sometimes failed to perform some inspections and documentation that were supposed to be carried out before and after a building plan approval was granted.

Adejumo said that the specifications of a building plan document were not always obeyed by developers due to lack of proper supervision by the responsible authorities that granted it.

According to him, the building laws and codes state that a building boundary must not be less than six meters away from the road and three meters away from the surrounding fence.

“The developer will observe the laws in the building architectural designs, applications and other documents submitted, and the approval plan will be granted to him or her.

“But on getting to the site, the developer will deviate from what he puts down on paper to build below the metres and rules which the law stipulate.

“This is why there is little or no parking space in almost all the compounds in Lagos.

“As a result, cars are parked along both sides of the roads and in the streets, contributing to traffic jams in Lagos metropolis,” he said.

Adejumo noted that the regulatory body or the town planners were supposed to inspect the site before and after the building plan was approved to ensure that the constructions were in conformity with the proposal and approved building plan.

“But the appropriate authorities most times fail to visit the site before approving the building plan, or even follow-up on the project after granting its approval.

“Most times, this is due to non-availability of official cars to convey them to the site, and also lack of other facilities that can make their job easier.

“Corruption is another factor that weakens the system, because some of the regulatory officials collect gratifications from the developers not to report accurately what they observed from the site,” Adejumo said.

The former NITP chief said there was need for proper development control in the state, suggesting that appropriate authorities and the town planners should be present at the site of any approved building project, right from its foundation.

He said the idea was to ensure that the designs and construction conforms with the approved plan and the area where the land was located.

Adejumo, therefore, urged the state government to continually empower the authorities handling building plan approval processes to enable them to discharge their duties efficiently.

Economy

Ondo govt cautions communities against destroying bitumen exploitation benefits

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The Ondo State government, on Wednesday, cautioned bitumen producing communities against committing any act of violence capable of destroying the benefit of bitumen exploitation.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the bitumen producing communities include Orisunmibare/Ilubinrun Camp, Ufara-Moraye (Araromi Obu), Ilubinrun/Ajayi Camp, Mile 2 Camp, Ogunmakin/Odomode Camp, Mulekangbo Camp and Agbabu.

Prof. Bayonle Ademodi, the state Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, gave the advice during an interactive session with bitumen host communities in Odigbo, Odigbo Local Government area of the state.

Ademodi assured the traditional rulers of the host communities that their views and opinions would be adequately captured and considered as the bitumen development process moved forward.

He added that it was in the interest of the communities to give maximum support to government and investors, who would bring in their funds to invest.

According to him, the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, is highly committed to peaceful exploitation of bitumen, saying that the cooperation of the host communities is of top priority.

“The present administration has been working relentlessly to ensure that bitumen is produced in the state and Mr Governor is intent on providing an enabling environment for every genuine investor to do their business in a very congenial atmosphere.

“Please join the efforts of the governor in all ramifications for the successful development of the bitumen resources,” he said.

The commissioner noted that government had been talking to the licensed bitumen companies operating in the state to play by the rules.

“The companies should ensure that provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, which provide for strict adherence to Community Development Agreement (CDA) and proper conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), are observed to the letter.

“The state government has taken it upon itself to ensure that people at the community level are not short-changed and made to suffer.

“At the ministry’s last meeting with the licensed bitumen companies on Oct. 16, the five local government chairmen within the bitumen belt of Ondo State were present.

“And I am pleased to inform you that the Chairman of Odigbo Local Government, Hon. Margaret Akinsuroju, was one of the five chairmen present and her contributions were far-reaching,” he said.

Ademodi recalled that similar interactive sessions had been successfully carried out in Irele and Okitipupa local councils to avoid unhealthy community/investors relationship.

The commissioner promised that their contributions would be critically assessed and factored into the bitumen development policy of the state.

He, however, said that nobody would give money to anybody, but that there would be opportunities for job and good infrastructure.

“There must be patience and cooperation, because there may be environmental challenges in the course of exploitation of the bitumen,” the commissioner said.

