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Wooing Chinese Investors For Greater Lagos

>Last week, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu returned from China where he led some cabinet members on an investment drive. During the trip, Sanwo-Olu held talks with investors, financial institutions, multilateral bodies, institutions and government agencies in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing for collaboration towards the actualisation of the “Greater Lagos Agenda.” JOSHUA BASSEY examines what transpired.

With an estimated 22 million people, Lagos obviously stands out as the most populous city, not only in Nigeria but also on the African continent.

With the huge population comes the challenges of provision of infrastructure, traffic and waste management, transportation, employment, security, among other urban-related issues that continue to put immense pressure on governance.

Across the world, governments are seeking collaborations with investors to meet the growing needs of the people.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is no stranger to such developments. Since assumption of office six months ago, Sanwo-Olu has made relentless efforts to attract local and foreign investors in the quest to address the challenges associated with the burgeoning population of the megacity state. His election seemed to have boosted global confidence in the capacity of Lagos to realise its potentials as one of Africa’s leading economies.

Into the elections that heralded him into office, he preached T.H.E.M.E.S, an acronym for his government’s programme. T.H.E.M.E.S, which stands for Traffic Management & Transportation, Health & Environment, Education & Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment & Tourism as well as Security & Governance, is a dashboard created for driving and measuring the Greater Lagos Agenda of his administration.
Beyond being a development framework for the government, it is also an accountability guide for the public. With T.H.E.M.E.S Sanwo-Olu has signalled the capacity to keep global attention on Lagos State quite positive, hence the trip to China where he displayed the audacity for his agenda.
The quest to turn Lagos into a 21st-century economy is one of the critical elements of Sanwo-Olu’s agenda. He also knows that a functional city supports business growth. With this awareness, the governor is reaching out to more developed economies and societies for models and supports for building Lagos.

Building Strategic Alliances

While in China, Sanwo-Olu reached out to his counterpart, Ma Xingrui, the governor of China’s Guangzhou Province on a Twin City Agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou Province.
What Lagos is to Nigeria, Guangzhou is to China. Therefore, there is a strong fit in the collaboration between the two cities. With 44.2 million people in its metro area, Guangzhou is the biggest city in China and has remained an important port in southern China for centuries.
Sanwo-Olu’s choice of Guangzhou for a twin-city partnership with the province which is acknowledged as the commercial centre of China could be as a result of his admiration of its Beta+ Global Global City ranking, and perhaps because the intensity of Ma Xingrui’s headache doubles his, judging by the size of Lagos population, estimated at 22 million people.
The partnership agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou is a deliberate step for Sanwo-Olu. He stretched his hands across the Atlantic to understand why some cities routinely attract the best companies, the top talent, and the most investment dollars.
Although his experience may have revealed that presence of the right mix of factors such as business activities, human capital, information exchange, political engagement, and positive experiences that help organisations and people to thrive makes one city more attractive than the other.

The Lagos Smart-City Agenda

From the Guangzhou Traffic Management Centre, managing the entire vehicular traffic and emergency management services are just a click of buttons. The orderliness on the roads of Guangzhou, a city with a major terminus on the silk road, perfectly matches the picture of Sanwo-Olu’s ideal Lagos.
The tour, after a demonstration of responsiveness to distress calls by emergency agencies, triggered an action that will make Lagos smarter. With about seven million people in five million vehicles and 200 commercial buses on Lagos roads daily, the governor must have reasoned that things must be handled differently to bring orderliness to Africa’s most populous city.
At the discussion about transforming Lagos into a smart city and collaboration with leading technology giants, Huawei and Ehang, as well as some reputable urban development organisations, including Zhuhai Holding Investment Group, the socio-economic importance of Lagos to the world, and Africa in particular, was the central point.
“We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public,” said Sanwo-Olu while assuring the companies of the readiness of Lagos State to take its rightful place in the comity of megacities by transforming into a smart city.
Even though Sanwo-Olu signalled to the potential partners that Lagos State Government may not have the big cheques to sign for the total transformation, now, he nevertheless informed them that “it is a journey we know will take us into the future we really should be as Africa’s most populous city and 7th largest economy.”
He assured that the “vitality of our 22 million people and political stability are valid collateral that should provide comfort in the collaboration we are seeking.”
One of the companies, Huawei, which has an impressive footprint in smart-city development in South Africa, Dubai and across Asia said through the head of its Nigeria office, Eric Zhang while taking the governor and team on a tour of the company’s  campus in Shenzhen, with the company’s global vice president, Enterprise Business Group, Laurent Fan, vice president, Government & Public Utility, David Zhang and, global public safety expert, Peter Goulding, said that “Huawei is excited that Lagos State is planning digitisation of its assets, processes, operations and public service facilities”.
“I am familiar with Lagos State and I know that the state needs this transformation and is capable of embarking on it. As someone who is very familiar with Nigeria and Lagos State especially, our company, Huawei is ready to work with Lagos on the transformation journey. I know that transforming Lagos into smart city is an exercise that will happen in phases, but the most important requirement is the government’s commitment, which you have demonstrated”, he added.
Likewise, the Ehang,the China-based world’s leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company’s delegation led by Shiny Biu, the company’s director, Strategic Cooperation said “the company is ready to partner with the state and is open to discussing the appropriate models that will fittingly serve the goals of the two parties”.
With Ehang, the governor thinks that “like other megacities in the world, Lagos State is still faced with some challenges that will require a very innovative solution. For instance, emergency situations will require an urgent and speedy response, just as when there are security challenges because the safety of lives and property are very important to our government”.
This may mean that Sanwo-Olu is considering collaboration in urban air mobility, including passenger transportation and logistics, smart city management and aerial solutions because Ehang is the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility industry.

