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How Diaspora Bonds Work and Benefits

Sometimes in 2017, Nigeria’s Former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun revealed the Federal Governments (FG) plans to launch a $300 million diaspora bond bid in March 2017. I knew a lot of people were confused. And, in order to help esteemed Nairametrics‘ readers, I took out time to develop this article. So what is a diaspora bond and how can you invest?

A diaspora bond is basically a government debt that is targeted but not limited to the nationals of the country that are living abroad. The idea is based on a presumption that because of emotional ties to their country of origin, expatriates may find investing in such products worthwhile, especially if they are financing development projects like infrastructure.

According to World Bank Migration and Remittances Fact-sheet 2016, 247 million people, or 3.4% of the world population live outside their country of birth. In 2015, $581.6 billion was remitted, of that figure, $431.6 billion went to developing countries. In the same year, Nigeria was the highest remittance receiving country in Africa and 6th highest in the world, receiving $20.8 billion. In 2018, the figure jumped to $25 billion, to remain Africa’s highest.

NIGERIA REMITTANCE 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Nigeria’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora said that in 2016 Nigeria recorded a massive increase receiving a total of $35 billion in remittances.

Most of the remittances are informal, meant for family and friends. Diaspora bonds provide the government with an opportunity to tap into the wealth of their diaspora community to fund national level development. In other words, governments can tap into capital markets beyond foreign direct investment, foreign investors and conventional loans to finance development.

This is particularly important during periods of economic downturns when other lenders may be reluctant. Policy makers, however, should not assume that this is a quick and easy way to raise capital. Many countries have launched bids but with varying levels of success. Israel and India have been the most successful till date, although both set up bonds for different purposes and in different ways.

ISRAEL INDIA DIASPORA BOND

Israel has issued diaspora bonds by the Development Corporation for Israel (DCI) since 1951 raising a total of $32.4 billion as at 2015. The bond was set up to finance development projects in various industries including energy and transport. On the other hand, India set up its bond to support their balance of payments and it has done this three times Indian Development Bonds in 1991 ($1.6 billion), Resurgent Indian Bonds in 1998 ($4.2 billion) and Indian Millennium Deposits in 2000 ($5.5) raising a total of $11.3 billion.

The bond issued by the DCI was listed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and thus, it was open to foreign nationals as well as the Diaspora of Israeli origin. Whereas India’s bonds were issued strictly to the Diaspora of Indian origin and were not listed in the SEC.

Israel-Diaspora Bonds were fixed, floating rate bonds with maturity periods ranging from one to twenty years and bullet repayment, with large financial incentives including making its interest rate slightly higher than US Treasury bills.

To make the bonds more accessible, the DCI set up retail agencies in the US and other countries. India, on the other hand, chose fixed rate bonds with five-year maturity and a bullet maturity. As financial incentives, the bonds were two percent higher than US Treasury bills and were exempt from Indian income and wealth tax.

The problem with Diaspora bonds

However, African countries like Ethiopia have had limited success. Its first bid the Millennium Corporate bid to finance a hydro-electric dam in 2008 was unsuccessful because take-up was low. Experts have opined that lack of trust of repayment were the key issues that deterred potential buyers.

[ALSO READ: A legal view of corporate taxation in Nigeria]

THE NIGERIAN STORY

Against the backdrop of falling oil prices and the loss of value of the naira, the diaspora bond bid may be a good alternative for Nigeria to raise much-needed funds to finance the huge infrastructure deficit. However, foreign investors exited the Nigerian market in 2015 because of unclear economic policies and lack of trust in the government financial management.

So the question is how well will the FG communicate with the Nigerian diaspora community to build enough trust so that people can invest in the bond? To tackle some of these issues, the FG has said the Debt Management Office will manage the bond.

