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Surveyors seek shift in climate change battle

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Worried by various climate change-induced environmental challenges in the country, professional land surveyors are seeking roles to mitigate its adverse effects on human settlement and environment. DAYO AYEYEMI reports

 

For a long time now, the telling effect of climate change has continued to put urban centres, many lives and the environment in danger. It has consistently compelled stakeholders, encompassing the government, non-governmental/civil society organisations, religious bodies, professional institutions and residents to find ways to mitigate the negative and dangerous effects on humanity.

Part of the problem has been the rapid population growth in Nigerian city centres and urban extension, which has stretched the boundaries of some of the cities to unsustainable limits. Perturbed by the current challenges posed by climate change and the lopsided approaches being adopted in resolving flooding cases, drought and desertification – leading to incessant clash between herdsmen and farmers, professional land surveyors under the auspices of the Nigerian Institution of Surveying (NIS) have tasked the Federal Government and policy makers on the need to seek their expertise in resolving the issue.

According to them, being professionals in charge of various geo-spatial data, they have the knowledge and expertise necessary for adaptation to climate change in order to protect and prevent future disasters resulting from this change in nature.

Speaking with New Telegraph during the 13th edition of Adekunle Kukoyi Memorial Annual Lecture organised by the Lagos State branch of NIS, some of the professionals blamed the crises in the middle belt on effect of climate change, saying that surveyors have a big role to play in whatever solution the Federal Government is proferring. The late Adekunle Kukoyi was the president of the institution from 1973 to 1978.

Experts’ perspective Lagos, NIS Chairman, Mr. Adeleke Adesina, stated that the issue of climate change had become a global problem that is being discussed world over, adding that surveyors as stakeholders in the environment and land matters must add their voices on ways to combat disasters posed by climate change. According to him, surveyors should be contacted in the proposal to mitigate climate change, especially the proposed grazing law in the country, adding that they have relevant land information for planning. He said that surveyors could identify, survey and manage grazing and farm sites.

He said: “Promoters of grazing law should identify surveyors; it should acknowledge that there are surveyors. “If you jettison them, the repercussion will be there later.” Immediate past Chairman of the branch, Mr. Gbenga Alara, noted that climate change had become a global phenomenon caused by human activities.

He pointed out that it had become a collective thing on the part of every human being to salvage the environment, adding that the government must put in place sustainable and right policy that will guide man in its existence. On the role of surveyors, Alara said that they were to make sure that everything is in the right position, ensure proper planning and carry out monitoring to best serve humanity.

Clarion call

A former Minister of Industry, Chief (Mrs) Oniikepo Akande, who was a guest speaker at the forum, noted that the dependence on cars and lack of public transport infrastructure has indicated both social and political problems, pointing out that sustainability of living environment had become an issue that needs to be addressed on various levels. She said: “Climate change affects livelihoods, human settlements and land use patterns.

The manner in which decisions about access to, use of, and control over resources are implemented and enforced are central to the success of climate change adaptation and mitigation.” She challenged surveyors on the critical roles of protecting the environment in the areas of development design, project management, land administration, information management and monitoring. Akande advised policymakers and the government to tap into the expertise of skilled professionals if the war against climate change and environmental degradation is to achieve the desired results of saving lives and protecting the environment.

Akande, who is also the Chairman, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Nigeria Business Group, tasked surveyors to rise to the occasion, saying that they had the knowledge and expertise necessary for adaptation to climate change.

“You work with the land, people, political and social institutions in developing, building and maintaining towns and cities. These put you at a very important position to advocate and lead the agenda to protect the present and future victims of climate related disasters,” Akande said.

Reiterating the importance of surveyors as custodians of accurate land information, Akande, who is also the immediate past Chairman, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, advised policy makers on ways to tackle challenges of climate change, saying they should consult for accurate and relevant information on land usage. She enjoined surveyors through their various associations to ensure developmental projects and also comply with best practices and environmental standards.

Last line

The starting point for surveyors in the fight against climate change is commitment to identifying and promoting global best practices and sustainable utilisation of land.

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Telecoms’ GDP leaps to 1.8% growth

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From a decline of -3.28 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in Nigeria’s telecommunications sub-sector jumped to 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, New Telegraph has learnt.

This, according to latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows a general improvement in the Information and Communication sector.

The telecoms and information services, which come under the Information and Communication sector in the NBS’ categorisation of economic activities, had in the last three quarters recorded negative growth rate as it fell by 1.9 per cent in second quarter 2017. In the third quarter of same year, it also went down by -5.68 per cent. By fourth quarter, the sector still went down by -3.28, even at the time when the overall GDP growth rate of the country looked positive.

