24 Apr

Daily Watch – Nigeria gets housing index, More airport makeovers coming

  • The FG is to float a $300 million Diaspora Bond as part of measures to galvanise the buy-in of foreign-based Nigerians into the ERGP. The Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Adeyemi Dipeolu, said the bond was conceptualised to make Nigerians resident outside the country contribute to the country’s growth and recovery. The National Assembly has already approved the Diaspora Bond. Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, had in January declared that Nigerians living abroad, who were desirous of investing in the $300 million bond, would have the privilege of doing so in March when it would be rolled out. According to her, the Diaspora Bond would follow on the completion of the country’s Eurobond, which was issued last month.
  • In spite of a nearly continuous stream of dollars into the forex market by the CBN since February 20 when it announced its new FX policy measures, the country’s external reserves have remained relatively robust. The reserves, derived primarily from crude oil earnings, increased from $29.282 billion on February 20 to $30.586 billion as of April 19, according to data posted on the CBN’s website. The regulator’s efforts at commencing sectoral forex interventions may have started yielding results, as the naira in the past few weeks has strengthened against other currencies, especially the U.S dollar. The naira rose to ₦380 to the dollar last week, from ₦410 in the preceding week.
  • Following the completion of the repairs of the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the ongoing facelift of the terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the FG plans a fresh remodelling of all 22 major airport terminals in the country. According to a Punch report, areas expected to be fixed are chillers, travelators and escalators, conveyor belts that are out of use, check-in counters and toilets, among others. Engineers had already been mobilised to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to commence work on the terminal, while two terminals were being constructed at the Port Harcourt International Airport; one by the immediate past administration and another one to cater to the needs of passengers presently being attended to under a tent. The FG, through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, recently commenced the refurbishment of the MMIA, Lagos after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo visited the airport some weeks ago and complained about the state of its facilities. In the 2017 appropriation bill, the FG sets aside at least ₦31 billion for the construction and repair of federal airports across the country.
  • The country’s pioneer house price index has been unveiled by the Roland Igbinoba Real Foundation for Housing and Urban Development, the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company, Lekki Gardens and BusinessDay Media Limited. The Roland Igbinoba House Price Index is expected to be a tool that measures changes in single-family home prices across designated markets in the country, as well as reflect areas where some values are increasing or decreasing. It is also expected to provide necessary information for individuals to make decisions of when to purchase a house, where and even what type of house to buy. The index’s founder, Roland Igbinoba, said the house price index was a variant of the weighted average or median method. Igbinoba said, “The approach adopted in calculating the RI Index is that of the Laspeyres Index. A Laspeyres house price index calculates the weighted average change in prices over a period for fixed types of houses drawn from some base period. According to him, the index will help to reflect both the relative costs of production and the relative utilities to purchasers as it measures changes in single-family home prices across Lagos and Abuja for a start. The country has a 17 million wide housing deficit.
  • A smartphone manufacturer has set up its first factory in Lagos to provide Africa’s biggest mobile market with low-cost smartphones amid an economic recession. AfriOne’s devices, using the Android operating system, will cost from ₦29,000 to ₦33,000, targeting middle-income buyers in a country of about 180 million people, according to Lekan Akinjide, director of strategy and government coordination at the company. Its first factory has an installed capacity to produce 120,000 units per month, with one other factory planned, he said Friday at an event in Lagos. Parent company Contec Global invested $10 million in the project. Cheaper smartphones are pushing internet penetration in the country, with most people getting online via mobile devices rather than computers. The country had 154 million active mobile-phone users as of February this year, according to data from the Nigeria Communications Commission’s website.