BAT Reiterates Commitment to Socio-Economic Development
Against the backdrop of the World Health Organisation(WHO) launch of its ‘World No Tobacco Day’ campaign for the year themed, “Tobacco: A Threat to Development”, British American Tobacco Nigeria(BATN) reiterates its strong commitment to the socio-economic development of Nigeria through its significant investments in the local manufacturing industry to support livelihoods and its sustainable development initiatives in the agricultural sector and practical tobacco control measures.
“Freddy Messanvi, Legal & External Affairs Director, British American Tobacco West Africa, commented that, we are one of the leading industry manufacturers in Nigeria with initialinvestments of over$150m in Ibadan Factory and in Zaria operations, as we believe in the huge potentials of the non-oil sector. As one of the nation’s non-oil foreign exchange earner, we support about 350,000 – 400,000 livelihoods directly and indirectly while building local capacity of our employees by exposing them to International Best Practices in Environmental Health and Safety, Corporate Governance, Standards of Business Conduct, Principles of Engagement, amongst others.
“BATN has been making significant strides in the agricultural sector with the support of farmers through an extensive world class backward integration model that also encourages alternative food cropping programmes with growers. The model has been studied and replicated by other key stakeholders and industry players in Nigeria. In addition, BATN through its independent charity, the BATN Foundation, facilitates livelihood initiatives that focus on the development of small holder food crop farmers residing in rural communities. This critical role supports the attainment of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to eradicate poverty, hunger and encourage the supply of portable water.
“Mr. Messanvi added that, with our strong ties in Nigeria and long standing commitment to development we believe in the value of a balanced, workable and evidenced based regulatory framework which has been our position since 2015. Our objective ensures the effective implementation of reasonable and practical tobacco control measures, provided that these measures adequately combat smoking activity in a manner which is proportionate, not duplicating or contradicting existing laws, and does not unjustifiably limit any rights or objectives.It is important to note that for regulation to be effective; regulation must be very clear in terms of its set objectives to reduce the health impact of tobacco and should not leave the market open to illicit trading activities which ultimately becomes a threat to development.
“As a responsible organisation, we will continue to abide by all laws of the country we operate in and will support the effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Act through practicable regulations with a positive contribution of setting a new global benchmark in tobacco control.