BENEFITS

Using the March 2017 $300 million diaspora bond bid to illustrate the benefits derivable from Diaspora Bonds. While enumerating the returns on the bonds, the SSA on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Mrs Abike Dabiri noted that the bonds will have at least five to ten-year maturity and annual dividends between five to eight percent, which is higher than bank deposit which is within two percent.

As further financial incentives the Director General of the DMO, Dr Abraham Nwankwo said that the bonds are exempt from tax, could be used as collateral from borrowing from banks and discounts on the FG housing scheme.

Positives As NMRC Announces 2018 Financial Results

Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NMRC) has published its Annual Reports and Accounts for 2018 at its Annual General Meeting held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday.

The Chairman, Mr. Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), in his remarks noted that despite the challenging operating environment, NMRC had a good year in 2018. The Company’s Balance Sheet grew by 63% with refinanced loans portfolio growing by over 100% thereby positioning the company for sustained growth and profitability. Mr Candide Johnson further noted that the Company’s capital position remains strong and far in excess of the regulatory requirement in in view of the impending recapitalisation exercise within the financial services sector.

NMRC’s Managing Director, Mr Kehinde Ogundimu in his comments stated that 2018 was indicative of a positive performance for the company across all financial metrics. Mr Ogundimu further noted that the company improved in terms of its strategic positioning and witnessed growth in total assets from N42.54 billion in 2017 to N69.29 billion in 2018. While the company’s Mortgage Refinance Loan portfolio increased by 106% from N 8.23 billion in 2017 to N 17.02 billion in 2018. NMRC’s Gross earnings increased by 15% from N 6.160 billion in 2017 to N7.086 billion in 2018.Earnings per share decreased to N0.93 in 2018 from N1.04 in 2017.

 

In terms of operational efficiency, the company’s personnel expenses decreased by 8% to N0.82 billion in 2018. Other operating expenses decreased by 6% to N0.98 billion in 2018.

Profit before income tax decreased marginally by 0.5% from N1.945 billion in 2017 to N 1.935 billion in 2018 primarily due to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards No. 9 (IFRS 9).

The shareholders of the company passed all resolutions presented at the meeting.

NMRC is a CBN-licensed mortgage liquidity facility with the core mandate of developing the primary and secondary mortgage markets. NMRC raises long-term funds from the capital market for mortgage refinancing and by extension promotes affordable housing development and home ownership in Nigeria. NMRC was incorporated on 24th June 2013 and obtained its final license to operate as a non-deposit taking financial institution from the CBN on 18th February 2015.

Breaking: FCTA Demolishes Buildings on Lokogoma Waterways

The Federal Capital Territory Authority FCTA has commenced a demolition exercise in Lokogoma District of Abuja today.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration had two weeks ago given an ultimatum to residents of Ipent-5 Estate in Lokogoma District, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), whose buildings are along waterways and road corridors, to vacate the areas.

The FCT Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, gave the warning during an unscheduled visit to the estate, in Abuja. Mr Ohaa said that after the two weeks ultimatum, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would move in and demolish all structures along the waterways and road corridors.

He said that the buildings to be removed by the administration, after the ultimatum, are structures built on 20 meters from both sides of rivers.

At the expiration of the ultimatum, a task force team from FCTA began the demolition today at the affected areas.

Speaking exclusively to Housing News, Town Planner Muktar Galadima, Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA confirmed that the exercise was indeed to remove the buildings on water and service corridors.

According to him, there has been several meetings with the residents whom have also been served adequate notices. ‘’These buildings have been marked for demolition since 2017,’’ he said.

On whether there will be any compensation for affected property owners, Muktar Galadima said that compensation is only payable to any construction that was duly approved. ‘’But in this case, these constructions were not approved,’’ he revealed.

The marked buildings disrupting water flow are in IPENT, IPENT 2, and IPENT 5.

Lokogoma has been susceptible to flooding for many years now, leading to the death of at least 10 people including the loss of properties and valuables.