Similarly, Mr Ebenezer Ogunsanmi, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that the meeting was to know the host communities’ roles in ensuring peace and tranquillity in the exploration and exploitation of bitumen in the areas.

Ogunsanmi noted that development of bitumen would create employment opportunities for indigenous youths and provide good infrastructure to the communities by the bitumen investors.

He enjoined the communities not to create the impression that the state was not safe for investment.

Oba Rufus Akinrinmade, the Orunja of Odigbo kingdom, tasked the communities to shun sentiment and speculations, which were inimical to the exploitation exercise.

He urged them to be patient and allow peace to reign, as no investors would come to crisis-prone areas, adding all would benefit from the gains of the bitumen.

Mrs Margaret Akinsuroju, the Caretaker Chairman of Odigbo Local Government, said bitumen exploitation was a welcome development, urging the communities to be united and cooperate with the bitumen companies.

Mr Rashidi Giwa, a community leader from Olokuta and Mr Babatunde Oni, a graduate of mining geology, asked for equitable distribution of gains and benefits by the bitumen companies and the government.

According to them, cheating often orchestrates violence in any society.

Mr Kayode Zaccheaus, a youth representative from Odigbo council area, asked the bitumen companies and the government to give youths their dues and have listening ears, even as he pledged their cooperation and support.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Economy

NSE market indicators maintain positive position, up 0.14%

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Activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) maintained positive trend on Wednesday with crucial market indices growing further by 0.14 per cent.

Specifically, the market capitalisation inched by N18 billion or 0.14 per cent to close at N12.923 trillion against the N12.905 trillion achieved on Tuesday.

Also, the All-Share Index, which opened at 26,739.44, rose by 36.71 points or 0.14 per cent to close at 26,776.15.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks of Nigerian Breweries, Conoil, UBA, FBN Holdings and Access Bank.

Consequently, the Month-to-Date return increased to +1.60 per cent, while the Year-to-Date loss moderated to -14.81 per cent.

Commenting on market performance, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., said that the market would continue to experience mixed performance.

“We expect mixed performance to continue, profit-taking and repositioning in value stocks as market players digest the rising inflation and its impacts on investment returns,” Omordion said.

He said that the changing sentiments in expectation of improved liquidity as interest rates drop in the money market ahead of the MPC meeting should guide investors.

According to him, the current undervalued state of the market offers investors opportunities to position for short and medium-to-long-term.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the market breadth closed positive with 24 price gainers and price 10 losers.

Chams led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, appreciating by 10 per cent, to close at 33k per share.

LearnAfrica followed with a gain 9.48 per cent to close at N1.27, while Conoil increased by 9.47 per cent to close at N18.50 per share.

Cornerstone Insurance garnered 9.38 per cent to close at 70k, while NPF Microfinance Bank appreciated by 9.09 per cent to close at N1.20 per share.

Conversely, NASCON led the price losers’ chart in percentage terms with a loss of 5.72 per cent to close at N14 per share.

Lasaco Assurance followed with a decline of 3.57 per cent to close at 27k, while Wapic Insurance dipped by 2.86 per cent to close at 34k per share.

Unity Bank lost 2.78 per cent to close at 70k, while AIICO Insurance shed 2.74 per cent to close at 71k per share.

Meanwhile, the total volume of shares traded decreased by 32.22 per cent to 267.31 million valued at N3.05 billion in 4,074 deals.

Access Bank was the most traded stock with an exchange of 63.53 million valued at N643.70 million.

UBA followed with a total of 44.86 million shares worth N338.65 million, while Zenith Bank traded 24.09 million shares valued at N451.63 million.

FBN Holdings accounted for 16.82 million shares valued at N119.31 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank transacted 14.26 million shares worth N414.07 million.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni (NAN)

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Economy

Nigeria customs impounds 1,343 bags of foreign rice, others worth N492m, makes 6 arrest

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The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri said it impounded 1,343 bags of foreign rice and other contraband worth N492 million and made six arrest within the month.

The Area Controller of the Zone, Compt. Kayode Olusemire, made this known while displaying the seized items to newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday.

