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Experts mull regeneration of Nigerian cities

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Issues of regeneration, rebuilding, recreating and reinventing Nigerian cities to reduce slum development takes centre stage as architects have been challenged to create a building design system to take care of the poor. DAYO AYEYEMI reports

It is no longer news that Nigerian cities -Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna and Enugu among others, are faced with the challenges of urbanisation with Lagos taking the lead with an estimated population of 20 million people.

This has resulted to overcrowding, dilapidated houses, incessant collapse of buildings, collapse of infrastructural facilities, increase in slum settlements due to accommodation shortage, and high crime rates in the metropolis.

A tour of Lagos Island Central Business District, Ajegunle, Iwaya, Ilaje, Amukoko and Itire communities will reveal the number of people living in poor housing condition and degraded environment in the metropolis.

All these issues were again brought to the fore when stakeholders, comprising both local and international in the built environment profession and policymakers converged on Lagos with a call to architects to craft modern designs that will accommodate the poor, especially slum dwellers to the larger society.

Head, Department, Medical Microbiology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola, led these calls at Lagos Architects Forum, themed: “An Architectural Autopoiesis.”

He described Lagos as a city of beautiful architectural edifices alongside terrible slums, pointing out that these slums would continue to creep into every area including Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Banana Island and Government Reserved Areas (GRAs), except something urgent is done to address the accommodation needs of the poor.

She said : “It is a matter of time, we will find them all there. The poor service the rich, they can’t afford to live far from where they work so they are going to build shanties close to where they live.” The professor of clinical microbiology stresses the need to rethink the way Nigerian cities were being developed with conscious effort to provide housing units for the poor in locations not too far from their workplaces.

She quipped: “Should we not be rethinking how we construct our cities? Should we not have homes of the poor not too far from the homes of the rich? And if we must do that, should we not be rethinking how we are constructing for the poor?”

Ogunsola lamented that over lack of affordable housing for the populace with over 70 per cent of the people living in slums, stressing that slums were full of human beings.

Calling for a change among design experts, the professor noted that architects designed for the rich while the poor created their own shelter. Chairman, Nigerian Insti tute of Architects (NIA), Lagos chapter, Mr.Fitzgerald Umah, said the forum would address the issues of regeneration, rebuilding, recreating and reinventing in the light of current economic recession.

Ogunsola however, expressed fears that Lagos and Nigerian state were in crises on many levels as the system could no longer provide public health to majority of the people.

According to NIA President, Tonye Oliver Braide, the rest of the world is moving, Nigerians require a new thinking and members should think differently by networking about their designs. Commissioner for Waterfront Development and Infrastructure in Lagos State, Mr. Ade Akinsanya, an engineers, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, urged architects to join hands with the government to develop Lagos.

Also, his Physical Planning and Urban Development counterpart, Wasiu Abiola Anifowoshe, stated that the state government was partnering with the private sector towards the regeneration and urbanisation of the state into a befitting megacity that is livable and economically buoyant.

To this end, the government through the Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) has provided a template for continuous improvement in identifying slum areas sush Ijora/Oloye, Adeniji Adele and Iwaya.

Anifowoshe said that the government had completed the redevelopment of Isale Gangan Phase 1 project by pooling together 13 land holding families with smaller plots of land to encourage meaningful development that is sustainable and in consonance with global best practices.

“The result of this collaboration is the erection of an 11-floor structure with 48 serviced luxury apartments and a multipurpose hall on the 6th floor on a 2,500 square metre land area funded by the state government. The structure is completed and ready for sale,” he said.

The commissioner stated that another project involved the redevelopment of Isale Gangan Phase , involving 2,465.913 square metre of land for a 13 floor apartment structure.

He revealed that compensation had been paid to families involved, adding that the same process is going on in Adeniji Adele Phase 1 –V in order to improve the quality of the environment.

He said: “This is being done with the endorsement of the resident association’s decision to redevelop the entire 720 housing units into a residential mixed development of 2500 to 3500 units. “

As part of state government efforts targeted at five per cent reduction of the number of slums, the ministry engaged 25 communities among, which are Amukoko, Mosafejo, Gaskiya West, Ajowa community, Abete, Badia/Oguntayo North, Oworonsoki, Daramola community. These communities have expressed their willingness to work with government in regenerating and redeveloping their communities,” the commissioner added. Cities are engines of growth.

There is need for design and settlement experts to embrace modern architecture to turn around fortunes of Nigerian cities through urban renewal and regeneration to meet needs of citizens.

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Nigerians alerted on new EU’s data protection guidelines

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has alerted Nigerian businesses on the implications of a new European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regu- lation (GDPR).

 

According to the agency, the alert on the has become necessary as it might have huge impact on Nigerian businesses and/or individuals that use Information Technologies to collect, store, process and transact on EU citizens personal data in EU territory or elsewhere.

 

NITDA in a statement, called on Nigerian businesses, especially those carrying out online transactions and meet the GDPR compliance criteria to put in place appropriate measures to observe the provisions of this regulation to avoid being sanctioned for a liable breach.

 

 

Organisations are also required to note the provisions of the NITDA Guidelines on Data Protection, issued in 2013 and currently being revised. In an effort to make the agency’s rule making process transparent and industry-focused, NITDA said the revised guideline will soon be presented for stakeholder consultation as stipulated in the Rule making Process Regulation of NITDA.

 

 

The new GDPR particularly concerns those that collect, store and process personal data of EU citizens for the provision of goods and services.