Trade, Investment & Industry

To keep Lagos ahead and sustain its status as a foremost economy in Africa, the state needs to leverage its influence to attract quality investments, global businesses and large scale enterprises. Even though its GDP of $136 billion and nominal per capita income of about $5,000 suggest the prosperity of the state, indicators are unequivocal about the fact that the state is yet to maximise its potentials.
Perhaps this realisation may be Governor Sanwo-Olu’s push and propelling force. Hence, his methodical knock on Chinese investors’ doors to make Lagos the home of their businesses.  In China, he met and invited two Fortune 500 companies to locate plants and operations in Lagos State.
“As you know, Lagos is the largest city in Africa with a population of over 22 million people and the state economy is 7th largest on the continent of Africa. The state is central for easy distribution of products and a fertile ground for recruiting highly skilled workforce that will help further the innovation for which Gree Electric Appliance is globally reputed”, he told the company’s leadership, adding that “we are the major driver of Nigeria’s fifteen places improvement on the World Ease of Doing Business Index, and we will continue to drive the process for continual ascension of Nigeria on the index”.
The company expressed gratitude for the invitation, and interpreted the opportunity to expand into Lagos as a channel to increasing its share of the air-conditioning market to the region of 35% and annual production capacity from of residential air-conditioners (RAC) and central air-conditioners (CAC) from more than 60 million and 5.5 million sets respectively.
Like the Zhuhai-based Electric Appliances Inc., Gree, the board of Guangzhou Automobile Company (GAC Motors Group), led by Zeng Qihong as chairman, expressed willingness to come into the African market through Lagos.
Board members at the meeting include Feng Xingya, president, GAC Automobile Groups, Zhang Yuesai, director-general, Yu Jun, director-general of International Business and Kamel Zheng, regional sales director, African Region, and Zeng Qihong, the Group’s chairman who said: “the Group is considering expanding strongly into international markets”.
“With the governor’s invitation, we are quite confident and encouraged that coming to Lagos will be exciting. We will look into the process of establishing an operation in Lagos after our international business department has visited to carry out a visibility study of the market. But we are optimistic about coming to Lagos because of the market size and the significance of the economy to Africa” said Qihong.
It is anticipated that GAC Motors operations in Lagos will contribute to the development of the state’s economy and encourage technology transfer between the Chinese and Lagosians.  GAC Group is ranked 189 on the list Fortune 500 companies, with total revenue for 2018 being $53 billion and profit standing at $10 billion.
It is believed that when companies like GAC Motors and Gree Electric Appliance come to Lagos, they will contribute to the growth of the state’s economy and encourage technology transfer to the local economy.

Infrastructure Development

In a move to address the infrastructure deficits that have held down Lagos from its envisioned greatness, the state has started making impressive efforts that will make roads smoother, connections easier with bridges in the right places, address housing deficit through disciplined urban development programmes and ease intra-city community with the introduction of a multi-modal transportation system.
When all these are fully delivered, Lagos will be a beautiful example of what African’s can make of their continent. The anxiety to address extant infrastructural gaps was noticeable in Governor Sanwo-Olu’s interactions with development partners and multilateral agencies in China.
In Beijing, at the headquarters of the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC)), the governor who attended a project review meeting with a leading political figure and chairman of CRCC), Chen Fenjian, listed projects Lagos State would require collaboration and investments from the Chinese corporations to build to completion.
“In Lagos State, we have a number of projects that we are putting on the table for you to consider even though their award will be via a competitive and rigorous bidding process that will guarantee that the projects are delivered to specifications and in a timely manner too”.
“These projects include the construction of the 4th Mainland Bridge in Lagos, our railway projects – Blue Line, Redline, Yellow Line and Purple Line, the Lekki Free Trade Zone access road, water, power and urban development projects across the state,” said Sanwo-Olu.
Also, at a different engagement with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the company working on the Lekki Deep-sea Port, which upon completion may contribute 70% of Lagos State GDP, Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasised the importance of the 4th mainland bridge to the government and people of Lagos State.
“Construction of the 4th mainland bridge is extremely important to our government because of the positive effect it will have on our lifestyle and Lagos economy,” said Sanwo-Olu.