By Kesiena Omamogho

Private renters living in hazardous homes thanks to ‘weak regulations’, says Citizens Advice

Hundreds of thousands of tenants in England are living in hazardous homes with problems such mould or faulty fire alarms due to “weak and confusing” regulation, according to Citizens Advice.

The charity found that almost one in three tenants surveyed said their house did not have a carbon monoxide alarm despite requiring one. That equates to 900,000 homes across the UK.

Three-fifths of tenants identified disrepair in their home during the last two years that was not caused by them and that their landlord was responsible for fixing. One in six of those said the disrepair was a major threat to their health and safety.

Citizens Advice also polled landlords, finding widespread gaps in knowledge of their legal responsibilities to tenants.

A quarter of landlords failed to ensure that there was a smoke alarm on each floor of all of their properties.

Almost half (49 per cent) did not know they face a penalty of up to £5,000 for not checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The same proportion didn’t know the penalty for not carrying out a gas safety check.

“Too many private renters live in hazardous homes – often with potentially fatal flaws,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“Weak and confusing regulation means landlords can struggle to understand their legal obligations, while tenants find it hard to get problems in their homes resolved.

It suggests creating a home “MOT”, setting a “fit-and-proper-person” test for landlords and standardising rental contracts.

The government has made reforms in the private rented sector in recent years, such as laws to ensure all rented homes are fit to be lived in, banning most tenant fees, and proposed the abolition of “no-fault” section 21 evictions.

But Citizens Advice claims that renters still lack the power they need to ensure standards are consistent, and landlords and tenants lack the knowledge they need for standards to be upheld.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is truly alarming that so many private renters are living in homes which aren’t up to scratch and compromise their safety. A safe home is a basic standard that every renter has the right to expect.

“It’s critical that every landlord is aware of their responsibilities and stays in step with the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which sets out standards to keep renters safe.

“But if landlords don’t follow these rules, renters should be armed with the power to challenge their poor behaviour.

“That’s why the government’s planned ban on no-fault evictions must become law as quickly as possible, so that private renters can speak up about safety concerns without living in fear of a revenge eviction.”

Solving Nigeria’s 22 million Housing Deficit With The Blockchain

We have seen pockets of progress over the years with rising numbers of property listing companies and tech landlord-house-seekers intermediaries, but housing deficit continues to prevail in Nigeria.

Rising population, rapid urban migration and uncoordinated policy direction of the government are some of the critical factors deepening the housing gap. Because of the scale of this deficit, innovative investment solutions are all-important right now.

Nigeria’s housing deficit

The head of the federal mortgage bank in Nigeria, Ahmed Dangiwa, put the country’s present housing deficit at 22 million units; and the bulk of that is in urban areas — Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

As the urban population expands — almost half of the country’s population now live in urban areas — building additional units would require more than N6 trillion (US$16 billion) investment yearly. Of this, we can expect very little to come from government funding.

Nigeria's Housing Deficit

Crowdfund financing

Crowdfunding is a permissionless way of raising money. So far, the trend of pooling capital from several retail investors to finance a new or existing business venture has proven successful in Nigeria. The growth of AgricTech platforms has provided a template for other poorly funded areas of the country.

Thrive Agric, which crowdfunds investments for smallholder farmers, have funded more 14, 000 farmers with over ₦180 million ($500,000) raised in February, 2019 alone; and providing returns of up to 20 per cent for retail investors. Currently, there are up to ten different crowdfunding startups providing value in the agric space.

These platforms have unlocked an untapped financing opportunity for farmers who are mostly locked out of the Nigerian credit system and also lowered the investment threshold for many middle -class Nigerians who have been shut out of the capital market.

Real estate developers could also leverage this financing model. It won’t be a significant shift from the traditional model of most real estate projects: already, developers often raise capital from private investors to finance massive projects.

However, there are additional costs and risks with raising small amounts from 500, 000 retail investors rather than 50 high-net worth private investors, for instance. This is where blockchain startups could provide a unique value.