 

The GDPR (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). Explaining the implementation of the GDPR, Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami, said though the implementation has commenced, 25th of May 2018 is the day that all data protection arrangements in companies have to be changed accordingly.

 

 

“It does not only affect European businesses, but every company or enterprise that processes personal data of European citizens,” Pantami said.

 

He explained the general principles of processing personal data require that it is processed transparently.

 

He said : “It is in the utmost interest of the agency to protect Nigerian businesses from unnecessary exposure to the risks of this regulation and/ or any regulations that might have negative impact on their businesses as well as the rights of Nigerians that have dual citizenship of any EU member state.”

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African govts rush to beat higher borrowing costs

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Governments across sub-Saharan Africa are hitting international debt markets hard and fast to try to beat rising borrowing costs, pushing the region’s debt levels to new highs, according to Reuters.

 

Nigeria has raised $5.5 billion over the past three months, Kenya wants to borrow at least $1.5 billion, and Angola, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Senegal are all queuing up.

 

The flurry of issuance adds to an already-record debt tally for sub-Saharan Africa, which has ballooned to over $200 billion from less than 30 billion in 2007, Bank for International Settlements (BIS) data shows.
“If you have a lot of issuance in a short period of time, that tells you something,” said Kevin Daly at asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen.

 

“Maybe these guys are realising that their borrowing costs are going to potentially go higher over the course of the year if we get a continued rise in Treasury yields and further rate hikes by the Fed.”

 

With investors busy assessing where U.S. Federal Reserve interest rates are headed, the focus is now on just how vulnerable the region may be to such an increase, especially with a large pile of repayments also looming.

 

Rating agency Moody’s calculates Ghana has $4.5 billion of bonds due between 2020-2026, Gabon has $2 billion maturing between 2022-2025 and Zambia has $3 billion between 2022-2027.

 

Meanwhile, Kenya’s first Eurobond payment of $750 million, representing roughly 1 percent of its annual economic output or GDP, is due in June next year followed by $2 billion in 2024.

 

“For sovereigns which do not have long track records of repaying international bonds, this will represent a significant test,” Moody’s said in a statement.

 

The increase in international debt issuance means “sub-Saharan African borrowers are now more exposed to shifts in global risk sentiment and external financing conditions,” they added, stressing the risk of rising borrowing costs.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is pushing ahead regardless. The country’s 2018 provisional budget has laid out plans to raise some $2.8 billion this year.

 

Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun also wants to lift the proportion of dollar debt to 40 percent from its current level of 27 percent, to replace expensive naira bonds with 10-year interest rates as high as 14 percent.

 

“Nigeria is focused on reducing the cost of our debt portfolio and ensuring we have the optimal mix between domestic and international debt,” she told Reuters.

“The proceeds of the dollar issuance … will be used to re-finance domestic debt, which is high-cost and short-term, with lower-cost international debt with a longer tenure.”

 

Debt levels in the region are still low compared to many other parts of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa’s average public debt level surpassed 50 percent of GDP in 2017, according to The Institute of International Finance.
But there has been an explosion since 2005 when rich countries, for a second time in a decade, wrote off billions of dollars to help the continent out of its debt trap.

 

Part of the recent big run up in debt levels came as commodity exporters such as Nigeria, Zambia or Angola were forced to fill the gaps in coffers left by a 75 percent slump in oil and some key metal prices between 2014 and 2015.

 

Combined with the related hit to growth rates, this triggered an outsized fall in sovereign credit ratings in the region, which only now looks to be levelling off. S&P Global’s sub-Saharan Africa ratings have dropped around two notches on average since 2008 from BB- to B, whereas across all emerging markets the fall has been only about half a notch, from just above BBB- to just below. Moody’s downgrades in sub-Saharan Africa have outnumbered upgrades 21 to 2 since the beginning of 2015.

The region is not out of the woods. In 2017, at least three countries – Mozambique, Congo-Brazzaville and Chad – defaulted or tried to renegotiate debt. Angola announced it wanted to extend maturities in 2018.

 

But thanks to attractive yield offers, investor interest seems unabated. Nigeria’s $2.5 billion offering attracted bids in excess of $11 billion.

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Japaul to get $350m funding from Milost

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Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc has signed an agreement with private equity firm Milost Global Inc. for $350 million in shares and loans for business expansion.

 

Milost according to a statement, will invest $250 million in equity and add another $100 million in convertible loans, Japaul Chairman Jegede Paul said in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)..
The fresh injection of capital will enable the company to fix grounded vessels, finance new contracts and expand into mining, he said.

 

Japaul’s oil and gas operations suffered a setback with the 2014 plunge in crude prices, which forced exploration and production companies to scale back their activities. As prices are recovering, the company wants to take advantage of new business opportunities in the industry. The company plans to be able to absorb future oil and gas price shocks by diversifying into mining, Paul said.

 

“Japaul therefore seeks the understanding and cooperation of its stakeholders, as it will soon commence the transaction by going through all the laid down rules and regulations of Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), because the commitment is still subject to regulatory approvals. The Company shall be communicating this financing commitment to the Shareholders as necessary,” he said.

The stock rose 6 per cent in Wednesday’s trading at the NSE, the most since June 25, 2014, to close at 37 kobo.

 

Milost Global, founded by Mandla J Gwandiso in 2015 is an American Private Equity firm that is headquartered in New York City, with more than $25 billion in committed capital. Milost is also a provider of alternative capital, mezzanine finance and alternative lending to a broad range of industries across the globe including Technology, Transport, Cannabis, Education, Distribution, Mining, Oil & Gas, Financial Services, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Real Estate, Alternative Energy and Infrastructure Development.

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