EMI FALOUGHI: Bayelsa Govt Is Providing Jobs with New Yenagoa City Project

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Ms. Emi Faloughi is no less an African Amazon. A consummate professional, with more than 20 years’ experience garnered in the public and private sectors in the United States and Nigeria, she has with a first degree in Communications and Spanish from the London Guildhall University and subsequent Masters in Urban Planning from the Hunter College New York, graduating with distinctions. Faloughi spent eight crucial years, honing her skills as an urban planner in New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Heeding the home call, she returned to Nigeria in 2007. Currently, Faloughi is the vice president of TEEOF Holdings, a company with a diverse portfolio spanning the entertainment, hospitality and realty and a director in Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc. A key player in Bayelsa State’s estate development revolution, she shares insights on the New Yenagoa City project with Stanley Nkwazema

One had expected that at least the Golf Estate model houses, a component of the estate development revolution in Bayelsa State should have been on the ground for investors, corporate bodies and individuals to access

Construction of prototype housing for the Golf Estate project commenced in April 2019. In order to appeal to the broadest pool of potential homebuyers, we are developing five prototype units that include apartments, semi-detached and detached houses – all to be finished to a very high standard. As for the Golf Estate itself, siting it within the golf course guarantees that homeowners/investors can enjoy the serenity and beauty of the natural landscape while enjoying world-class infrastructure and facilities such as (roads, drainage, water, electricity and security).

Data is key to driving development. Bayelsa is not detailed in terms of mappings and other technical areas. How are you tackling the problems of data as an aid to churning out world-class facilities?

The New Yenagoa City Development Agency is intent on making data collection, dissemination and storage an important focus of its duties. We are currently working on providing the state an up-to-date topographical study of the NYC area. Thus, all information provided to developers, development monitoring, enforcement activities and NYCDA advisory services will be based on current physical landscape in the area.

Do you have enough manpower and equipment to supervise, deploy and ensure that the master plan is not in any way distorted?

Yes, we do! Bayelsa State government already employs many town planners, surveyors, engineers and other technically proficient people in fields needed to

monitor and manage development. The New Yenagoa City Development Agency is the vehicle by which the state is providing local talent, the right equipment, software, and drone technology to deliver the development of New Yenagoa City effectively and efficiently.

The Yenagoa City project is fashioned after an Avant Garde project. What is actually delaying its actual take-off and ground-breaking?

There is no delay. New Yenagoa City (NYC) is already under development. Public allocation of the GRA land is already fully subscribed. Key elements of the leisure and hospitality features in NYC are either already functioning or under construction. For example, within NYC, The Royal Tulip Castle Hotel has been opened for business since Q4, 2018 and the Bayelsa PGA Championship Golf Course has 13 of its 18 holes finished on schedule for completion by the end of this government’s tenure in February 2020.

Are you experiencing technical problems and how to hit the ground running?

There is no development without challenges. From slow-downs caused by heavy rains in this season, to community relations, tight funding and peculiar terrain issues, of course we have experienced problems. NYC is not special in this regard.

However, we are well positioned to tackle and overcome whatever challenges we come across.

How are you going to incorporate existing structures like the existing polo and golf projects into the Yenagoa City?

These are already an integral part of the leisure and sporting life of New Yenagoa City.

On the whole, how many plots will be made available and what are the cost implications?

Plots in the GRA are already fully subscribed. As for plots in the Golf Estate Course (situated in the middle of the Bayelsa Golf Course itself), when open for sale, we envisage between N12 & N18 million per plot depending on size and extent of infrastructure provided.