Tokenisation in real estate

Tokenisation on the blockchain makes it possible to represent ownership in a property on an open, distributed digital ledger. Simply, it means converting rights to an asset into a digital token.

Hypothetically, say an apartment of 50, 000 square metres cost N30,000,000. That can be converted into 500,000 tokens (a token representing 10 square metres).

These tokens can then be freely bought and sold on a designated platform. Every holder of the token becomes an investor/part-owner of the property, and would be entitled to a share of the profit when the property is sold.

I recently had a chat with Uba Nnamdi Chukwuebuka, the co-founder of one of the blockchain startups in the real estate industry solving the problem of lack of funds to build houses in Nigeria. HouseAfrica allows retail investors to own a small fraction of a home and also provides rent-to-own services.

Using the Waves Blockchain, it converts real housing assets into digital assets backed by a square meter of the house. The digital asset is called Square Meter Token (SQMT). 5 SQMT represents 1 physical square meter of the property.

“We are solving housing deficits and lack of funds to build these houses [bridging the housing deficit],” he told me.

Nigeria's Housing Deficit

“We are giving everyone access to fund real estate project and enjoy rental returns, sales profits and price appreciations. So you own house on your mobile via blockchain technology and make returns from a real house,” he explained.

The company raises funds for developers, who build these houses, they are then either sold or rented, and the revenues are shared with the co-owners. The projected return for the first project is about 38 per cent for 3 years.

Mr. Uba told me that they partnered with “an SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] approved trustee company that holds and protect our investors’ funds.” And Allianz Insurance insures the building projects.

Though blockchain is nascent and there are still few regulations around the industry, there are some apparent advantages to tokenising crowdfunded real estate projects.

Tokenisation creates liquidity

Liquidity is the ability to convert an asset into cash within a short period. Currently, to sell a property or land in Nigeria, it would likely take months to close a deal but with fractional real estate investing through blockchain technology, you could complete a transaction in minutes.

Cost reduction in processes

Cost is reduced by removing the administrative effort of record keeping and transaction reconciliation. The blockchain handles all that.

Other benefits include improved administrative efficiency and greater transparency.

What about protection for investors through regulations?

When it comes to regulation, it often follows innovation. When these blockchain startups successfully start raising funds for major projects in the country, regulatory bodies would definitely start applying appropriate measures to weed off companies that might want to defraud investors.

Like Mr. Uba Nnamdi told me, the regulation would “build up confidence among the investors” in a market plagued with pyramid schemes.

At the moment, the potential of the blockchain technology is not been tapped in the country. But through the cooperation of market participants, regulators and technologists, this new technology could yield significant results especially in the real estate sector.

US Expert, Debra Erb Leads Global Stakeholders to 13th AIHS High Calibre Conference for Learning, Networking

The 13th edition of Abuja International Housing Show will be presenting a big platform of learning and networking for all stakeholders in housing and construction from 23rd to 26th July 2019.

At this year’s edition, international housing expert, Debra Erb of Overseas Private Investment Corporation, USA, will lead a strong delegation of international investors and experts to Nigeria for an event that will have the most impact in the country’s housing and construction industry.

The show has been reckoned as the number one place for highest number of international experts in housing and construction, sharing their experience and knowledge on the best ways to finance affordable housing, mortgage and construction.

Over 30 speakers from at least 15 countries will be speaking at this year’s event. The speakers who are drawn from reputable institutions like mortgage banks, real estate companies, housing regulatory agencies, construction companies, housing finance firms etc. and from various countries including USA, UK, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, India, China, UAE, Ghana, Rwanda etc. will speak on this year’s theme which is; ‘’Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models in the Midst of Global Uncertainty.’’