Waste Management

Amidst the drive for functional infrastructure, industrial development and social security, Lagos still has its eyes on maintaining an ecologically balanced environment.
Even though this indication has emerged severally in the governor’s interactions with urban development corporations pitching their impressive footprints in Macao, Hong Kong and Hengquin for replication in Lagos, the discussion with Dyna Green Group, a Beijing-based company dedicated to the industry of recycling economy and renewable energy, affirmed the state government’s commitment to environmental cleanliness and ecological balance.
Muyiwa Gbadegesin, managing director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) let out the impression that the agency must have found an operational model in the activities of Dyna Green in their discussion of investment and construction, operation and management, technology development and supply of the core equipment. The scope of the bilateral talks also covered the processes for the treatment of urban household waste and medical waste, as well as providing the overall solution for urban waste treatment.
“This model and partnership will pretty work well for Lagos State. We generate about 14,000 metric tonnes of waste daily, which aside from when taking off the streets contributes to wellbeing, could also bring forth energy and other useful by-products if recycled”, said Gbadegesin.
Over the past three months, the state waste management strategy appeared to have undergone revival with the introduction of several initiatives and new waste-evacuation plan. Similarly, the government is looking to commission a recycling plant, and continue with overhauling of the transfer loading plants to strengthen the capacity of the agency to keep the streets of Lagos clean.
However, with the combination of population, income and urbanisation, Lagos will need a more sustainable approach to its waste management. The meeting of these elements in a fast-growing city and economy like Lagos compels a holistic waste management regime.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

With the array of needs that the Lagos State governor confronted investors, development partners, lending agencies and financial institutions with, one may begin to think about the capacity of the state treasury to execute limitless number of projects.
On the contrary, the state has awakened a collaborative model between investors and the government to foster its development initiatives and ideas. Inquest to sustainably build a greater Lagos, the government has revived its PPP model.
“We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public” Sanwo-Olu informed the investors.
Most importantly, the contributions of the state to Nigeria’s notching 15 places higher on the Ease of Doing Business Index is a testament to the efforts of the current government to make the state an attractive destination to investments, a notion reinforced by an extract “In Lagos, commerce is our mainstay” published by the state in the Friday, November 22, 2019 edition of the Financial Times of London’s Invest in Nigeria Report.
As Africa’s most significant sub-national government, boosting of a GDP of $136 billion, which is bigger than the economies of 46 countries and population size of 22 million, which makes Lagos the most populous city on the African continent, the state surely needs to grow sustainably.
The PPP model, therefore, may be a catapult that will take Africa’s 7th largest economy beyond its present position and help effect a greater growth above 4% expected in 2019.  Like other megacities, Lagos State has identified its social challenges and pursued the opportunities in their resolution through credible and dependable partnerships.
Like Governor Sanwo-Olu, the state commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, is optimistic that Lagos is walking the path of faster growth and development.
“Yes, we have some social challenges, but therein are opportunities for growth, prosperity, development. T.H.E.M.E.S offers a glimpse of openings for investors to sow into our fertile economy because it is our path to becoming greater”, said Omotosho.

Projects Funding

There is an unmistakable sense that every letter of the acronym T.H.E.M.E.S is an investment opportunity in the thriving economy of Lagos judging by the government’s unfolding plans and engagement of the international investment community since May 29, 2019, when it assumed office.
However, the government, notwithstanding limited resources, is expected to have its skin in the game. For the large-scale investments in infrastructure development, industry establishment and power, investors’ dollar is expected to find succour in government’s cent, beyond the state guarantee.
Accordingly, Sanwo-Olu presented areas of intervention and projects to the China Development Bank, which granted $629 million loan for the Lekki Deep-sea Port construction, China Exim Bank that has provided over 60% of funding for Chinese companies executed projects in Nigeria, maybe in the region of $38 billion and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (SinoSure), the risk management leg of Chinese government’s investment outflow to creditors ahead of the Lagos projects.
As Nigeria’s most significant sub-national government and a major economy in Africa, the state of affairs in Lagos remains a major point of interest to stakeholders across the globe.
The centrality of Lagos to economies in the African sub-region and her place as one of the largest cities in the world are some of the reasons the state remains on the world’s lens.
Indeed, the world has been worried about the seeming lack of direction to take the state to a premium position on the socio-economic map of the world.
But Sanwo-Olu is selling his vision for a greater Lagos with vigour and commitment. His attitude in propagating his plans for the state, oftentimes, provides a peep into his heart of good intentions and purpose. Though a politician, he has come to public service with candour, and without a doubt, the journey to actualising the greater Lagos vision is on track.
Source: businessdayng

Sanwo-Olu: We’ll Improve Infrastructure for Business

• Switzerland envoy visits governor

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured the business community that the government will improve infrastructure communities around industrial zones.

He said amenities that would enhance business growth would be put in place.

Sanwo-Olu spoke yesterday at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja during a visit by Switzerland Ambassador George Steiner and board members of the Swiss-Nigeria Business Council.

He said his government would build up the relationship between the state and Swiss companies, adding that he hoped to make the state a last destination for Swiss businesses.

The governor said: “I believe your trip will further reinforce and signpost to other companies that we are ready and we can collaborate for good. One of the things we are doing is to make the business environment in Lagos accessible.

