In recognition of its outstanding contributions to the growth of the non-oil export sector, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has recognised British American Tobacco Nigeria (BAT) as “Best Exporter to African Markets for the Year 2022” at the Council’s Award and Gala Nite, which held on November 26, 2022. British American Tobacco Nigeria came tops in the category after shrugging off competition from both Indorama Eleme Fertiliser & Chemical Limited and Dangote Cement Limited.

The Award & Gala Night was one of the highlights of the NEPC’s Export Week activities. The one-week event, which ran from November 21-26, 2022, included the official launch of the #Export4Survival campaign by the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, public lectures, a tour of media houses and #Export4Survival Walk.

Prior to conferring the award, Ezra Yakusak, executive director, CEO, NEPC, explained that the agency’s basis for the nominations and conferment of the awards was the pre-shipment inspection reports of exports by the non-oil exporters. He also appreciated all non-oil exporters who have contributed to the expansion and development of the Nigerian economy in recent years.

BAT Nigeria has been involved in the manufacturing business in Nigeria for over 20 years and has been conducting both domestic and export operations from its US$ 185 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ibadan, Oyo State. Over the past 20 years, BAT Nigeria has generated revenues of over N400 billion for the Nigerian government through tax and other regulatory payments. In 2021 alone, BAT Nigeria contributed about N75 billion to the national treasury in the form of excise duties and other taxes.

In terms of export, BAT Nigeria exports to 14 countries in West and Central Africa, by virtue of which it has generated over US$ 500 million as revenue. Presently, BAT Nigeria is one of the top 5 non-oil exporters each month, contributing significantly to the Federal Government’s objective of diversifying Nigeria’s export revenue base. It generates and repatriates more than US$ 110 million in foreign exchange each year. BAT Nigeria also provides direct and indirect employment for over 350,000 Nigerians across the value chain.

Odiri Erewa-Meggison, external affairs director at BAT West and Central Africa, who received the award on behalf of the organisation, expressed her delight at the award.

“The Nigerian Export Promotion Council’s recognition of the volume of our exports to African markets is a testament to BAT’s contribution to the region’s economic growth and development. We have been involved with Nigeria, as well as the West and Central Africa region. We remain committed to advancing the non-oil sector in Nigeria as we create A Better Tomorrow,” she said.

Non-oil exports, which made up 11.32 percent of all 2021 exports in Nigeria, are quickly becoming a significant source of foreign exchange earnings, but oil still accounts for nearly 76 percent of all exports to the nation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Considering the critical role non-oil exports must play in the Nigerian economy, non-oil exporters need continued support from the Federal government to make the ease of exporting and repatriating proceeds back to Nigeria more seamless. While the Central Bank of Nigeria has created the importers and exporters window (I&E) to ease foreign exchange challenges, more incentives would be required to create an enabling environment to fulfill the government’s non-oil export push. Especially when African countries are seeking to boost intra-African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), opening up a $3.4 trillion borderless market, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This presents an opportunity to upscale our efforts and support businesses in Nigeria to be competitive enough by creating an enabling business environment for them to thrive.

BusinessDay

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