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Tech4Dev, Microsoft to Empower 10,000 Women




By Adedapo Adesanya

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, Tech4Dev has partnered with Microsoft to launch its Women Techsters Initiative to empower 10,000 women in tech from Nigeria and four other African countries.

The initiative is aimed at bridging the vast digital divide between men and women in the technology ecosystem and to change the narrative of skewed gender numbers in technology by empowering women with digital and deep tech skills and opportunities to pursue careers and interests in technology.

According to the e-Conomy Africa 2020 Report by IFC, Africa’s technology industry has an average of 8:2 men to women ratio. These numbers reflect urban cities, and the statistics for women further reduce in suburban and rural areas across the continent.

Hence, there is a large need for gender parity and inclusivity in the technology space with numbers showing that having women effectively engaged in the labour force can potentially boost a nation’s annual GDP by as much as 70 per cent.

As a foundation, having more women in tech was the backbone behind the Women Techster’s pilot program.

The Nigerian Women Techsters, held in partnership with Microsoft, GIZ and other partners, enabled over 2400 women between the ages of 16-40 across 12 states in Nigeria to pursue careers in tech, start technology or tech-enabled businesses and to study STEM at an advanced level.

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During the event, Tech4Dev launched the Women Techsters initiative, a renewed vision and dream to empower 5 million women with digital and deep tech skills across Africa by 2030.

This year alone, the initiative will impact 10,000 women across 5 African countries – Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana.

Speaking at the launch, in her opening address, the Regional Director for Middle East and Africa, Microsoft Philanthropies, Mrs Ghada Khalifa, stressed the importance of empowering women with digital skills to become active players in ICT and how this inclusion can have a direct impact on the economy.

She said, “When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry through greater access to skills and training, we unlock not only innovation but also economic opportunities.”

On her part, Mrs Diwura Oladepo, the Executive Director of Tech4Dev, spoke about the objective behind the Women Techsters initiative. She noted that it will provide the prerequisite knowledge and insight needed to enable girls and women interested in careers in technology to access the right learning opportunities, gain access to decent jobs within the technology ecosystem and to empower them with the right skills needed to create, grow and scale their technology-enabled businesses and deep tech startups.

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In her words, “it is crucial to ensure that women are actively engaged in technology as this helps to financially empower them, effectively improve the economic realities of women and the countries at large, eliminate biases in technology research and improve overall productivity and efficiency of the technology ecosystem.

“Through the Women Techsters, we choose to challenge the status quo – that women can’t be active contributors and partakers in technology.”

In a panel session moderated by Akin Banuso, the Microsoft Country Manager for Nigeria, with the panellists; Mirna Arif, Lilian Barnard and Kendi Ntwiga-Nderitu (Country Managers for Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, respectively) explored the inclusivity of women in the tech industry and STEM fields as a whole.

Speaking on the gender disparity in the tech ecosystem, Ms Lilian Barnard, Microsoft Country Manager, South Africa, reiterated that people only dream as far as their eyes can see.

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“Women don’t have access to programs that would equip them with digital skills relevant to the tech world. We are glad that organisations like Tech4Dev are taking it upon themselves to hold programs, seminars and events that enlighten, educate and inspire women to take up tech careers.”

As for Mrs Kendi Ntwiga-Nderitu, Microsoft Country Manager, South Africa, she encouraged women to push for a better future.

She said, “Traditionally, women have been and are known to be naturalists in society, whether it is in bringing communities together or playing roles to foster growth.

“For women to keep on playing these roles in the 21st century, a world that is tech-inclined, means we have a very significant role to play in the growth and development of our society.”

In the same vein, Ms Mirna Arif, Microsoft Country Manager, Egypt, encouraged women to ensure that they put in place plans to grow, challenge the status quo and speak up to pave the way for other women to have seats at the table.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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NGX Lists 29.4 billion GT HoldCo Shares at N28.55 Each



GT HoldCo Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has finally listed 29,431,179,224 ordinary shares of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GT HoldCo) Plc on its trading platform.

The stocks were admitted on the exchange on Thursday, June 24, 2021, after the delisting of the entire GTBank equities on the same platform.

Business Post reports that the shares were listed today at a unit price of N28.55.

Last Friday, the stock exchange placed trading in the equities of GTBank on full suspension ahead of their delisting to allow the introduction of GT HoldCo shares.

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Today, the GTBank shares were removed from the exchange, a total of 29,431,179,224 and were replaced with 29,431,179,224 units of GT HoldCo.

Confirming this development, the NGX in a circular said, “We refer to our market bulletin with reference number NGX REG/LRD/MB16/21/06/18 dated June 18, 2021, wherein the market was notified that trading in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB) was placed on full suspension effective Friday, June 18, 2021, in preparation for the delisting of GTB and listing of the Holding Company, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GT HoldCo).