“Something we’re continuously talking about is that we can make doing business here a lot better.
“We are building transportation, building infrastructure and reinforcing our security agencies to ensure Lagos is secure for all of us.

“We want to reassure you that our administration looks forward to opportunities that will foster our relationship with Swiss companies. We want to see how we can grow the number of Swiss companies in Lagos and make the state a destination of choice for them. Lagos is ready for Switzerland.”

Steiner thanked Sanwo-Olu for committing time and effort to make the Lagos business environment firm and attractive to foreign and local business owners.

He emphasised on the importance of Lagos market to Switzerland, stressing that “we are making efforts to expand our presence for the benefit of Lagosians.”

Steiner said: “I believe we have an excellent relationship with this country, Lagos, most of all. We will like to create wealth for the benefit of Swiss companies and of course, the benefit of a greater Lagos. Lagos especially is an important market for us.

“In view of strengthening our presence, we set up a Swiss-Nigeria Business Council in 2017. My visit to Mr. Governor is a strong sign to determine to do more for Swiss companies and most importantly, Lagos.”
Also present during the visit were Deputy Governor Obafemi Hamzat, Consul-General of Switzerland and some members of the Executive Council of Lagos State.

Source: thenationonlineng

South Africa to Collaborate With Nigeria to Build Road Infrastructure

Mr Hulisani Makhuvha, of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has said that the bank would collaborate with the Nigerian Government to build road infrastructure in the country.

He said this while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Abuja on the sideline of a conference of Nigeria-South Africa Intergraded Road Transport Infrastructure Initiative. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was to launch a road infrastructure programme for the West African region and ultimately integrate the African continent.

The event is a collaborative initiative between the DBSA and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on how to fashion a transport and logistics infrastructure agenda for West African region. DBSA, established to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development and improve the quality of life of the people in South Africa, is a development finance institution wholly owned by the South African Government.

Makhuvha noted that because Nigeria and South Africa were the biggest economies on the Africa continent, there was need for both countries to increase their collaboration and work together to build road network on the continent. “We are going to look at possible ways of collaborating within the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) space, working with ICRC and the Nigerian government.

“We will look at opportunities and how we can collaborate with the Nigerian government; our mandate is driven primarily by how much is required to build roads basically. “So we cannot say upfront that we are coming with investment, we need to first understand and access what projects are out there in the country and how we can participate,“ he said. Makhuvha added that this would however be guided as the bank continued with the engagements on the way forward. Earlier, Mr Chidi Izuwah, Managing Director ICRC, said the importance of a good road network in the development of ever economy could not be underscored.

Izuwah said road does not only connect and integrates, but facilitates supply chains and enhances a nations competiveness index. “Road has a transformational effect primary to technology or any other contemporary development programme. “Road creates jobs and catalyses factors of production, road appreciates land value capture for funding infrastructure,“ he said He expressed optimism that participants which were drawn from some African countries would learn from history, not just case studies of success stories but challenged successes.

This, Izuwah added would teach participants how not to structure bad projects, saying that ICRC had made some significant contributions to the delivery of PPP in the country. He further added that the event and others to come were indicative of ICRC`s drive to collaborate with the rest of Africa to make PPP delivery an integrative process. He told participants that ICRC had hosted a PPP project screening roundtable sponsored by AfreximBank to build first mover project pipeline for their project preparation.

“Am happy to announced to you that ICRC has been appointed by AfreximBank as the clearing house in Nigeria for all prospective federal and sub-national PPP projects that may require project development funding. “At the same event ICRC has screened 11 PPP projects valued at over $10 billion out of over 30 across federal and sub-national MDAs, “Izuwah said. NAN further reports that the event was organised by ICRC in partnership with Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Source: Vanguardng

China Pledges to Invest in Nigeria’s Infrasrtucture, Deepen Bilateral Relations

Mrs Guo, Cui Duo, Vice President of Hebei Federation of Industry and Commerce, China, has promised to partner Nigeria through investment in infrastructure to deepen relations between both countries.

Duo said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the business and investment forum for investors from Hebei Province of China on Monday in Abuja.

The event titled “Attracting Investors for Nigeria’s Development” was organised by Zvecan Consulting Engineering Ltd in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and China Foreign Trade Park Ltd.

Duo commended mutual relations between Nigeria and China while describing Nigeria as a `strategic partner’ to the Chinese province in terms of trade and investments.

According to her, it is key for both China and Nigeria to keep contact and to further strengthen trade cooperation between them.

Duo said, “In recent years the relationship between President Xi Jinping and President Muhammadu Buhari, have continued to foster growth in bilateral relations between China and Nigeria.

“China and Nigeria are the most populous and largest economies in Asia and Africa respectively and both countries have respect for development.

“Both countries have significant number of agreement on trade, economic and technological cooperation and have established joint status for trading and cultural exchanges.

“The main purpose of our visit is to further develop bilateral policies on the Belt and Road, to explore new platforms for cooperation and shared future between China and Africa.”

