British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has been lauded by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) for promoting high quality standards in its operating environment, consistent with international standards. This commendation was given by Frank Udemba Jacobs, President of MAN, when he led a delegation from the association on a visit to British American Tobacco factory in Ibadan, last week.
Jacobs observed that one of the major responsibilities of MAN is to provide its members with the means of formulating and communicating general policies with respect to industrial, labour and technical matters. “I commend BATN for operating in an environment that is consistent with global standards. As part of our processes, it is essential for us to ensure that our members’ operating systems are consistent with the provisions of MAN, one of which is the promotion of an enabling environment for industrial development, growth and prosperity of the society,” said Jacobs.
He added: “We also have a responsibility to ensure that there is an appropriate operating environment for our members, and when issues arise, it becomes our duty to ensure that the government takes the appropriate action in resolving them. As part of our responsibilities, we are duty-bound to visit our members periodically to learn first-hand some of the enormous challenges confronting them.”
While responding to the call for the suspension of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) for manufacturing companies, Dr Jacobs said the EEG is a very important initiative that supports the government’s diversification of the economy. “The only way the manufacturing companies can be encouraged to drive the diversification of the economy is when they are provided with unique incentives, which in this case could be given in form of Export Expansion Grant,” he said.
Citing erratic power supply, port congestion and increase in export tariff as some of the key challenges confronting the manufacturing sector, Dr Jacob commended the players in the manufacturing sector for their resilience. He also urged them to rise above the prevalent challenges, knowing that there is hope that the situation will improve. “I am a great optimist who believes that whatever challenges we are confronted with are not insurmountable, believing that things are better compared with what was obtainable in the past,” he said.
Managing Director, BATN, Chris McAllister, while welcoming the MAN officials, said the company has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s economic growth and development. “BATN has paid a total of over ₦213billion as taxes to the Nigerian government in the last 11 years. Also, we have provided thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities through the value chain, ensuring that backward integration that extends to producing the tobacco leaves locally in Nigeria in addition to other food and cash crops is boosting agricultural productivity,” added McAllister. BATN has also invested an additional $145m to the initial investment of the $150m in the Ibadan Factory.