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“The market is hereby notified that the entire 29,431,179,224 issued shares of GTB were delisted from the daily official list of the NGX today, June 24, 2021, while GT Holdco’s entire issued share capital of 29,431,179,224 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each were also today, June 24, 2021, listed on the daily official list of NGX at N28.55 per share.

“The delisting of GTB and listing of GT HoldCo on NGX is pursuant to the Scheme of Arrangement between Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and the holders of its fully paid ordinary shares of 50 kobo each as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and sanctioned by the court.”

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GTBank restructured its business to allow it to offer more services and improve the earnings and value of the company. This led to the change to a financial HoldCo, with GTBank becoming a private company and will operate as a banking institution.

Other subsidiaries were created to offer services in financial technology (fintech), insurance, asset management and other sectors.

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June 2021 Allocation to FG, States, LGs Drops to N605.96bn



June 2021 allocation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government, the 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government areas shared the sum of N605.96 billion from the revenue generated in May 2021.

This was disclosed by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in a communique released on Thursday after its meeting held via virtual conferencing.

Business Post reports that the amount shared by the three tiers of government for the June 2021 allocation was lower than the N616.9 billion disbursed last month.

Giving a breakdown of the disbursement, the committee explained that from the inclusive cost of collection to Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the federal government received N242.1 billion, the states received N194.2 billion, while the local government councils got N143.7 billion.

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The nine oil-producing states of Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Abia and Lagos all received N26.9 billion as a 13 per cent derivation of mineral revenue.

The communique issued by the FAAC at the end of the meeting indicated that the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for May 2021 was N181.1 billion as against N176.7 billion achieved in the preceding month of April 2021. This resulted in an increase of N4.368 billion.

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The distribution is as follows; federal government got N25.3 billion, the states received N84.2 billion and local government councils received N58.9 billion.

The distributed statutory revenue of N428.198 billion received for the month was lower than the N497.385 billion received for the previous month by N69.197 billion, from which the federal government received N175.5 billion, states got N89.0 billion, while the LGs got N69.6 billion, and the 13 per cent mineral derivation handed to the nine oil states amounted to N24.666 billion.

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The communique also revealed that Companies Income Tax (CIT), and Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duty decreased in the month, meaning only VAT increased in the month under review, although marginally.

The communique, however, disclosed that total revenue distributable for the current month inclusive of gross statutory revenue of N357.9 billion, VAT of N168.4 billion, solid mineral revenue of N7.9 billion, exchange gain of N1.7 billion and augmentation from oil and non-oil revenue of N50 billion and N20 billion respectively brought the total distributable revenue to N605.958 billion.

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National LPG Takes Sensitization to 12 States



Domestic LPG

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Liquefied Gas Petroleum (LGP) sensitization and awareness campaign to reduce gas flare has kickstarted in 12 states across the country.

Speaking at a two-day sensitization and awareness campaign held in Abuja, Mr Dayo Adeshina, the programme manager National LPG expansion implementation plan (NLEIP), said the exercise was the commitment of the climate change initiative to reduce emission by 20 per cent.

He said the National LPG pilot programme, which will start after the sensitization, is to begin in Enugu and Ebonyi States for South-East then to the South-South States of Delta and Bayelsa and in the South West – Lagos and Ogun.

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In the North West are Sokoto and Katsina States; the North East batch will be done in Bauchi and Gombe States while in the North Central, it will kick off in Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said, “The sensitization awareness campaign is targeted at 12 pilot states, two in each geo-political zone. During the campaign, we will highlight the importance of the LGP to the government and the people.

“Every year almost nine hundred thousand people are affected by the effects of kerosine and charcoal which leads to malaria, the government plan is to display the energy mixture which currently stands at 65 per cent, kerosine 30 per cent, LPG 5 per cent.

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“LPG would ensure accessibility, acceptability and affordability.”

Mr Adeshina said to drive the exercise well, an inter-ministerial committee on LPG was constituted and is being headed by the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, adding that the composition of the committee shows the commitment of the federal government to the expansion and implementation of LPG in Nigeria.

“So, to make it available, some of the policy directives were worked on and past in 2017, the government will remove necessary bottlenecks,” he said.

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LPG is a fossil fuel closely linked to oil. As a fuel, it is used for cooking, lighting, and central heating. It is a clean-burning, non-poisonous, dependable and high-performance fuel stored and transported in containers as a liquid, but is generally drawn out and used as gas.

LPG has a very wide variety of uses, mainly used across many different markets – agricultural, recreation, hospitality, calefaction, construction, sailing and fishing sectors – as an efficient fuel.

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