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“The Nigerian Construction Market is Brutal” – Andrea Geday, CEO Elalan Construction

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by Manny Ita

The Nigerian construction market has been described as ‘brutal’ by the Chief Executive Officer of Elalan Construction Company, Mr. Andrea Geday.

Geday made the remark recently when the company hosted prospective buyers ofd its newly built Saphire penthouses in the Lekki axis of Lagos State.

According to him, the construction sector has been rough because of the recession in the country in the last two to three years which has made things rather slow.

“Its been brutal and we have survived by a miracle. The only reason we have survived is because we have managed the recession well; by reducing our prices and our margins. We’ve frozen salary increments and reduced salaries of high earning staff. So surviving the sector was really a collaborative effort from all the staff.” Geday said.

Speaking further Geday averred that the disruption was unprecedented as Nigeria has hardly been ever hit by recession, attributing it partly to the change in government and the erratic fluctuations in the price of crude oil.

Assuring that the industry had gone through the worst and it could only get better, Geday pointed that the two areas in which the government could ameliorate the sector, were in mortgages and technical education.

“There is no country that has ever developed without mortgages. The government needs to provide affordable mortgages for the people. The current mortgages at 19% can double any loan in three years. The government needs to provide cheap mortgages that can span between 25 to 50 years.” He said.

In the area of technical education , the building guru disclosed that there was a shortfall in skilled manpower in the industry, a situation which has prompted them to set up their own vocational school.

“We intend to fill this gap by employing experts; but by also training our own workers in-house and setting up a school where the needed skills can be acquired or honed.”

He commended the government for having carried out various initiatives to improve the country’s economy, especially in the area of agriculture.

“The government has carried out a lot of initiatives in the agric sector which has paid off handsomely, and that is why more big companies and trading individuals have gone into the commodity export business. Today you have people exporting sesame, cashew, rice, peanuts, cocoa, etc to countries like cameroon, chad, etc”

“The shortage of Forex has also compelled these companies to earn their own forex, making them the equivalent of the commodity boards and it is working. This is one initiative that i think has paid off.” Geday said.

Elalan Construction’s building project in Lekki is one conceived to bring a new dimension to housing in a classic example of a mixed use community. And with its Saphire penthouses due to be ready for occupation by January next year, owners are sure to enjoy some of the best modern facilities, some of which Mr Geday enumerated to include; spacious living spaces with great outdoor areas, swimming pool, tennis courts, parks, a shopping mall expected to rival The Palms and Ikeja Shopping Mall, the great views of the city and the ocean as well as basement car parks, complete with first class security.

With the quality of the project and the professionalism of its promoters, Geday assured that buyers will surely get their money’s worth and even more.

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BUSINESS

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has splashed scholarships worth N2.7 million on 18 customers under its XploreFirst promo initiative to boost savings culture and promote financial inclusion among students.

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By Chinyere Joel- Nwokeoma (NAN)

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winners were drawn from the six geopolitical zones and Lagos at the final/ grand raffle of XploreFirst promo on Friday in Lagos.

The winners emerged through an electronic draw handled by Tequila on behalf of the bank and supervised by KPMG, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lagos State Lottery Board and Consumer Protection Commission (CPC).

At the event, Mr Chuma Ezirim, FirstBank Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, said: “XploreFirst is a FirstBank savings account variant designed specifically for students between the age range of 18 to 29.’’

Ezirim said that a minimum amount of N1, 000 was required to open the account and account holders are to maintain a minimum balance of N200 to run the account.

He said that the XploreFirst promo was one of the special benefits of the account.

According to him, the 18 winners that emerged at the final draw will be offered yearly scholarships of N150,000 each.

Ezirim said that the initiative was targeted at youths, especially those in tertiary institutions and informal sector, to enhance savings culture and drive financial inclusion across the country.

“Customers are offered yearly scholarships of N150,000 as incentives to maintain a certain amount of deposit, in this case, N10,000 in their account over a 30-day period to qualify for the monthly draws and giveaways.

“Customers who  successfully maintain the set balance over the six months period are eligible to win the jackpot of N150,000, the grand finale prize,’’ he said.

Ezirim noted that the initiative would be sustained by the ban k  in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial inclusion mandate.

Also speaking, Mr Olufemi Odumuboni, the bank’s Head, Youth/Women Banking, said  the promo dynamics was centered at making people to engage in financial discipline.

Odumuboni said that winners were selected based on certain principles that made them eligible to qualify for the draw.

