Gabbby Ogbechie, TPG.


Two and one-half years after the transition from the ‘’clueless’’ government of Goodluck Jonathan to the ‘’change’’ government of Muhammadu Buhari, the economy is still mired in the throes of recession. If the classic definition of recession is still the economic situation in which many are out of work, the economy not growing, and wealth not being created, then Nigeria is still wallowing in deep recession.
One would expect that for a government that seeks the welfare of its citizens, the welfare of Nigerian citizens should be the number one priority, but as some of us suspected, the government has rather concerned itself with such divisive policies as the Islamization of Nigeria; a northernization policy which excludes the other regions within the federation from governmental development objectives; paying a blind eye to the destructive activities of Fulani herdsmen or Janjaweed militants; the confusion-fused policy of fighting Boko Haram which it promised to wipe out immediately it assumes office by releasing back into the society, captured Boko Haram terrorists, instead of prosecuting and jailing them; and making the war against IPOB, a non-terrorist organization its priority.

There is this tendency to conjecture that things are the way they are because our political leaders are not truly leaders but managers who can only manage to the level or extent of their capabilities. Most Nigerians are excellent at pointing out the things that are wrong with the economy. However, what Nigeria needs at the moment are leaders who have a map of the Promised Land which the Nigerian ship of State should be steered to.
We therefore feel very deeply about the suffering most of the masses of our countrymen undergo on a daily basis, with no hope, as it were, of things ever getting better. The high rate of unemployment is the reason Boko Haram easily finds recruits; mobs readily gather to maim and lynch; IPOB easily attract adherents; and the embarrassing level of kidnapping, slaughter for body parts and ritual killings tend to be on the increase.
Fifteen years ago, almost to the very date, the Lord God gave me a concept which, when implemented, would get Nigeria back to the path of Economic Growth and Development, and lift many out of the throes of deep and abject poverty. In order to test the Viability of the concept, I engaged my staff at the time in using Nigeria as a test case. Our findings were as follows:
A little over N3.00 trillion in Insurance Premium would be generated per annum;
Over one million enduring jobs would be created;
At the prevailing corporate taxation rate, an additional sum of about N1.67 trillion would be added to government coffers.
The closest I got to the LandAssets Plan scheme being adopted by the Federal Government was in the last government; the problem however was that those who engaged us wanted to take it over; a development we weren’t disposed to accepting.
The LandAssets Plan
The LandAssets Plan is a concept which seeks to increase the volume of property insurance and use it to provide solutions to the world-wide problem of unemployment, and enhance poverty reduction, wealth creation, industrialization, manufacturing and housing provision. Put in a nut shell, the LandAssets Plan could be defined as the compulsory insurance of all urban and semi-urban based Real Estate within an economy, with a view to:

deepening insurance penetration;

increasing insurance volume and increasing appreciably, the Gross Annual

Insurance Premium;

providing therefrom, the required funding for infrastructure provision and maintenance;

providing long term funding for the private sector of the economy;

reducing the cost of funds to single digit from the current, tortuous

Double digit rates; and,

jump-starting the economy from a recessive to a productive one

The Basis for Acceptability
Naturally, the question, what is the basis for the acceptability of the LandAssets Plan Project should be a viable question, since, as has been stated elsewhere, the state of insurance penetration is as low as well under three percent in the Nigerian economy. Given the drive towards attracting higher insurance volume, penetration, and premium, our projections on premiums were considerably lower than what currently obtains in the industry, ranging from 2.5% to 7.5% of units of Real Estate.
Based therefore on premium anyone could derisively refer to as “peppercorn,” the projected increase in insurance volume would be over 500% of the current volume, and would therefore result in a Gross Premium of N3.00 trillion in the first year of implementation of the scheme. Attracting more premiums at lesser premium per unit of Real Estate would therefore result from increased volume of insurance coverage per annum. Without any controversy whatsoever, this makes more sense than insisting on the subsisting rates. Insuring 10,000 houses at N10,000 per unit and grossing N100,000,000.00 per annum makes better sense than covering only 100 units at N100,000.00 per unit and grossing only N10,000,000.00 per annum.

