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 We’ll create conducive environment to boost investments, Edun tells Microsoft

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The  minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Wale Edun, says the Federal Government is committed to creating a conducive business environment in Nigeria.

 

According to a statement by Mohammed Manga, the ministry’s director, information and public relations, Edun gave the assurance when he received a delegation from Microsoft Nigeria, led by Olatomiwa Williams, its country manager.

 

He said the business-friendly environment will encourage multinational companies to expand their investments in the country with a view to contributing to the nation’s economic growth and development.

 

The minister emphasised the administration’s understanding of the strategic importance of sector leaders like Microsoft.

The meeting, he said, marks a significant step forward in building a collaborative relationship between the federal government and multinational technology companies — driving economic development and innovation in Nigeria.

 

Also speaking, Williams said the Microsoft team was on a visit to address recent media reports.

 

He said the multinational firm also intended to explore potential areas of partnerships between the federal government and the technology giant.

Contrary to speculations, the managing director said Microsoft remains committed to its operations in Nigeria.

 

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He expressed the company’s desire to partner with the government in areas of mutual interest, such as cyber security and youth upskilling.

 

On May 8, it was reported that Microsoft sacked its workers at the Africa Development Centre (ADC), located in Lagos.

 

However, Temitope Ajayi, senior special assistant to President Bola Tinubu on media and publicity, denied reports that Microsoft would shut down its operations in Nigeria.

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Otedola buys N18.9bn shares to regain position as biggest shareholder in FBN Holdings

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Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman and chairman of FBN Holdings, has regained his position as the majority shareholder of First Bank.

 

According to corporate filings on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) on Thursday, Otedola now owns 9.41 percent shares in the bank.

 

This became possible after he purchased the group’s shares valued at N18.9 billion.

 

According to the corporate filings, the billionaire paid N21.91 per share or N6.935 billion for 316,506,776 shares.

 

He then bought an additional 546,674,034 shares through Calvados Global Services Limited, his holding company, for N21.97 per share — totalling N12.01 billion.

 

With this, the number of shares recently acquired totalled 863,180,810.

 

The fresh acquisition has increased Otedola’s shares (direct and indirect) in FBN Holdings to 3,380,462,950 — from 2,517,282,140 shares.

 

This means the businessman is now the highest shareholder in the company, overtaking Barbican Capital Limited, owned by Oba Otudeko, which has 3,110,400,619 direct shares.

READ  Microsoft sacks workers at African Development Centre in Nigeria

 

In January, FBN Holdings appointed Otedola as the chairman of its board of directors.

 

The appointment came two years after the investor became the firm’s single largest shareholder in December 2021, when he increased his stake to 7.57 percent.

 

A month after the appointment, FBN Holdings named Barbican Capital Limited as its majority shareholder — making Otedola the second major shareholder at the time.

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Price of 12.5kg cooking gas increased by 63% in one year, says NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the price of 12.5 kilograms (kg) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), better known as cooking gas, has increased by 63.85 percent in one year.

 

This is contained in the agency’s report on LPG (cooking gas) price watch for May 2024 on June 20.

 

NBS said the average price for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in May increased to N15,627.40, compared to N9,537.89 in May 2023.

 

On a month-on-month basis, the bureau said the average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of LPG dropped by 0.07 percent in a month — from N15,637.74 in April 2024 to N15,627.40 in May 2024.

 

“The average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg Cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) declined by 0.07% on a month-on-month basis from N15,637.74 in April 2024 to N15,627.40 in May 2024,” NBS said.

 

“On a year-on-year basis, this rose by 63.85% from N9,537.89 in May 2023.”

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Based on state analysis, Zamfara recorded the highest average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cooking gas with N18,369.33, followed by Bayelsa with N17,772.21 and Abia with N17,538.02.

 

“Conversely, the lowest average price was recorded in Bauchi with N13,076.43, followed by Ebonyi and Taraba with N13,788.09 and N13,860.31 respectively,” the bureau added.

 

“Analysis by zone showed that the South-South recorded the highest average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg Cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) with N16,310.02, followed by the North-West with N15,991.13 while the North-East recorded the lowest price with N15,010.62.”

 

‘AVERAGE PRICE OF 5KG LPG INCREASED BY 13% IN MAY’

NBS said the average retail price for refilling a 5kg cylinder of LPG rose by 13.75 percent on a month-on-month basis — from N6,521.58 recorded in April 2024 to N7,418.45 in May 2024.

 

“On a year-on-year basis, this increased by 70.12% from N4,360.69 in May 2023,” NBS said.

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“On state profile analysis, Benue recorded the highest average price for refilling a 5kg Cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) with N8,012.03, followed by Enugu with N7,926.21, and Ondo with N7,857.53.

 

“On the other hand, Yobe recorded the lowest price with N5,842.31, followed by Jigawa and Katsina with N6,521.81 and N6,567.95 respectively.

 

“In addition, analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price for refilling a 5kg Cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) with N7,680.87, followed by the South-West with N6,593.93.”

 

NBS also said the north-east recorded the lowest price for May with N7,071.84.

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Why tomato, pepper are expensive – Mile 12 market chair

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The Chairman of the Mile 12 International Market in Lagos State Shehu Usman Jubrin has pinned the recent high cost of tomato, pepper, and other perishable items on insecurity and other factors.

 

A small basket of tomatoes goes for about N35,000 at the market while the price of pepper has also jumped, raising concerns among Nigerians.

 

But Usman says the insecurity in the north is a major factor for the hike in the cost of the items.

 

“The bone of contention, the real fact is just insecurity. Let me tell you, that’s the truth. And there’s absolutely nothing the country will do. This price hike will continue. They are still buying tomato, at the rate of N1,000 for three pieces,” he said on Monday’s edition of Channels Television’s The Morning Brief.

 

“Ninety-nine per cent of the people in IDP camps are farmers. They don’t know anything apart from farming – both male and female. The people who are on the farm and are farming with one eye closed are just about 1,500 out of like 5,000 farmers we have across the whole country.”

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According to him, some of the farmers negotiate with and pay bandits before they can go to their farms to harvest the products.

 

“In those places where you are getting all these items, there are negotiations between them and the bandits who ask them, ‘How much are you going to pay me to harvest and bring to the market?’” the Mile 12 International Market leader said.

 

“So, for as long as those people are in IDP camps, the country will continue to be in trouble in terms of food items.”

 

He also linked it to other factors including supply shortage from the northern part of Nigeria to the south.

 

“Let me just talk about tomatoes first. From November, December, January, February, March, and April, up to May, you have tomatoes from the North.

 

“You have danja, danjumi, kadawa, Kano and then Katsina states. This is the off-season now, so we expect tomatoes from Ilaro, Ogbomosho, Abeokuta, and Osun to come to Lagos, you know, and also part of Cameroon. That is a kind of substitute for the northern one.

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“But unfortunately, it’s late: the one from Cameroon, the one from Abeokuta and Ogbomosho. And as we approach the festive period, tomatoes will be expensive. The northern tomatoes are finished and we don’t have substitutes from the south.”

 

He also blamed the situation on pests, saying the diseases have led to low yields.

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