In separate interviews, Amb Maryam Katagum, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, underscored the need for partnership between Nigeria and Chinese investors, to boost the economic development.

The minister, represented at the event by Mrs Olukemi Arodudu, Director, Trade and Investment Promotion Department, said that the forum was to deepen bilateral relations between Nigeria and China.

Katagum said, “The purpose of the forum is to provide a platform for visitors from Hebei Province in China to meet Nigerian governments and business community with a view to forming alliances.

“It is pertinent Nigeria is one of the largest trading partners with China in Africa and we are seeking deeper cooperation on investments in critical infrastructure to sustain economic growth.

“I therefore, note that we have in our midst today, investors who have signified interest to invest in non-oil sectors like automobiles, real estate, solar-power, mineral resource development and agriculture.

“This signifies the fact that China is also ready to partner with Nigeria in our aspiration for inclusive economic growth and development.

“The gaps in the Nigerian infrastructural sectors are huge investment opportunities for the discerning investor and we are inviting our Chinese friends to consider investment in infrastructure.”

In another interview, Mr Nicholas Ogbedo, Managing Director of Zvecan Ltd said that the programme sought to encourage governments and private sectors partnership to promote nation building.

According to him, the investors’ forum is a Public Private Partnership initiative designed to alleviate poverty, diversify economy, create jobs and tackle economic challenges facing Nigerian.

Ogbedo said, “We have realized the challenges facing Africa and Nigeria in particular; when we visited China, they agreed on how they can cooperate with us.

“To solve economic problems and as well create means of economic diversification, we have 27 companies from China who are going to engage in different sectors.

“Their investment packages are in line with the Economic Recovery Plan of the Federal Government.”

NAN reports high point of the event was power point presentation on investment potentials in Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, Edo states and signing of MoU between Hebei investors and the state governments.

(NAN)

World Bank Decries Nigeria’s Inadequate Digital Infrastructure

The World Bank Group has ranked Nigeria as the largest mobile market in sub-Saharan Africa but bemoaned the poor infrastructure and connectivity in the country’s rural areas.

The bank disclosed this on Thursday when it launched its first Nigeria digital economy diagnostic report, during an e-summit hosted by the government.

The report said, “Although Nigeria is the largest mobile market in sub-Saharan Africa with a strong mobile broadband infrastructure and a vibrant digital entrepreneurial ecosystem, the lack of infrastructure and connectivity in the country’s rural areas is a key challenge.”

It noted that the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan for 2017–2020 recognised the need for a digital-led strategy to make the nation’s economy more competitive for the 21st century.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “Realising the full benefits of the digital economy requires Nigeria to focus on accelerating improvements in five fundamental pillars of the digital economy: digital infrastructure, platforms, financial services, entrepreneurship and skills.

“To ensure that the country is digitally enabled by 2030, investing in infrastructure to bridge the digital divide and creating an enabling regulatory environment for the digital economy to thrive is of paramount importance.”

In line with this goal, the report revealed that the country had made several positive developments in the digital space including high-speed Internet via five underwater international links.

It said this had significantly reduced constraints in terms of international bandwidth usage and prices as well as boosting network capacity.

The report said Nigeria was improving on the provision of digital platforms, adding that the government created a central portal to improve the delivery and quality of public services.

With the size of Nigeria’s economy, the report highlighted the enormous opportunities digital financial services, a driver of financial inclusion, could present to the growing market.

It said the financial sector had already benefitted from investments in payment systems and financial markets infrastructure, such as the Bank Verification Number.

“Millions of Nigerians still lack formal identification records to access a range of public and private services. Financial inclusion in the country has effectively stalled with around 60 million Nigerian adults without access to a formal account,” the report added.

Source: punchng

Fashola Pledges Commitment to Jobs Creation, Infrastructural Development

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola has declared that the Ministry is strategizing towards playing a vital role in supporting President Mohammadu Buhari’s determination to create 10 million jobs for Nigerians, especially for the teeming youths.

He made the declaration today at the 25th meeting of the National Council on Works in Calabar, Cross River State. The theme of the Council Meeting is ‘’Infrastructure as the pathway for prosperity’’ which according to him was carefully chosen to address the complex issues of road infrastructure development in the country with the view to proffering tangible solutions to some of the problems in Nigeria, thereby giving the good people of Nigeria qualitative services they deserve.

Fashola who was ably represented by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu maintained that it behoves on all Stakeholders in the Works sector to find new enduring possibilities on how to establish the link between infrastructure development and job creation, poverty alleviation and empowerment of the informal sector in ensuring that the 10 million jobs target for the next ten years by Mr. President was achieved.

The Minister disclosed that his Ministry would effectively collaborate with other relevant agencies saddled with similar responsibilities of monitoring, maintenance and survey of roads network in Nigeria with the view to develop them to the desired standard.

He commended the Government and the people of Cross River State for providing a safe and conducive environment for the 25th Meeting of the National Council on Works and hosting the prestigious annual International Calabar Carnival event which according to him has made the ancient city, not only a global home for entertainment but also a veritable economic hub to reckon with in South- South Nigeria.