He explained that apart from the N2.7 million set aside for the yearly scholarships, the bank had splashed about N900, 000 to customers who emerged winners at the various monthly draws for data purchase for their mobile phones.

“Winners from the monthly draw selected from the bank’s six geopolitical zones are entitled to N5, 000 each which they are encouraged to use for data purchase for their mobile phones,” Odumuboni stated.

Ms Susie Onwuka of CPC, commended the bank for ensuring transparency throughout the promotion process.

Onwuka said the bank had deployed modern technology in the promo process to eliminate bias, noting that, the agency was happy with the process and the bank.

“Promotions should be registered to show transparency and ensure fairness to the consumers,” she said.

Onwuka said the regulatory body would follow up with the winners to ensure they were rewarded accordingly.

NAN reports that some of the scholarship winners included Mr Offiong Micheal, Mr Ezugba Chukwuebuka, Mr Olorunfemi Oluwatunmise, Mr Adekale Adenike and Ms Agbakwuru Dorcas.

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FirstBank Hits N1 Trillion in Transactions Processed through its Firstmonie Network

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Nigeria’s premier financial services provider and Bank of first choice, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that its Firstmonie network has processed a cumulative transaction value of N1 trillion from its relaunch in January 2018. The network also achieved nationwide coverage in record time, enabling access to financial services for many locations that never had a way for its residents to access financial services. This is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s objective of bringing banking services close to all Nigerians, irrespective of where they live.

FirstBank’s Firstmonie service provides financial/banking solutions to rural and semi-urban locations across the country, such as account opening, cash deposit, cash withdrawals, airtime purchase, bill payments and much more. Through this channel, the Bank is committed to providing convenient services that endears trust and provides ease of access to banking products, thereby saving time and travel costs for users of our network.

According to Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, the Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; “The Firstmonie scheme is supporting the Federal Government’s empowerment and job creation agenda as over 22,000 Nigerians, through this scheme, contribute to the increased economic activities of their neighborhoods. Our partner network is growing and we are particularly delighted about the progress we are making in actively driving nationwide Financial Inclusion, exposing communities to opportunities for growth, jobs, empowerment, and improved live conditions. Yet again, we are delighted to score another first in promoting financial inclusion in the country.”

“We appreciate our partner network and remain committed to working together to achieve even greater impact on the lives of Nigerians”, he concluded

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SEC approves MTN listing on NSE

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that it has approved MTN Nigeria’s application to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by way of introduction.

Mrs Efe Ebelo, SEC Head, Corporate Communications, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Ebelo said the commission has approved the company’s application to be listed on the nation’s bourse by way of introduction.

She said that the company has successfully completed the registration of 20,354,513,050 ordinary shares of N0.02 each with the commission.

NAN recalls that MTN Nigeria on May 6 filed an application with SEC and the exchange for listing by introduction.

SEC recently said that it received an application from MTN requesting for registration of their existing securities.

“They have applied for listing by introduction which will enable the company to be listed and allow shareholders sell their shares on the floor of the exchange,” Ebelo said.

Mr Henry Rowlands, SEC Acting Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, told NAN that the commission was committed to work with MTN Nigeria.

“SEC is committed to work with them, when they list by way of introduction naturally it will translate to public offering by and large.

“It’s better that they come to the market even if it’s by way of introduction because it will encourage other service providers to access the market,” Rowlands said.

Reacting to the approval, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd commended SEC for speedy approval.

Omordion said that MTN Nigeria July target for listing would be feasible with the approval, noting that the listing might be concluded before the target date,

NAN reports that MTN Nigeria recently changed its status from a private company to a public liability company (PLC) ahead of its listing on the exchange.

NAN reports that the conversion was one of the requirements for listing on the exchange.

The company had previously announced that it looks to list on the NSE before July, saying it plans to enter the market by way of listing by introduction.

Speaking on the conversion, Fredi Moolman, MTN Chief Executive Officer, said the listing was part of its commitment to localisation in the markets in which it operates.

“Our conversion to a Plc is a major step towards listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the first half of 2019.

“It is a reaffirmation of our long-term commitment to expanding investment opportunities for Nigerians, in addition to providing everyday services to them.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the SEC and NSE to take forward the listing process,” Moolman said.

NAN reports that listing on the NSE was one of the conditions reached in the resolution of a N330 billion fine placed on the telco by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its inability to disconnect improperly registered SIM cards.

NAN

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