- Reduce Your Rents, FG Tells Landlords
The Federal Government on Tuesday charged property developers to reduce their rents and the value of properties in consideration of the economic hardship across the country.
According to the government, the values of properties and rents in other nations of the world are falling as a result of the global economic slowdown being experienced.
Speaking at the inauguration of board members of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria in Abuja, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said many houses in Nigeria were empty while a lot of people lacked accommodation.
He said, “For me, I think the most important message I’ll like to share at this inauguration is to pose the question on whether the current land valuation system and values are consistent with the reality of our economy. You as experts must answer that question because we have a very challenging economy.
“Just recently, I checked the property markets in some other jurisdictions and because there is a global economic slowdown, what we see is that people are offering discounts in order to ensure optimum occupancy. But I’m not sure that the practice is the same here.
“So are these values consistent with the realities? Why are we not seeing rates, rents and values drop? Why are we having many houses unoccupied when people are looking for accommodation? The argument sometimes has been that properties are valued higher so that it can have impact on percentages and commissions.”
He told members of the board to work with the Federal Government in answering these questions, adding that they must consider the prevalent economic situation in the country in coming up with answers.
Fashola made it clear that as the board must work out ways of tackling the problem of high house rents and advance payments, particularly in major cities across the country.
The minister said, “Let me just ask you a question since everybody is here; is there nothing that we can do in this country about this practice of demanding rent for two, three years in advance from people who get their salaries monthly in arrears? Is there nothing that can be done, because we can’t continue like this?”
In his response, the Chairman, ESVARBON, Mr. Olayinka Sonaike, said the pressure on property developers from lenders with respect to the repayment of loans was one factor that often force developers to seek for advance rent payment.
Sonaike stated that if there were substantial mortgage loans from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for developers, the situation would not be the same, while another member of the board called for a legislation that would mandate landlords to comply.
But Fashola insisted that property developers should come out with ingenious ways of tackling the situation, as he stressed that handling the issue was more than passing a law to that effect.
He said, “We must first of all question the practice, look at its strengths and weaknesses and its damage on the entire economy. For instance, as a minister, my salary is N900,000, so when you ask me to go and bring rent for two years in advance that I have not earned, and I actually bring it, shouldn’t you start worrying?
“So when you suddenly see that the price of water, food, etc., begin to spike, are we really gaining? Because one way or the other, I’m going to get back what you collected from me. It’s a matter of conscience. Can you pay for a taxi before you board it?”
Sonaike urged the minister to collaborate with ESVARBON, particularly in the construction of housing units in each state of the federation.
Eat’N’Go Expands To East Africa, Projects 180 Stores By Year End
In a bid to further extend its tentacles beyond the West African market, Eat’N’Go limited, one of the leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operators in Nigeria and master franchisee for world-class food brands – Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt, announced its expansion into the East African market.
This development comes after the successful acquisition of the franchisee which operated Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza in Kenya. This acquisition will see Eat’N’Go limited become the largest Domino’s pizza and Cold Stone Creamery Master Franchisee in Africa with operations in Nigeria and Kenya.
Since its entrance to Nigeria in 2012, the QSR company has grown exponentially and has continuously nurtured the drive to extend its footprint across the African market. This acquisition provides them their first foreign market expansion, making them a Pan African company with a total number of 147 outlets across Africa and a projection to reach 180 stores by end of 2021.
Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Eat’N’Go Limited, Patrick McMichael said that expanding into East Africa represents a very exciting time in the growth of the organization and also a strategic investment for the firm and its stakeholders. “Over the years, we have fostered the mission to not just bring the best QSR brands to Africa, but to directly impact on Africa’s economy and we are glad we are finally on the way to making this happen. Studying the growth of the Kenyan market in the last couple of years, we are convinced that now is the time to extend our footprint into the country.”