He said the contraband with Duty Paid Value of N492 million were seized by his men along Port HarcourtOwerri axis, while six suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items.

He said that two of the suspects had been given administrative bail.

He expressed regret that in spite of Federal Government’s efforts, through the Nigeria customs and other government agencies to combat smuggling, some individuals had remained adamant in shortchanging government’s revenue generation.

Olusemire said that most of the seized items had expired,  while others such as Analgin had been banned by the government and so are unfit for human consumption.

“Nigerians derive joy in perpetrating evil all in the intent to defraud the government and make more profits.

“The war against importation of foreign rice is not yet over. Nigerians should be encouraged to eat what is produced in the country. We can do this by stopping to patronise foreign rice.

“With technology, you can plant anything and it will grow. Depending on and patronising foreign-made goods is undermining the economy of the nation,” he said.

The area controller identified the seized items to include a 1* 40 ft container carrying 312 bales of used clothing, another 1 * 40 ft container with 1,182 cartons of Analgin injection and other items and a 1 * 40 ft truck with 233 cartons of foreign furniture.

He said the foreign furniture truck was seized due to wrong declaration made by the conveyor.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that other items seized are a truck containing 392 bags of 50kg foreign rice and 33 bales of second hand clothing, both with DPV of over N15.253 million.

A ttruck with 205 bags of 50kg foreign rice both valued at N7.95 million and another truck carrying 684 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N22.35 million.

Olusemire said the prohibited second hand clothing, furniture, rice and analgin were concealed with other unprohibited items such as granite to deceive the eagle eyes of the customs men.

He said that a Toyota Sienna car carrying 62 bags of 50kg foreign rice with a total DPV of N3.20 million were equally seized.

The customs officer described smuggling as an evil practice that had made the country’s industries moribond causing the Nigerian youths employment opportunities.

“There are so many ways smugglers operate. But we can only stop them, especially the rice smugglers by not patronising the foreign rice.

“We will continue to sensitise Nigerians untill the war against smuggling is won,’ he said.

Olusemire called on Nigerians to always provide useful information about activities of smugglers, stressing that the NCS was  better equipped and trained with wide spread tentacles to stop smugglers any how they decided to operate.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Economy

FEC approves €500m facility to finance industrialisation projects, MSMEs

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 500 million Euros loan to finance industrialisation projects and support Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) value chains in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba, disclosed this after the FEC meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to the minister, the loan will be secured from the the Credit Suisse AG London to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones and facilitate the creation of new jobs.

“Council today approved the issuance of a sovereign guarantee of 500 million Euros from the Credit Suisse AG London Branch and a syndicate of international lenders as collateral for 500 million Euros facility to the Bank of Industry.

“The loan is basically to finance major industrialisation projects and micro-small and medium enterprises value chains in Nigeria for up to five years tenure at affordable rates.

“These rates are single digit rates; the guarantor of the loan shall be the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its going to be executed through the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

“The main objective of the loan is to support industry; revitalise ago-industrial processing zones; to facilitate the creation of new jobs.

“We do believe that about 1.2 million jobs will be created through this facility; increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small holder producers in the industrial value chain and the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connect farming communities to processors and market,’’ he said.

Agba said that the loan would be swapped to Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria to mitigate the foreign exchange risk.

He said that the fund would, therefore, be available to Nigerian enterprises at a more affordable rate and in local currency.

On his part, the Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, said that the FEC approved a memo by the ministry seeking for the release 2 million dollars as part of Nigeria’s contribution to the West African Power Pool.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Economy

Build quality into your products, NAFDAC tells owners of SMEs

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday told a section of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) owners to invest more in quality during production.

The Director, Regulations and Registration, Dr Monica Eimunjeze, gave the advice at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Beauty West Africa (BWA) organised by BtoB Events in Lagos.

Eimunjeze, while speaking on ‘Product Registration and Government Regulations: The SME’s Survival Guide’, told participants that it was important to apply good manufacturing practice in production.

“It is absolutely important to apply Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in the production process, whether you are in cottage of micro scale.