As obtains in so many developing economies, Nigeria is troubled by such economic problems as:
♦ Unavailability of long-term Development Funds;
♦ Infrastructure deficit;
♦High interest rates;
♦ High inflation rates;
♦High rate of Capital flight;
♦ Exchange rates deficiency;
♦ Inadequate housing provision;
♦ Decaying manufacturing infrastructure; and,
♦ Very low rate of industrialization.
The existence of the foregoing problems, result in high unemployment and poverty rates. Such economies are often caught in the throes of recessionary spirals. The problem therefore, properly situated, is the need to conceptualize ways to fund job creation, create wealth, reduce poverty, industrialize the economy, enhance manufacturing, and create the enabling conditions for provision of affordable and adequate housing. Nigeria fits into this mold, and we believe that the LandAssets Plan would work as well in the Nigerian or Greek economy, as well as any economy in which private Real Estate development has been enhanced, but at the peril of the economy.
The State of the Economy Today
In the over thirty odd years since the abrupt end to the second republic, the economy has gone from bad to worse. The pool of the poor has increased at a tremendously scandalous rate. Most efforts at poverty reduction have ended up enhancing the financial status of the same ubiquitous agents that government employs in purchasing the machinery/equipment the beneficiaries of government’s poverty reduction strategies need.
In retrospect, most commentators on the state of the economy have stated without equivocation that the economy is in a worse state now, than was the case thirty odd years ago. It has equally been generally accepted that the problem with the economy, amongst other factors are:
Its mono-cultural nature – oil being the major exportable product, with virtually no value added;
Lack of industrialization;
Lack of long term credit with which to industrialize, enhance the capital formation process, and enhance housing provision for the middle and low income groups.
‘Needs’ and the Restructuring Process
The key to revamping the economy lies in restructuring in such a way such that wastages in every facet of the economy would be, if not entirely eliminated, reduced to the barest minimum. The privatization exercise of the Federal government; the personnel reduction within the Civil Service; and the restructuring of the methods of affecting contractual obligations by the Federal Government, evidence the foregoing assertion. But, at what cost to the economy, especially with regards to the burgeoning army of the unemployed?
However, irrespective of the method found expedient, the object of former President Obasanjo’s NEEDS was to evolve an economy which is restructured to the extent that individuals, small and medium scale enterprises are empowered, through the provision of economic leveraging, by way of venture capital provision and long term credit, to become part of, and play effective roles in evolving a healthy and vibrant economy. The current administration’s resolve to go down the same path is commendable, but given the fact Banks are not given, in this economy, to helping Small Scale entrepreneurs, it is our bet they would make mince-meat of the idea like they have done near similar ideas in the past.
The LandAssets plan, as posited in elsewhere, would, amongst other things:
 Grow the economy by adding trillions of Naira to the GDP during its first year of implementation;
 Add over N… trillion to the GDP over a ten-year period;
 Improve and standardize the Capital Formation process by providing annually for infrastructural development and maintenance;
 Provide long term loan able funds for Industrial, Manufacturing and Housing development;
 Create wealth with the concomitant creation of millions of jobs, traversing the financial {insurance and banking institution}, construction, housing, manufacturing, industrial and service sectors of the economy;
 Raise the funds for giving the economy the required head-start by attracting insurance premium on our national Real Estate, the value of which we have estimated at N 900 trillion;
 Evolve a private sector driven economy which is neither dependent on government nor oil, given that an estimated N15.00 trillion per annum would be realized as Annual Premium during the first five years of implementation;
 Impact the GDP by cumulatively adding over N30.0 trillion to the economy over a ten-year period.