In his address, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Prof. Ben. Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu urged the Federal Road Maintenance Agency to rise up to the challenge of road maintenance. ‘’We have thrown overboard our maintenance culture, let us revive our road maintenance culture, let us maintain the roads so that the failing path will not expand the more’’ he said.

While commending the Management and staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, and all the Stakeholders in the Works Sector for considering his state worthy to host the 25th Meeting of the National Council on Works, Ayade called on Federal Government to reconstruct the failed highways in his State with concrete , adding that the Ikom, Itu, Bakasi and Katsina-Ala highways were vital and of Scio- economic importance to Cross River State in particular and Nigeria in general.

How Nigeria, Others Can Tackle $170b African Infrastructure Needs – Stakeholders

NIGERIA and other African countries need greater regional and cross-border integration as well as cooperation to bridge the continent’s infrastructure needs put at between $130–$170 billion a year.

African leaders and other stakeholders stated this at the ongoing 2019 Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week holding in Cairo, Egypt.

The financing gap for the required infrastructure needs was put at between $68–$108 billion.

Key players in the infrastructure sector noted that enhanced partnerships between the public and private sectors to develop the continent’s infrastructure to spur industrial growth and employment creation would bring the continent a little closer to achieving the Pan- African dreams of the African forefathers: an interconnected Africa, where divisions of the colonial pasts would fade away.

They agreed that greater economic activity, enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness on the continent were continually being hampered by inadequate transport, communication, water and power infrastructure.

NOo fewer than 700 delegates from across the continent and beyond are attending this year’s PIDA Week, which is being held under the theme: “Positioning Africa to deliver on Agenda 2063 and economic integration through multi-sectoral approaches to infrastructure development”.

In his opening remarks at the event, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), who spoke on the rationale behind PIDA Week and its objective, said PIDA and its associated instruments have enabled the continent to make remarkable progress in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and development of infrastructure on the continent.

According to Mayaki, progress has been registered over the entire landscape of infrastructure – from hardware developments on road and railway transport, power – including renewable energy, and ICT, to software enhancements in regulatory practices and regimes, policies, systems – such as one-stop border post monitoring systems, and human skills and capacities.

He said: “This is not another conference, not another ordinary week. This is for you, stakeholders in the Infrastructure development space, to own and significantly contribute to change the lives of millions Africans!.As this responsibility has been bestowed upon us, we shouldn’t take this lightly when we engage in the various sessions throughout the week.”

Through the transformation involved by PIDA, Mayaki said Africa’s geography is changing “and the borders are fading more and more, contributing to build stronger ties between countries through trade, and therefore making them see the economic costs of war with their neighboring countries. PIDA humbly contributes, to foster peace and change the landscape of Africa”.

The AU-NEPAD CEO, however, warned that more work has to be done.

Mayaki said as part of the infrastructural gap, the African Development Bank estimates that more than 640 million Africans have no access to energy, giving an electricity access rate for African countries at just over 40 percent — the world’s lowest.

“Per capita consumption of energy in Sub- Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, against 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.

“This is not another conference, not another ordinary week. This is for you participants a place to own and significantly contribute to change the lives of millions Africans.

“As this responsibility has been bestowed upon us, we shouldn’t take this lightly when we engage in the various sessions throughout the week.”

He reminded delegates of the importance of accountability and political will in order to transform Africa’s infrastructure.

Quoting Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s report on the African Union reforms, Mayaki said: “We have everything needed to succeed. To fail Africa again would be unforgiveable.” he concluded.

To Ambassador Khaled Emara, Assistant Foreign Minister for African Organizations and Communities and Egyptian President’s Representative to the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), “The lack of infrastructure in Africa is an obstruction to economic growth, hence the need to expedite infrastructure development projects to achieve the 2063 development agenda.”

Emara further noted that the world was eager to do business with Africa, “but finds it difficult to access the continent due to poor infrastructure”.

African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid said PIDA Week was an important platform to evaluate achievements and challenges the continent is facing in infrastructure development and to plan for the future.

The Commissioner said there was need for Africa to attract private investments and utilize pension and sovereign funds to develop the much-needed infrastructure on the continent.

For his part, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, in his keynote address delivered by Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markab, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, said: “The implementation of the African development plan, Agenda 2063, is based on providing an advanced infrastructure with sustainable services in light of its commitment to attract investment and promote intra-African trade to achieve the regional and economic integration that our countries and people aspire to.”

Since its inception in 2015, PIDA Week has evolved and grown to become the flagship advocacy and marketing event for PIDA, which was formed to drive Africa’s aspirations for infrastructure development in line with Agenda 2063.

Source: thenationonlineng

Fashola Identifies Insurgency, Excessive Load as Challenges Facing Road Infrastructure

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has identified insurgency, road-users’ abuses among others as challenges undermining road infrastructure development in the country and called for other sources of funding road projects.

He made this known on Thursday at the 29th Meeting of the National Council on Works in Calabar with the theme, Infrastructure as the Pathway for Prosperity.

