By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has said it would initiate a National Housing Bond towards addressing the housing deficit in the country.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said this in Abuja during a tour of the Federal Housing Authority’s and Cosgrove’s Estates.
According to the Minister, the scheme would help developers provide houses for all categories of Nigerians as different people have different needs in the housing economy in the country.
Mr Fashola said some persons need land and infrastructure, while others want luxury apartments, with the others in need of low-cost apartments, which is where the Cosgrove comes very handy.
“There is Cosgrove Estate in Mabushi which is purely private sector driven; the one at Guzape is a partnership with government (Federal Housing Authority), ENL Consortium and Bauhaus International Limites. The one in Zuba is government-driven.
“We will be working to create a National Housing Bond that housing developers can access at a very reasonable rate. That is something I will be engaging my colleague, the Minister of Finance.
“And hopefully, she would be able to engage the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria who controls our monetary policies. This is because fiscal and monetary policies can help the sector.
“This tour to estates at Mabushi, Guzape and Zuba is to show you that a lot of things are going on in the housing economy of the country,” Mr Fashola said.
He noted that there were different types of houses for different categories of Nigerians and that the government could not do enough until it involved the private sector.
On his part, the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mr Gbenga Ashafa, said they wanted people to occupy the estate at Zuba while specifying the number required.
“But we only have 24 occupants and it is because they decided to bring in their own facilities like generator sets and many other things.
“The Injector Sub-Station for electricity has not been completed yet and that is one of the prerequisites that would make the estate habitable.
“It is 80 per cent complete. Very soon, it would be completed and most people would move in,” Mr Ashafa said.
Adding his input, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cosgrove, Mr Umar Abdullahi, has said the company built both premium and affordable houses.
“However, we are collaborating with the government to see how we can extend a payment period that is flexible and affordable for the ordinary man, and we are planning to build houses for those at the very lower class,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu Promises Justice for Sound Engineer David Imoh
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has promised to ensure that the late Sound Engineer killed by a mob in the Lekki area of the state last week gets justice.
The Governor gave this assurance through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement issued on Monday night.
Last week, after boarding a commercial motorcycle, an argument ensued between Mr David Imoh and the okada rider over N100 and attracted other riders, who then lynched him.
There have been calls for justice for the deceased and in the statement today, the state governor said this would be done.
He condemned the mob attack and said the police are interrogating four suspects at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti in connection with the incident, while two survivors of the act are in hospital.
According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the government will address the root cause of this and similar incidents, which have caused public anxiety, appealing to residents to remain calm as police continue to investigate the matter.
“Lagos has no room for savagery and anybody found to have been involved in this barbarism will surely face the law.
“We condemn and will not condone any kind of jungle justice, no matter who the perpetrators are,” the statement stressed.
N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, is cooling off in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He is having talks with the agency, explaining what he knows about an alleged diversion of N80 billion belonging to the federal government.
He was picked up by operatives of the EFCC on Monday, May 16, 2022, after allegedly failing to honour invitations by the commission to respond to issues connected to the issue.
In a statement issued on Monday night, the anti-money laundering organisation claimed that Mr Idris, through verified intelligence, “raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.”
“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja,” another part of the statement disclosed.
The AGF has been in the news lately over an audit report, which indicted some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government of fraud.
Curbing Illicit Financial Flows Needs Global Framework—Owasanoye
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, has rallied a global action against Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), including a call for a global framework on IFFs similar to corruption.
Mr Owasanoye made this call at a side event of the ongoing hybrid 54th Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) taking place in Dakar, Senegal.
According to a statement issued by the ICPC’s spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, the conference would focus on regional efforts to track, recover and return stolen assets from Africa through the IFFs.
She said that the meeting was attended by representatives of member countries of the Economic Community for Africa, heads of anti-corruption agencies and international bodies.
Addressing the meeting virtually, the ICPC boss emphasised the need for a global framework on IFFs as part of a determined commitment to tackle the menace.
“The challenge we found ourselves today is that the rules have always been skewed in favour of those who export capital and against those who import capital. Corruption is a global issue and we have a global framework for corruption.
“The IFFs is also a global issue but does not have a global framework.
“A way out of the problem is to institute a global framework on IFFs which, among others, will address the huge financial losses suffered by African countries,” the ICPC chairman stated.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war had complicated the financial resources of African countries, hence the need to tackle the IFFs and stop the further haemorrhage of the financial resources on the continent.
Further to the global framework on IFFs, Owasanoye also proffered legal and policy measures that should be implemented by African countries to address the IFFs risk.
These legal and policy measures, according to the ICPC boss include a review of agreements entered into with Multinational Corporations (MNCs), a review of inimical double taxation agreements.
Others are the enactment of laws, rules or regulations on unexplained wealth orders or lifestyle audits, introduction of civil forfeiture of assets and beneficial ownership standards; and design of a framework for trans-digital transactions.
The ICPC chairman also advocated tougher measures against corrupt state officials who collude with the MNCs against their countries.
“African countries must understand that the MNCs split contracts.
“The juicy parts of the contracts with MNCs are domiciled in their home countries while the non-juicy parts of the contracts are domiciled in Africa.
“We need to deal with the MNCs’ collaboration by government officials who look the other way in international agreements,” he said.
In her remarks, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mrs Rebecca Grynspan, said the global economy was under enormous stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia–Ukraine war, and climate change.
She noted that IFFs posed a huge challenge to African countries in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We are aware of the increasing rates which make it more difficult and harder for African countries to access finance.
“The African economies are also feeling the impact of the Russia – Ukraine war and thereby widening the financing gap.
“Africa requires US$2.45 trillion to meet its SDG financing gap. We can close half of the SDG financing gap for Africa if we are able to curb IFFs.
“We, therefore, cannot continue to allow the billions of dollars of IFFs slipping out of Africa every year,” she said.
She added that “The IFFs and Asset Recovery are more critical to Africa today. Both are required by African Countries to achieve the SDGs.”
She emphasised the need for data and collaboration among African institutions like Customs and Central Banks as a necessary condition for tracking the IFFs.
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