The question naturally, is how is it possible?
We began our enquiry by taking a good look at our economy and its attendant problems, which are typical of most developing African and third world countries. Such problems are as follows:
1. Lack of fully developed capital formation process;
2. Lack of a well-developed manufacturing /industrial sector;
3. Prevalence of high interest (lending) and exchange rates;
4. An external debt overhang, which basically, enslaves third world nations;
5. Lack of long term loans for meaningful Manufacturing/Industrial investments;
6. Lack of response to the phenomenon of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer;
7. Evidence of non performing wealth all over the economy;
8. Lack of wealth creation schemes;
9. Lack of job creation schemes;
10.Lack of any wealth redistribution scheme or policy.

Ten – Year Cash Flow Projection of The LandAssets Plan
From the projections, deductions and computations we have made, in consonance with our projections above under the subject scheme, we shall be dealing with a net worth of N 900 trillion in Real Estate, country-wide. If allowed to function as projected, our analyses of this net worth show the following computations/ figures for the first five years of implementation of the LandAssets plan:
Capital and Insurable Value ………      N 900 trillion
Rental Value                        ………       N 45 trillion
Annual Premium                 ……….      N 2.7 trillion
Valuation Fee   (ES&V)            ………      N 45 billion
Other Professionals              ………..      N 100 billion
Retention by Insurance Companies…  N2.30 trillion (1st year)
Retention by Insurance Companies … N2.35 billion (2 – 5 yrs)
Coordination/Management Fee …   N 270 billion

S/No

Year

 

CapitalValue

N Trillio

RentalValueN Trillion PremiumBuildings      N

Trillion

PremiumContentN 

trillion

Valuation FeeNtrillion OtherProfessionalsNtrillion RetentionIns. CoysNtrillion    Coordination/mngmtFeeNtrillion
1 900 45 2.300 0.700 0.045  0.100 2.33 0.270
2 900 45 2.300 0.700  0.100 2.33 0.270
3 900 45 2.300 0.700  0.100 2.33 0.270
4 900 45 2.300 0.700  0.100 2.33 0.270
5 900 45 2.300 0.700  0.100 2.33 0.270
6 1000 50 2.500 1.000 0.050  0.150 2.515 0.300
7 1000 50 2.500 1.000  0.150 2.565 0.300
8 1000 50 2.500 1.000  0.150 2.565 0.300
9 1000 50 2.500 1.000  0.150 2.565 0.300
10 1000 50 2.500 1.000  0.150 2.565 0.300