However, the telecoms sector has shown remarkable signs of growth since the beginning of this year as subscriber data continue to surge.

Analysis of active mobile subscriptions in the first three months of the year shows that the telecom operators added 4.2 million subscribers within the period. Data subscriptions on the four GSM networks also crossed the 100 million mark in January and have maintained a steady growth.

The Information and Communication sector is composed of the four activities of Telecommunications and Information Services; Publishing; Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting. In nominal terms, the first quarter of 2018 saw the sector grow by 1.79 per cent (year-on-year) , a 7.25 per cent points decrease from the rate of 9.04 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017. However, it is 2.34 per cent points higher than rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 3.58 per cent. The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.64 per cent to total Nominal GDP in the 2018 first quarter, lower than the rate of 11.43 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017 but higher than the 10.04 per cent it contributed in the preceding quarter.

The sector, in the first quarter of 2018, recorded a growth rate of 1.58 per cent in real terms, year-on-year. From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, there was a decline by 1.15 per cent points. Quarter on quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of –4.15 per cent in real terms. Of total real GDP, the sector contributed 12.41 per cent in 2018 first quarter, lower than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 12.46 per cent but higher than the preceding quarter, in which it represented 11.35 per cent.

Analysts see the growth rate as a positive sign of more economic activities in the sector, leading to job creations and increased contribution to the economy.

Citing the NBS statistics, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta recently disclosed that the telecoms sector in the first quarter of 2017 contributed N1.45 trillion to the GDP, adding that in the second quarter, the figure rose to N1.549 trillion.

“This performance at a period of recession is very remarkable,” he said. “We are keeping dates with the NBS to identify and track how these trends progress. On the aggregate, the telecoms industry’s contribution to GDP in Nigeria stands at 10 per cent.

“But the figures may not tell the entire story. Investments in the sector, in human and material resources, have continued to soar. In 2001, the telecom sector could boast of a mere $50 million worth of investments but as at September 2017, we have investments worth $70 billion. The Value Added Services (VAS), segment of the telecom market in Nigeria today is worth $200 million and is estimated to grow to $500 million by 2021. The industry has provided both direct and indirect employment opportunities, accentuated growth and expansion.”

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Reps probe Pencom over alleged financial mismanagement

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) over alleged reckless financial management of retirees’ funds and infraction on the public procurement Law. The House has consequently mandated its committee on public procurement and pensions to carry out a comprehensive investigation on alleged monumental fraud ongoing at the commission.

 

The decision followed the passage of a motion sponsored by Hon. Zakariya Galadima on the “need to investigate the alleged violation of provisions of the public procurement Act and financial mismanagement by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM)” During debate, the legislators faulted the commission over several financial infractions as against the principles and objectives of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act, which required the commission to collect and utilize fees, levies and penalties prudently in accordance with its regulatory and compliance roles. For instance, part of the 2014 Act authorizes PENCOM to invest the retiree funds in order to generate revenue but the lawmakers are worried that such investments powers of the agency have been grossly eroded by financial abuses.

 

In his lead debate, Galadima faulted the agency over several financial mismanagement while expressing worry that PENCOM engaged in fraudulent practice by investing N1billion into Aso Savings and Loans Plc under its investments portfolio at a ridiculously low interest rates and further directed Aso to lend the money to MGSL Mortgage Bank Limited where a top PENCOM management staff has interest.

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Business

Confectionery firm hosts BBNaija ex-housemates

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Infusion Cakes & Cafe, a Lagos-based confectionery firm, has hosted ex-housemates of the reality TV show, Big Brother Nigeria (BBNaija), in a meet and greet session in Lagos recently.

Founder and chief executive of Infusion Cakes & Cafe, Mrs. Ibigbeye Okobi, in a statement, said the company decided to host the BBNaija ex-housemates because: “We really enjoyed the free spirit they exhibited, how natural they were and how they were able to get Nigerians to actually get engaged in everything they did while in the house.”

Okobi said the management of Infusion Cakes & Cafe also felt that the location of the company in the highbrow Lekki area of Lagos would serve as an excellent platform for Nigerians who were keen to meet the ex-housemates, get to know and interact with them in a friendly and hospitable environment to really appreciate them.

Infusion Cakes & Cafe is a modern bakery and cafe where customers can get a combination of international and locally made cakes, coffee, pastries and desserts for refreshment, weddings and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, among others.

The highlight of the event was a competition for the decoration of cakes. Participants in the competition included the reigning Miss Nigeria, Miss Mildred Peace Ehiguese; one of the BBNaija ex-housemates, Anto; and a representative of Team Definition, a band of musical artistes which entertained guests at the session.

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