Adetoke Benson-Awoyinka is the Special Adviser to the Lagos state Governor on Housing and Development. In this interview, she speaks on the renewed vision for the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) among other related issues. Excerpts:
What does LASRERA seek to achieve for Lagos State government and citizens?
The aim is to ensure the creation of an innovative and sustainable environment to promote Lagos as a real estate investment destination in Africa.
We want everything about housing and real estate Lagos to be well regulated. We want to know the agents and their offices so that when anything comes up, we can defend our people.
For agents who shortchange people, we want to ensure that we go through the full length of the law to get them prosecuted.
So if you defraud people, you will be charged with obtaining by false pretense under the criminal code of the law, and we will make sure the court system prosecute you to the fullest and the properties are forfeited.
That’s the big punishment for whoever is defrauding people, but also a relief for our people as they can be sure they will get their money back.
That is why we are here. Those that have been defrauded in the past can come into our offices to lay their complaints with information that can help. We will investigate and would do our best to make sure we bring the culprits to book.
Why did you consider it better as an agency instead of its former status as a department under the Ministry of Housing?
As a department, the law constraints how far you can go. As a full-fledged agency, it has become standalone where anybody can walk into; it’s properly managed, and well suited. It’s like you comparing a little boy and a grown man.
The difference in their abilities will be huge. As a full agency right now, LASRERA has the full requirement of the law to go after whoever does anything wrong.
So we expect people to comply with the law and be our brothers’ keeper. If you suspect anything, we have a whistleblowing section. We want you to report to us what is going on in the streets of Lagos.
Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration efforts in housing seem to be spreading across the state. In what way will LASRERA address the shortage in accommodation currently being experienced by residents?
Lagos State has been the commercial nerve center of Nigeria and by extension Africa, hence the continuous migration of people into the state.
With its over 126 years of business operations in Nigeria – indeed the first Nigerian company to be listed and broadcasted on CNN 100 club – the bank has been at the forefront of empowering the young and indigent elderly citizens, lifting the downtrodden out of poverty and hardships, rekindling hope, putting smiles on the faces of younger generation of Enterprenuers through issuance of low and friendly interest credit facility which transcend to building and promoting the small and medium scale businesses in the remotest rural areas and urban cities across the Niger.
These are and many more strides have distinguished FirstBank in Nigeria.
HEALTH SERVICE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
To ensure that Lagos Residents at the grassroots across the state has unhindered access to affordable, effective and qualitative health care services, the Lagos State Health Management Agency partnered with FirstBank to utilize its over 13,000 FirstMobile Agents as payment channels for the Lagos State Health Scheme.
During the flag off ceremony, LASHMAGM, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba Said “The partnership became necessary to facilitate ease of health insurance premium transactions for Residents, especially at the Grassroot.
Zamba however mentioned that FirstBank was selected for the partnership in recognition of its effectiveness, efficiency and large clientele.
For easy access and stress free payment of Lagos Residents’ health insurance premiums, Firstmonie payment platform was considered the best.
Dr. Zamba explained that the partnership offer opportunity to pay either N40,000 annually for family plan or N8,500 annually for individual plan via the Firstmonie Agents.
“Once the insurance premium is paid before 25th of every month, such enrollee can receive care from the first day of the following month at any public or private hospital of their choice within the scheme’s network of Providers”, Zamba clarified.
While commending the Lagos State Government, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Gbenga Shobo said “the initiative will have a crucial role at improving the life expectancy of Lagos Residents whilst promoting their increased contribution to the growth and development of state.
FIRSTBANK, LAGOS STATE EMPLOYMENT TRUST FUND PARTNERSHIP AND SMES
FirstBank partnered with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). The scheme was launched in September by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan.
It is designed to cushion the resultant effects of the Covid-19 on low-cost private schools at an attractive lending interest rate.
While delivering his speech, Dr. Adeduntan said “At FirstBank, we recognise indelible roles played by the Education sector in the growth of any economy and this underscores our partnership with the Lagos State Government for continuous development of the education services in Lagos State and the nation as a whole. The commitment by the Lagos State Government -including this partnership to enable schools is quite commendable as this will mitigate the challenges caused by the lockdown on the education sector following the Covid-19.
The 2019 KPMG’s Annual Banking industry customer satisfaction survey named FirstBank as the ‘Biggest Mover in the SME Space’. It also earned the financial institution the most popular Bank among MSMEs for deposit transactions and credit loan facilities with 20% of SMEs surveyed.
In recognition of the role SMEs play as the engine of the economy, FirstBank has been at the forefront of having them equipped with the required knowledge and information with a view to easing their sustainability. These have been achieved through several SME events including; an SME Business Clinic train that moved from Lagos to Abuja and Port-Harcourt in February.
The Bank later embarked on virtual SME-based events, in order to adhere to the social distancing guideline essential to promoting the safety of every participant in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. These SME based webinars include SME Business Clinic in May as well as the SME Connect webinar to promote the growth of education sector held in July amongst others.
The value generated from the Bank’s unprecedented business support and development activities to the small and medium scale enterprises, especially the young entrepreneurs across the Niger cannot be quantified.
With its mantra, You First, FirstBank leaves no stone unturned in putting its customers first as it continues to deliver the gold standard of value and excellence to the banking and business climate across the world.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Adigun stated that the acquisition was part of his planned investment in the Nigerian economy, adding that the process of buying Fidelity bank was almost done, attributing the little delay to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Fidelity bank purchase is almost done. COVID-19 delayed the process a little due to everything closing down, but the process just picked up again. I was told I have to open a bank account and will need BVN. I am planning to come to Nigeria to do that as soon as possible,” the businessman was quoted as saying in an interview published on Friday.
The Osun State-born billionaire is the owner and chief operating officer of Golden Glades Treatment Center, as well as Adigun Investment Group, with stakes in nine companies operating in commercial real estate, several e-commerce companies. as well as wind and solar energy among others.
“Mr. Peter Aletor, Managing Director for Apel Asset Limited, and a friend, Mr Tosin Afolabi, have been very helpful on the acquisition of Fidelity Bank. Afolabi will be partner in my bank venture in Nigeria with small shares,” he said of his foray into the Nigerian economy.
Market capitalization moved from N300.36 billion as at the 4th of January, 2021 to N346.57 billion.
The shares of Access Bank Nigeria Plc have gained N44.4 billion since the commencement of trading at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) market on the 4th of January 2021 – 10 days of transaction.
This was uncovered by Nairametrics after tracking the performance of the shares of the bank on the floor of the NSE.
This is sequel to efforts by the group to further expand its territory and consolidate on its growth potentials, evident by its obtaining of regulatory approval to operate as a holding company and completion of the Cavmont Bank Limited deal, as reported by Nairametrics.
Nairametrics learnt that a combination of impressive financial performance by the group, evident by its 9M 2020 results, and the increased buying interest in its shares, all contributed to the upward movement of the bank’s market capitalization, from N300.36 billion to N344.79 billion, indicating a gain of 14.8% in the review period.
Things to know
Access Bank Plc had earlier reported a Profit After Tax of N102.3 billion for 9M 2020, up by 15.7%
At the time of this report, Access Bank Plc shares traded at N9.7, compared to an opening price of N8.45, indicating an increase of 14.8%.
The outstanding shares of the firm currently stand at 35,545,225,622 units.