Fashola Tasks Shelter Afrique on Affordable Housing Financing
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has tasked a pan-African housing finance and development finance institution, Shelter Afrique, to take a leading role in financing the provision of affordable housing in Africa.
Mr Fashola gave this charge when he received a team of Shelter Afrique at his office in Abuja recently.
The organisation, led by its Chairman, Mr Chii Akporji, and its Managing Director/CEO, Mr Thierno-Habib Hann, visited the Minister to discuss the Annual General Meeting (AGM) taking place in Abuja in May.
The former Governor of Lagos State used the occasion to appeal to the board to strengthen and safeguard the organisation’s corporate governance credentials as it moved into a new phase.
He mentioned that as a major stakeholder, Nigeria would continue to hold Shelter Afrique to the highest standard of governance, as this is critical in unlocking further investments into the organisation.
From May 8 to 11, 2023, Shelter Afrique will hold its annual gathering in Nigeria, and according to Mr Hann, Nigeria has a critical part to play in addressing the affordable housing crisis in Africa.
“Nigeria is one of the key markets for us. Besides being the second largest shareholder after Kenya, Nigeria has one of the biggest housing needs in Africa, and we are certain that if we get it right with Nigeria, we shall have gotten it right with the entire continent,” he said.
On his part, Mr Akporji thanked the Nigerian government for “supporting the delivery of its mission of providing decent and affordable housing for all in Africa.”
“We deeply appreciate the role Nigeria has played in safeguarding the organisation and the role you have played personally in being a vanguard and a voice of reason for the shareholders.
“I’m glad to inform you that preparations for the 42nd AGM are on course as the invitations have already been sent out through your office, and the Shelter Afrique team is working on garnering the required quorum for a successful meeting,” he added.
Tinubu Travelled Abroad to Rest, Will Return Soon–Aide
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The office of the president-elect has confirmed that Mr Bola Tinubu has jetted out of Nigeria for a rest in the United Kingdom and France ahead of his swearing-in ceremony slated for May 29, 2023.
An online platform on Wednesday reported that the winner of the February 25 presidential election travelled to Europe for urgent medical attention.
But in a statement issued by one of his aides, Mr Tunde Rahman, it was emphasized that the former Governor of Lagos State only left the country to have a rest in London and Paris before going to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj.
It was disclosed that Mr Tinubu travelled out of Nigeria on Tuesday night via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos.
“After a very exhaustive campaign and election season, President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.
“The President-elect left the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, for Europe on Tuesday night.
“The President-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan Fasting that begins Thursday.
“While away, the President-elect will also use the opportunity to plan his transition programme.
“He is expected back in the country soon.
“We enjoin the media to stop publishing rumours and unsubstantiated claims and to always seek clarifications from our office,” the statement said.
INEC Declares Labour Party’s Alex Otti Abia Governor-Elect
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The candidate of the Labour Party in the governorship election in Abia State, Mr Alex Otti, has been declared as the winner of the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The former banker polled a total of 175,467 votes to defeat his closest rival in the poll, Mr Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 88,529 votes.
The Abia State governorship election was earlier declared inconclusive by the electoral umpire due to issues arising from over-voting. The collation centre had to be moved to Abuja from Umuahia, the state capital.
The governor-elect, in a short post via his verified Twitter handle, reacted to the development by saying, “See what the Lord has done.”
Mr Otti left the banking industry a few years ago after serving as the managing director of the defunct Diamond Bank, which merged with Access Bank. He left his office in the bank to pursue his political ambition in 2015, but he failed until he succeeded in 2023.
Cash Scarcity: NLC Orders Workers to Embark on Strike
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed public sector workers in the country to embark on strike beginning from Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
President of the union, Mr Joe Ajaero, gave this directive at a media briefing at Labour House in Abuja on Wednesday, March 22.
He also directed affiliate unions of the NLC to be on standby for a picketing exercise across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationwide.
The union leader said the directive became imperative following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum given to the apex bank to make cash available for Nigerians.
The scarcity has heightened with plans by the central bank to mop up the old Naira in circulation. The apex bank recently said it had removed N2.3 trillion from circulation between October 2022 and February 2023 while printing fewer new notes.
Business Post reported that between October last year and February 2023, the cash in circulation dropped to N982.09 billion from N3.29 trillion.
This is one of the factors that has extended the scarcity of the Naira and have also prolonged it into March.
Despite the Supreme Court judgement on March 3, 2023, that the old Naira remain legal until December 31, 2023, new notes have not reached many households with the old notes and new notes difficult to acquire.
With the cash in circulation dropping and the currency in commercial banks’ vaults or that of the CBN rising, Nigerians still find it difficult to access the money deposited in their accounts despite the ruling that the new and old notes should co-exist for 10 months.
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