- Niger Partners Chevron, Others to Boost Rice Production
Niger state government is partnering oil giant Chevron and some other private organisations in the country to improve rice production in the 25 local government areas of the state.
Chevron and its affiliates under the arrangement are providing the technical knowhow and capacity building for fresh graduates across the local government areas to attract them to the farms and the use of modern method of rice cultivation and production.
Apart from reducing the massive unemployment facing graduates in the state, the partnership would also “enhance the performance of the agricultural sector in the state to meet the food and employment needs of the people of the state and the country as a whole.”
The programme has already brought on board 200 private extension agents all of them graduates, while 300 units of small scale equipment including power tillers and threshers have been acquired.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Minna on Wednesday, Niger State Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello expressed delight that Chevron and its partners had chosen the state to pilot the programme, saying that the decision was not unconnected with the policy of the administration to make youth employment one of its priority projects.
Bello, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Jibrin Isah Ladan said the partnership would check rural urban migration and promote poverty alleviation and youth empowerment.
“Niger state is naturally endowed with one of the largest land area in the country of which more than 70% is arable, in addition to the rich commercial deposits of viable solid minerals. It is therefore no doubt that we continue to attract partnership from different corporate organisations in this direction.”
The Governor also disclosed that not less than 9500 people in the state were already directly or indirectly benefiting from the International Funds for Agricultural Development IFAD programme while the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme of the African Development Bank was already operating in seven of the 25 local government areas of the state.
A Director of one of the affiliate companies involved in the partnership, Alhaji Ribadu Umar in an address said the scheme will attract 1000 small holder rice out-growers through training and encourage integration of local resources organic manure to reduce over reliance on chemical fertilizer thereby reducing the cost of product.
Some of the products from the Agriculture Graduates Association of Nigeria, which included bags of processed rice, tillers and threshers and inorganic fertilizers were on display at the launch.
Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium
Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.
Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.
This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.
After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.
In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.
The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.
According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.
In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.
Honeywell Flour Mills Refutes Ecobank Winding Up Proceeding Claims, Assures Investors of Total Transparency
Following media reports that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) is a subject of an ongoing winding up proceedings instituted by Ecobank Nigeria Limited in a suit no: FHC/L/CP/1571/2015, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc has now refuted the publication, insisting there is no winding-up petition against the embattled company.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Yewande Giwa, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.
It said “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no Winding-up Petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any Court in Nigeria. There is also no pending Court Order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets. HFMP assures its investors, regulators and stakeholders that in all of its engagements with FMN, it received independent legal advice and asserts that the transaction is not in breach of any subsisting Order of Court. The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the Courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the Courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”
This was in response to a publication titled “Ecobank Warns against Acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, Alleges Company Facing Winding Up Proceedings” that claimed Ecobank Nigeria Limited had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Flour Mills to desist from completing the acquisition of 71.69 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on the ground that the company was hugely indebted to Ecobank.
However, Honeywell claimed “The assertions lack merit, were written in bad faith and are a deliberate attempt to undermine a transaction that will result in substantial benefit to the Nigerian economy and entrench the collaboration of two publicly quoted companies. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have entered the transaction with FMN having taken all legal issues into consideration.
“All stakeholders are hereby assured that management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc will continue to act in the best interests of all concerned and work diligently to preserve value for all its shareholders.
“We expect that from the proposed combination, stakeholders will benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population. The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.”
This whole drama started immediately Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria, in a joint statement, announced FMN has agreed to acquire a 71.69 percent stake valued at N80 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. A deal that will automatically make Honeywell Flour Mills Plc Flour Mills of Nigeria’s asset.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Acquires First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 Percent Stake in Honeywell Flour Mills
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading flour mill company, has acquired First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Umolu, Joseph A.O., Company Secretary/Director, Legal Services.
The acquisition was in addition to the 71.6 percent stake of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) FMN acquired on the same day. Therefore, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc will now hold 76.75 percent equity interest in HFMP.
According to the company, the move will help build a resilient flour mills company that will ensure job continuity, deepen productivity and support national growth.
Commenting on the transaction, Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of FMN, said “The proposed transaction is part of our global growth strategy, which is aligned with our vision to not only be an industry leader, but also a national champion for Nigeria in the Food and Agro-allied industries.”
“Given FMN’s parallel negotiations for both stakes culminating in the agreements being signed on the same date, the basis for arriving at key commercial terms including final equity price per share, will be the same. The price payable to FirstBank will be the same with Honeywell Group Limited.”F
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