“When you talk about testing, if you have got it wrong during your production process, no matter the number of times you get it tested, you cannot fix it.

“You cannot test quality into a product, you have to build quality into a product. The laboratory testing is just to make sure that the product is of quality.

“So, if you miss it during the production process, maybe you have over mixed something that should be less, we cannot fix it,” Dr Eimunjeze said.

She urged owners of SMEs not to patronise touts during the registration processes of their product.

Eimunjeze said that obtaining certification of a product went beyond obtaining the NAFDAC registration number, as there were routine checks to ensure the quality of the product was consistent.

The Chief Executive Officer, HealthPlus Limited, Mrs Bukky George, during her presentation on ‘We are Nigerians and Proud! Our Success Story and Brand’s Case Study’ said that entrepreneurs needed to adopt new technologies.

George said that entrepreneurs should intentionally grow their businesses, otherwise, the businesses would die.

“Technology is key to develop your business and to scale up your retail business too.

“Nigerians like to see others do a particular business and they all want to do the same, but you need to differentiate your business, there are too many ‘me too’ businesses.

“If you do not intentionally grow your business, it will die eventually. So, it is important to plan to be relevant always,” she said.

The Managing Director of BtoB Events, Mr Jimie Hill, said that the purpose of the exhibition and conference focusing on the beauty industry in Nigeria became relevant considering its huge market.

Hill said: “The Nigerian beauty market has been the most impressive and collective in terms of their hair and beauty products, natural products and comestics.

“The Nigerian beauty industry is worth around $4bn annually, so, it’s really exciting and impressive and we just really want to help facilitate that growth; it will grow on its own, but we want to create a platform for people to come together,” Hill said.

The organising partner, Mrs Tokunbo Chiedu, Chief Executive Officer of Compass Global, said that start-ups across Nigeria needed an interface with the rest of the world through exhibitions.

Chiedu said that the event would afford Nigerian beauty industry players the platform to grow their businesses and partner international brands.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the 2019 Beauty West Africa, organised by U.K based BtoB Events, was held in collaboration with two leading comestics brands, Lyla Blanc and Cantu Beauty from India and U.S.A respectively.

The exhibition, which started on Wednesday, will continue till Friday at the Landmark Event Centre, in Lagos.

Some 200 exhibitors are taking party in the event.

Edited by Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Economy

Border closure: Association calls for joint patrol between Nigeria, neighbouring coutries

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The Association of International Trade and Investment Promoters of Nigeria (AITIP of Nigeria), has called for a regular joint patrol and meetings between Nigeria and neighbouring countries to resolve issues that led to closure of Nigerian borders.

The Association made the call in a statement signed by its president, Prof. Kabiru Isa in Abuja on Wednesday.

Isa explained that there was the need for those countries that shared border with Nigeria to always discuss issues around border security, import and export of goods prohibited by each country.

He said with this was the best for all countries to strengthen brotherhood.

“The effort by the Federal Government to encourage consumption of locally produced items such as rice through the border closure is highly commendable.

“This step will protect and encourage local producers to continue to produce local brand of rice and the positive multiplier effect into the economy cannot be over emphasised,’’ he said.

He, however, said the decision to close filling stations around the border areas of 20kms distance had no doubt increased hardship to the existing hard times being experienced by those living around these communities.

According to him, the government can as well control the sale of these products in these areas by taking statistics of their daily or weekly requirements and allow only that quantity to be lifted from a particular designated marketer and delivered to those areas.

He added that this could be done with a very close supervision from an independent group and security agencies in order to safeguard against diverting the products.

“AITIP of Nigeria is ready to engage with relevant government agencies for further strategic discussions on the land borders closure matter and other international trade and investment issues in the best interest of the Nigerian economy and beyond.

“We believe that the present government would not want strategic issues to be exposed to the print or electronic media but prefer to discuss them at strategic meetings,’’ he said.

Isa further said the action by the Federal Government to close borders had no doubt had its consequences.

He noted that the worse hit by the border closure was the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which survival depended largely on importation or exportation of goods such as ginger, and sesame seed among others which passed their goods through these borders.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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