The meeting was attended by various stakeholders such as permanent secretaries, directors of work, commissioners of works, among others.

Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State, Works and Housing, Engr Abubakar Aliyu, said “The need to look beyond public budgets and the clamour for other funding sources for road projects are recurring decimals in the literature of Nigerian highways development.“The challenge of insurgency in some parts of the country, road-users’ abuses like the uncontrollable excessive axle loads by trucks, unauthorised use of Federal Roads Right-of-Ways, and many other problems which are begging for solutions can be explored to create a pathway for prosperity.”

He said the theme for the meeting “was carefully chosen to address the complex issues of road infrastructure development in our dear country towards proffering tangible solutions, comfortable environment to sustain business and the effects of giving the people back what they actually deserve as citizens of our great nation.”

Fashola said the expectations of the public in the road sector is ever-increasing and over 90 per cent of passengers and freight movements in the country travel by road, adding “Our mandate in this meeting is to find new enduring possibilities on how to establish the link between infrastructure development and job creation, poverty alleviation, wealth creation and empowerment of the informal sector among others in ensuring that the 10 million jobs target per annun by Mr. President is attained.”

Source: Punchng

Lagos Mulls Ilasan Estate, Other Infrastructure Regeneration

Towards creating sustainable and livable cities and communities, the Lagos State Government has expressed readiness to begin the regeneration of Ilasan estate and other parts of the state.

The programme, The Guardian learned would involve reconstruction of dilapidated structures and repair of rundown infrastructure, which are no longer safe for further human utilisation.

Lagos state Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai who disclosed this in the review of the activities of the ministry last week explained that the regeneration of Ilasan and other parts of the state was in line with sustainable development goal SDG 11 which is focused on creating sustainable and livable cities and communities.

He disclosed that about 400 residents that would be directly affected by the reconstruction would be temporarily relocated to one of the state-owned schemes, which will soon be completed.

Akinderu-Fatai explained further that the decision is based on the need to set good standards of sustainability for future generations of Lagosians.

He said: “ In regenerating the estate, we will also take cognizance of access to quality education, health facilities, efficient public transportation, refuse collection services, sewage, human safety, and good air quality, among other things.”

“Furthermore, along with other ministries and agencies of the state, ministry of housing will work towards promoting a robust neighborhood life through the availability of structures that encourage community activities,” he added.

He also noted that further habitation in Ilasan is dangerous and injurious to healthy living hence the state government is determined to intervene by reconstructing the estate as soon as possible.

The future of the state, he said, is very important hence we must make the right decisions today in order to bequeath a legacy of sustainability to the generations yet unborn.

Source: guardianng

How Infrastructure Can Boost Property Value

Nigerians have always  clamoured for infrastructure not only in estates but in other locations. 

Already, the decay and death of infrastructure in the country has reached crisis dimension and has become an albatross for the citizens that the only means of transportation for most people  today is motorbikes and strong SUVs that can manaouvre potholes and gullies on most  roads. Indeed infrastructure decay has made some properties to drop in price because not more people are interested in buying or renting apartments in those areas for fear of bad roads.

The implication is unoccupied properties now  litter several cities and towns around the country even whenmay people are out  there looking for accommodation. This is why the housing deficit is continuously on the increase. The private developers are really not doing badly in the supply of the goods (houses) to the public. Although, under normal circumstances, government has the duty to provide the low cost housing to ameliorate the acute housing shortage living with the people. Nigerians experienced and enjoyed the low cost housing during the Shehu Shagari administration.

The then governors like Alhaji Kayode Jakande in the Lagos State, Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo of the then Anambra State, the Dee Sam Mbakwe of the old Imo State, the Balarabe Musa just to mention this few, all provided what the current generation today can call Estate. That is government in action. These days, federal  government is not interested in checking how the state governments expend money allocated to them. This is for fear that during the next election they may gang up against them.

Today, no part of the country has motorable road network and the people are keeping quiet. In the past, there was the rail to augment the shortages in motors and also to make the journey steady even though it may be slow. Of course, rail infrastructure generally lifts the value of property in a suburb. An instance is that suburbs with train stations have median house prices around 3.7 per cent higher than those without. Those living on the expressway and areas where there is good roads tend to pay higher than those living in remote areas. Experts’ analysis of major stations, indicate that these suburbs generally had higher capital growth rates than the 10 year average for the property built on the hinterland without roads. Train stations are often located within commercial hubs, and give people cheap, easy access to work and leisure. This is why most business people feel perturbed when they are doing their part to develop the cities with government not covering their own tracks. This is also why, when you want to achieve relatively strong growth on your investment or family home, it becomes best to buy your home near a station when rail systems are working and areas where there are good roads. Infrastructure and Economic Development Infrastructure contribute to economic development by increasing productivity and providing amenities which enhance the quality of life. The services generated as a result of an adequate infrastructure base will translate to an increase in aggregate output.m.

There is the need for government to harness development potential within the local government of the study area to create job opportunity so as to reduce precious time and resources spent on travel cost to workplaces. In addition, to sustain property market in the study area, it is suggested that prospective property developers should take cognizance of locational, structural and neighbourhood factors that significantly affect property value in the study area as this would help the marketability and viability of the investment. This study therefore provides a glance at the ensuing market forces and dynamics in the study area.