Other expected global leaders include, Lew Shulman, CEO and Chairman of The Board, iBUILD Global Incorporated, USA; Kecia Rust, Executive Director and founder of the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF); Anders Lindquist, Founder and President, Business Development at EchoStone housing; Robert Hornsby, CEO of American Homebuilders of West Africa (AHWA); Olivia Caldwell, Principal at the Affordable Housing Institute (AHI); Mounia Tagma, Regional Manager, Affordable Housing Institute, Morocco, and many more.

The perennial challenge to affordable housing in many African countries including Nigeria is the lack of access to housing and construction finance. And with very high interest rates, lending is very expensive for developers. This year’s show will open doors of opportunity for developers, mortgage banks, investors and governments to access alternative and cheap finances for housing and construction projects.

For an ever evolving world of housing and construction, it is very important for stakeholders to stay ahead by exposing themselves to the kind of information and awareness that is available at AIHS.

From previous experiences, developers and investors have been able to key into numerous funding options that are presented at the show. This has led to the development of several housing estates and construction projects in the country.

The show also offers high level opportunity for professional networking. With high calibre attendants from all over the world, participants will be able to network among the crowd, establish new contacts and advance their individual and corporate business opportunities.

A lot of professionals and corporations have been able to expand their business network, engagements and relationship with other brands as a result of the networking opportunity provided by Abuja International Housing Show.

As a cross section of international dignitaries and companies, a lot of high level clients are introduced to other business with unique products and initiatives in the housing, finance and construction industry.

This year’s Show will be declared open by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, GCON. Other distinguished personalities gracing the occasion includes state governors, foreign ministers and ambassadors; permanent secretaries and directors of ministries; members of national assembly; state commissioners of land and housing; public and private sector CEOs; foreign investors and many more.

All stakeholders and participants are encouraged to take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn new things and engage in professional networking that can change the fortune of their careers and businesses. The international show which will start with a CEOs Forum will start on 23rd of July, 2019, at International Conference Centre, Abuja. Visit www.ihs2019.org for more.

Welcome to AIHS 2019

The Abuja International Housing Show is thrilled to welcome you to the 13th edition of Africa’s biggest event in housing and construction. The Show recognises your invaluable participation in this historic event and is excited to make you feel most welcome.

With over 40, 000 participants every year, Abuja International Housing Show is widely acknowledged as the prime destination for global stakeholders in housing and finance for impact conferences, panels, policy development, product exhibition and making of sales.

Among others, there will be elite conferences like the CEOs Forum and International Housing Finance Conference geared towards the unravelling of latest approaches to housing and construction finance; dealing with perennial challenges to affordable housing; proposing alternative finance models; encouraging wide sector collaboration and advancing the sector in general.

Over 30 speakers from at least 15 countries will be speaking at this year’s event. The speakers who are drawn from reputable institutions like mortgage banks, real estate companies, housing regulatory agencies, construction companies, housing finance firms etc. and from various countries including USA, UK, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, India, China, UAE, Ghana, Rwanda etc. will speak on this year’s theme which is; ‘’Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models in the Midst of Global Uncertainty.’’

This year presents countless opportunities like networking; making of sales; b2b meetings; launching of new products; market exploration; investors’ dinner; Nigeria Housing Awards Dinner, and many more.

To enable you keep up effectively with what is going on, to enjoy all conference benefits and to join our growing community, make sure you download the AIHS mobile app on goggle store.

On behalf of the highly respected members of AIHS advisory board, we enjoin you to make the most of your time here. Establish new partnerships, learn new things and make sales. We wish you safe journey to and from AIHS 2019.

Abuja housing show to attract over 20,000 participants from 15 countries

All is now set for the 13th edition of Africa’s biggest expo – Abuja International Housing Show – scheduled to take place in July. The expectations for this year’s edition are very high as over 20, 000 participants have confirmed participation, the organisers said in a statement.