Note: We project an annual expenditure of 10% of the insurance companies’ retention [i.e. N23.3 billion] as out-going for Loss Adjustments or claims. This would have the effect of creating more jobs.
Moreover, we shall insist that the foremost qualification for participating in the implementation of the LandAssets Plan by Insurance, Construction, Engineering, Estate Surveying, Law, Banking and members of the Service sectors would be to employ new hands, commensurate with the benefit accruable to them from the LandAssets Plan implementation. We expect to therefrom generate one million jobs within the first year, and another million in the second year.
Implementation would result in the following:
1. the problem of mobilization of long-term capital for investment would be finally and adequately addressed, with the Insurance Companies becoming the major players in the financial economy, as should be;
2. the problem of funding, infrastructural provision, and maintenance would also be over, vide the establishment of the Infrastructure Development and Management Fund (IDMF), to which the participating insurance companies would subscribe, and particular effort would be made to construct roads, fire hydrants, and such other provisions for fighting fire, with a view to blotting out our national shame of always knowing that properties worth billions are regularly destroyed by fire, because of lack of water and other firefighting equipment;
3. Investments in the solid minerals exploitation area by insurance companies vide long term loans and direct investment with their surplus funds from the envisaged Annual Premium;
4. Investments by the insurance companies in other aspects of the industrialization / manufacturing processes;
5. Investments by the insurance companies by granting of loans and direct investments in housing programmes;
6. Elimination of individual losses sustainable by property owners who, prior to the introduction of this scheme, often found it impossible to restore burnt/ destroyed properties;
7. Prompt settlement of claims without recourse to time and finance wasting court actions, and the attendant declining from assumed insurable risks, which itself has the effect of destroying the insuring company’s reputation;
8. Reversing the perceived ignoble trend of foisting the cost of running the economy on the poor;
9. Using the wealth of the rich to administer the needs of the economy in a way that further enhances the benefits to such property owners, thereby fostering a win-win situation between the insuring companies and property owners;
10. Fostering a new economic scenario whereby the poor would accept that government policy is not making further financial demands on them;
11. Creation of employment opportunities in every sector of the economy, thereby generating employment opportunities of at least two million jobs by its second year of implementation;
12. Provision of a conducive economic climate for the implementation of the Economic Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government;
13. Enhancement of the GDP of the economy and the per capita income;
14. Reduction of the lending rate, thereby reducing the misery index of the economy;
15. Effectively evolving a private sector driven economy;
16. Increasing the exportation quotient of the solid mineral sector, thereby increasing the economy’s external / offshore income;
17. Effectively beginning the process of wealth creation and redistribution;
18. Effectively increasing by several folds, the size and capacity of the overall finance sector of the economy; and
19. Effectively transforming the economy for good.
The Way to Implementation
First, it is necessary to state clearly and unequivocally that this is not a proposal to the Federal Government for a contract in the usual use of the term. The Federal Government is not under obligation to pay one kobo to LandAssets Consult. But this, inevitably, is an invitation to partner with LandAssets Consult to enable the Insurance companies to become the backbone of the economy by bridging the economy to the long term capital it is in dire need of.
While the insurance companies would be empowered through this concept to grow from a N350 billion per annum industry to a N3.00 odd trillion one, the Federal Government would benefit by realizing about N1.67 trillion per annum in corporate tax, and a further N500 billion in Special Development Fund Appropriation (SDFA) over a period of five years for which Debt Certificates would be issued to the Insurance companies from which the funds would be appropriated, redeemable over ten year periods.
The above stipulation is necessary because otherwise, the insurance company executives would fritter the whole funds away in Capital Flight, unearned bonuses and other frivolities. Moreover, the SDFA is not to be shared among States or State Governors who have become more adept at making development funds disappear into foreign banks.
The first step therefore towards the implementation of the LandAssets Plan, is a legislation authorizing the Compulsory Insurance of all Urban and Semi-Urban located Real Estate at Designated, Affordable Premium Rates which LandAssets would work out at the appropriate time.
LandAssets Consult would play the roles of Conceptualizer, Manager and Co-coordinator of the project. At the concept stage, LandAssets would be an Insurance Agent, and like the average Insurance Agency, would be entitled to twenty percent of the Revenue it generates for the insurance companies. In addition, LandAssets would manage and co-ordinate the entire process; from allocation of the insurable properties to the realization of the Premium Sums by the Insurance companies.
Without necessarily sounding off, we believe that there is no better plan by any government, corporation or institution, not just in this economy, but in the entire world to harness the latent value in the largest investment in the entire world – Real Estate, and using such funds to create wealth, create jobs, reduce poverty, and enable the processes of Infrastructure Development and Capital Formation than the LandAssets plan.
In a world in which the likes of Jack Ma, the founder and chief executive officer of Alibaba.com has resolved to surpass the economies of France and Britain by 2025 through innovation, it is a shame that our economy has consistently gone backwards because of our economy’s reliance on Crude Oil. Give us the place to stand, and we shall not only move Nigeria, but the entire world.
Finally, beyond mere rhetoric, the implementation of the LandAssets Plan will definitely put a check on the migratory tendencies of young Nigerians, who risk life and limb to get to Europe, despite the dehumanizing experiences they undergo in Libya and other migration routes. More than anything, therefore, we believe that the implementation of the LandAssets Plan would help restore the human dignity of the average Nigerian youth.
We look forward to working with the Presidency and the Federal Government towards making the LandAssets Plan concept a reality. We are not aware that there’s a better alternative anywhere else.
Like President Barrack Obama said in one of his ”State of the Union” addresses, “opportunities abound, let’s get to work.” Give a helping hand in reducing poverty. Help us to create wealth.

 

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