It provides first hand information for property investors, advisers, planners, builders, architects as well as the government. It is also a guide for global interest in the Nigeria particularly Lagos property market. It does not matter where in the suburb you buy or build your house. What you should bother yourself about is whether there is road to take you out and bring you in whenever you want to. Being in a suburb with a train station is a plus for house values. But in a simple analysis, can we say that property right next to a station have higher or lower growth rates and rental yields to those a few kilometres away?

Investment in infrastructure services, such as transportation (roads), electricity and water are intermediate inputs to production. Infrastructure services tend to raise productivity of other factors. Infrastructure is often termed the “unpaid factor of production”. Investment in infrastructure in a given location often attracts additional flow of resources. Both effects, contribute to economic growth by stimulating aggregate supply as well as demand.

However, these contributions on aggregate output, take time for the benefits to be realized. In a paper by Canning and Fay (1993), it was concluded that developing countries showed a high rate of return on transport infrastructure comparable to those of developed countries. Conclusive evidence linked increased output to increased investment in transport infrastructure, but little evidence with that link being immediate. From the foregoing, it was concluded that infrastructure was not to be considered a factor of production, but rather a condition for higher rates of economic growth.

From the above, the outputs of infrastructure to economic growth are wide and far reaching. Far reaching that their impacts should never be underestimated. Ability to foster infrastructure development is best tackled at a strategic level from where the necessary energy lies to drive its implementation. Strategic planning combined with a strong political will needs the right procurement approach to achieve long term results. Public- Private Partnerships (PPP), will not only meet such goals but have been found to accelerate them. PPP allows governments to free up fiscal funds for use in other pressing areas.

Property is a multi-dimensional product and the number and nature of factors that influence its value are equally of different kinds. Property and land values tend to increase in areas with expanding transportation networks, and increase less rapidly in areas without such improvements. Rapid and continued rise in housing and land prices are expected in cities with transportation improvements and rapid economic and population growth.

The value of access is capitalized into the land value and access is measured through market participants’ willingness to pay. Essentially, this view suggests that accessibility measures may be inferred from land prices. The relationship among accessibility, property values and land use patterns have been the pre-occupation of earliest theorists with indication that travel costs were traded off against property rents and population densities from Central Business District (CBD) to suburbs of a mono- centric city. Real estate has no value if it has no utility, if it is not scarce and if it is not effectively demanded. Real estate has significance only as it satisfies man’s needs and desires.

It is this man’s collective desire for property that gives rise to value. Thus, the ability of a property to satisfy man’s needs and desires together with its degree of scarcity and utility compared with others makes man to ascribe value to it. Property value, therefore, according to Millington is the money obtainable from a person(s) willingness and ability to purchase property when it is offered for sale by a willing seller, allowing for reasonable time for negotiation and with the full knowledge of the nature and uses which the property is capable of being put.

Quality of the environment is also another factor that affects the values of land. Land value does not only depend on the physical characteristics of a building but also the environment that surrounds the building. Developments of various transportation modes have become pivotal to physical and economic developments.  Access to major roads provides relative advantages to residential users.

Modern business, industries, trades and general activities depend on transport and transport infrastructures, with movement of goods and services from place to place becoming vital and inseparable aspects of global and urban economic survival.  Stated that the factors affecting property values are generally classified into external and internal factors. This study therefore examines the effect of these factors such as accessibility measured in terms of travel distance and cost, neighbourhood, structural (property) and locational characteristics on residential property value in Magodo, Lagos State. Well, relatively no because the site of the property in terms of location, whether in highbrow area or not can determine how the property is rated.

Housing Development

Houses on the express could be lowly rated or not attractive because the population of people around the area does not support massive investment. So houses built along the express by fishermen and or hunters or those on shifting cultivation may not attract any high rate because those living there do so as make shift.

However, because there is expressway along the place that can support civil servants to and fro their offices, those owning land there could develop some blocks for rent. Although, majority of the residents in the area have their workplaces in relatively distant locations. The distance travel and cost of getting there is not a significant factor that affect property value contrary to the propositions of rent theory. This invariably implies that residents are indirectly paying more to live in the area.

It could be further discovered that proximity to the highway that connect Lagos State to other parts of Nigeria, number and size of bedrooms, conveniences, good road and drainages as well as security are the leading factors affecting property values in the area. Despite the many potentials for industrial development in the Kosofe local government in Lagos for instance, it is not clear or mentioned that these potentials are being fully harnessed as there are no immediate central or sectoral business district in the area.

Real estate is a heterogeneous good that is comprised of a bundle of unique characteristics reflecting not only its location, but equally affected by other amenities such as the quality of neighbourhood and infrastructure. Ge and Du in 2007 opined that property value is an essential aspect of property markets worldwide and determined by a variety of factors. Therefore the determination of those factors is a significant part of property valuation.

Source: sunnewsonline

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