 

The expectations for this year’s edition are very high as over 20, 000 participants have confirmed participation, the organisers said in a statement. ADVERTISEMENT As the biggest platform for product exhibition, over 400 local and international exhibitors are expected to showcase their latest products and innovations to their clients and buyers who are ever attracted by the incomparably cheap bargains available at the show. Participants, according to the statement, will cut across at least 15 countries including USA, UK, UAE, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, India and China. There will also be a high level delegation of international diplomats and foreign ministers of works and housing including Ghana’s Samuel Atta Akyea.

Abuja International Housing Show is a choice destination for those seeking relevant and up-to-date information about housing, construction, mortgage, investments and real estate management. There will be at least 30 local and international speakers who will be sharing their knowledge and experience around this year’s theme, ‘Driving Sustainable Housing Finance Models In The Midst of Global Uncertainty’, a testament to how it continues to be an invaluable experience for building professionals in Nigeria and across the globe.

JUST IN: Another building collapses in Lagos

A building has collapsed in the densely populated Oshodi area of Lagos.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning at 35, Adesanya Street, Mafoluku.

Owolabi Odufuwa, a witness who passed through the area Sunday afternoon, told PREMIUM TIMES he saw seven people removed from the pile of rubble.

They have been taken to the hospital, the witness said.

Lagos State first responders have arrived at the neighbourhood to cordon off the scene in the aftermath, witnesses said.

A spokesperson for the police in Lagos did not immediately answer or return calls seeking comments.

Buildings around Lagos have long been identified as prone to disasters, especially because many were constructed without due permission from the town planning office.

At least 10 building collapses have been recorded in the state in the last 12 months, including one that killed about 20 people, including schoolchildren, in Lagos Island in March

The deal that helped Lafarge stock gain 18% in less than a week.

Embattled Cement Industry giant, Lafarge Africa (Nigerian listed) was among the top best stocks for the week ended June 23, 2019, gaining an impressive 18.46%.  Lafarge Africa has been down by over 20% YTD and over 70% in the last year.

What happened? During the week, the company informed the stock market that it had reached an agreement to spin off its loss-making South African entity. The deal is expected to wipe off the company’s foreign currency debt which is incidentally owed to its parent company Lafarge Holcim. The news played favourably with investors, helping the company’s shares to rally by 18.4%.

The deal, in a nutshell, will see Lafarge Africa agree to sell its South African Subsidiary to Caricement (a subsidiary of Lafarge Holcim) for a purchase consideration $316.2 million. However, the amount will be used to pay off existing loans of about $293 million plus accrued interest.

  • Shareholders of Lafarge will not be expecting any major cash windfall from this transaction as the purchase consideration will be used to set off Lafarge Africa’s foreign currency debt.
  • However, clearing the debt helps strengthen Lafarge’s balance sheet which has over the years been marred by dwindling sales and increasing losses from its South African entity.
  • Lafarge Africa can then use part of its unencumbered cash flows to finance news investments especially building modern and cost-efficient cement plants that can compete with BUA and Dangote Cement.
  • The deal appears positive for Lafarge Africa Shareholders as they will not have to write off their investment in the South African entity which they opine will cost them about N70 billion in impaired losses.

 

What next: Lafarge has reported falling profits for the last 5 years posting losses in both 2017 and 2018 respectively. For example, while the Nigerian entity posted a profit of N38.6 billion in 2018 (2017: N30.1 billion) compared to South Africa losses of  N13.7 billion 2018 (2017: N22.2 billion). It reported profits in the first quarter of 2019 on the back of lower net interest cost.

With the South African entity out of the way, Lafarge Africa can focus on growing its Nigerian entity and competing in a market dominated by Dangote Cement and fragmented along regional lines.

Shareholders will expect to see a steady rise in the share price of Lafarge which at Friday’s closing price of N11.5 is still far from its 5 year high of N107.

This transaction also underscores how critical the Nigerian market is when compared to its sub-Saharan counterparts. Despite the prevailing harsh economic conditions and slowing GTB, most sectors are still able to post strong operating profit margins.

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