“We are very thrilled about this expansion as this move avails us more opportunity to provide Jobs to more Africans, especially in times like this. We remain thankful to all our customers, partners, and stakeholders who have supported us this far and we are more than ready to strengthen our dedication in satisfying the needs of our customers” Patrick added.
Eat’N’Go has over the years maintained its position as the leading food franchisee in Nigeria. As it expands its presence to other parts of Africa, the organization also places a strong focus on the quality of its products and services of all its three brands. The expansion to this new region is in line with the company’s plan to reach 180 stores across Africa by the end of 2021.
The milestone achievement and development will better position the company in its contribution to Nigeria and Africa’s economy. Currently home to over 3000 staff members across Africa, the company is committed to continuously provide job and business opportunities across the continent.
Eat’N’Go launched in 2012 in Nigeria with the vision to become the premier food operator in Africa. Today, the company has over 147 stores in Nigeria and Kenya and it continues to deliver on this promise by successfully rolling out the globally recognised brands Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza across Africa. The company continues to expand its presence in key markets by fusing company goals with new strategic development goals and is projected to reach 180 stores across Africa by end of 2021.
Shoprite Exit: LCCI Explains Challenges Hurting Business Operations in Nigeria
Following the recent announcement of Shoprite, a leading South Africa retail giant, that it is leaving the Nigerian market due to harsh business environment and tough business policies, Dr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has explained some of the challenges responsible for such decision despite Nigeria’s huge population size.
Yusuf said while such decision is negative for the Nigerian economy, several factors like harsh business environment could have forced the company to make such decision. He said it also could be due to intense competitive pressure.
He said, “Shoprite is an international brand with presence in 14 African countries and about 3,000 stores. The comparative analysis of returns on investment in these countries may have informed the decision to exit the Nigeria market.
“The opportunities for retail business in Nigeria is immense. But the competition in the sector is also very intense.
“There are departmental stores in practically every neighbourhood in our urban centres around the country. There is also a strong informal sector presence in the retail sector. It is a very competitive space.”
According to the Director-General, there are also important investment climate issues that constitute downside risks to big stores like Shoprite.
He said, “These include the trade policy environment, which imposes strict restrictions on imports; the regulatory environment, which is characterised by a multitude of regulators making endless demands.
“There is also the foreign exchange policy, which has made imports and remittances difficult for foreign investors. There are challenges of infrastructure which put pressures on costs and erodes profit margins.”
The LCCI boss added, “But we need to stress that Shoprite is only divesting and selling its shares; Shoprite as a brand will remain. I am sure there are many investors who will be quite delighted to take over the shares.
“It should be noted that there are other South African firms in Nigeria doing good business. We have MTN, Multichoice, Stanbic IBTC, and Standard Chartered Bank, among others. Some of them are making more money in Nigeria than in South Africa.”
He added that some sectors are more vulnerable to the challenges of the business environment than others.
Afrinvest Appoints Mrs. Onaghinon As COO
Afrinvest West Africa Limited, has appointed the former head of public private partnership agency of the Edo State, Mrs Onoise Onaghinon as its chief operating officer.
Onaghinon joined Afrinvest in 2003 as an analyst in the firm’s investment banking division, rising through the ranks to become an associate, then vice president and eventually executive director & head of investment banking.
She is a seasoned veteran in the Nigerian capital markets and investment landscape with over 18 years of experience in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings across many industries.
In 2017, Onaghinon took a sabbatical from the Firm to head the Public Private Partnership Agency of the Edo State Government. Having acquitted herself creditably in the public sector, she has rejoined the Firm to resume as the new COO.
Speaking on the appointment, group managing director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, said: “over the years, Onaghinon has demonstrated great leadership, professional excellence and outstanding client commitment in driving the firm’s business units, particularly our investment banking division. We are delighted to have her back and we look forward to leveraging her cross-disciplinary experience across the Afrinvest group”.
In her new role, Onaghinon will oversee human resources, legal & compliance, internal control and general services while leading the firm’s initiatives to improve efficiency across its subsidiaries.
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