The British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Limited (BATN) factory in Ibadan celebrated its 20th anniversary in an event attended by dignitaries and industry leaders. BAT made its initial mark on the shores of Nigeria in 1912 and has since solidified its position as a leading tobacco company in the country.
During the celebration, its promoters emphasized BATN’s significant contributions to Nigeria in the past two decades, highlighting its commitment to investment, job creation, environmental sustainability and production excellence, especially at the Ibadan Factory.
The anniversary celebration, held at BATN’s factory premises in Ibadan was attended by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde; former Minister of Industry, Chief Onikepo Nike Akande; the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi, former Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Kola Jamodu; President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye and traditional rulers, among others.
In his welcome address, Chairman, Advisory Board of BAT Nigeria, Chief Kola Karim, said the factory has not only served as a beacon of progress but has also played a pivotal role in driving the economic growth and prosperity of the country. BATN has in the last two decades shown deep dedication to excellence and innovation and is a true reflection of a multinational which has been a partner in progress with Nigeria since its inception.
He said: “The current government administration has an 8-point agenda to recovery which includes promoting foreign direct investment, job creation and poverty eradication amongst others. BATN is clear proof that it is possible to run a successful business in Nigeria.”
Speaking, Managing Director of BAT in West and Central Africa, Yarub Al-Bahrani, said the investments made by the company in the last two decades have shown that the company is not just in Nigeria to stay but has shown its commitment to continually be a partner in progress with Nigeria.
He said BATN has in the last two decades, been at the forefront of manufacturing excellence and has produced high-quality products that extend across the world, adding: “It is important to state that BAT Nigeria exports to 11 other West and Central African countries and since January 2024, commenced exporting to the United States of America hereby placing made-in-Nigeria products on the global stage.
“This has not only boosted Nigeria’s trade presence but has also earned us recognition as a top 10 national exporter by the Central Bank of Nigeria and in 2022 was named the best exporter to African countries by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.”
BATN’s dedication to excellence remains steadfast, demonstrated by its ongoing investment in cutting-edge technology and adherence to rigorous quality standards.
“In the past two decades, our factory and its related operations have been a catalyst for socio-economic development, creating employment opportunities for over 350,000 individuals across the value chain and generating over N415 billion in taxes in the last six years alone.
“The business has also drawn into Nigeria additional foreign direct investment of over $30 million from one of its business partners. It is also worthy to note, that this additional investment from our packaging partner has led to value addition to other FMCG companies to which this partnership provides services,” he added.
He also pointed out that sustainability is front and centre for BATN, and this is reflected by the number of accolades it has received in the past including the Alliance of Water Stewardship Award, Incorporation of International Renewable Energy Certificates (IRECs) and ISO 140012015 quality certificate, adding that the zero waste to landfill policy and robust recycling system also underscores BATN’s commitment to responsible business practices.
Highpoint of the event was the commissioning of a 1.4MW Solar Plant at the Ibadan Factory to showcase its continuous sustainability commitment. This initiative reflects the dedication of BATN to reducing its environmental footprint and transitioning to clean energy solutions.
Reaffirming BATN’s commitment to excellence, innovation and responsible business practices, Yarub said the company will continue to partner with Nigeria to build a legacy of success and make a positive difference in the lives of Nigerians.
Also speaking, Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, commended BAT Nigeria for attaining a historic milestone in Nigeria, noting that the company has contributed in various ways to the development of the state.
Citing BATN’s commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic among others, he commended the leadership of the company for its immense contributions to Oyo State over the years and pledged to sustain the friendly environment in which BAT Nigeria and other companies operate in the state.
“The commissioning of a 1.4-megawatt solar plant is in line with our aspirations in Oyo State. For us, energy sufficiency is a major part of this administration. Less than 3km from here, you have the City Gate for the gas coming into Ibadan,” he said.
He, therefore, expressed the State’s readiness to partner with BATN’s Ibadan Plant to achieve the great feat in energy sufficiency, maintaining that the state will also, within the next few weeks, commission its 11megawatt power plant with 10 megawatts gas-driven and 1 megawatt solar-powered and that a bill establishing the Oyo State Electricity Regulatory Commission will soon be signed into law.
In her goodwill message, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, applauded BATN for its contributions to the economic development of Nigeria, saying: “Over 48 percent of BATN’s input is sourced locally, its presence has attracted additional investment in the establishment of a $30m packaging factory in the same community by its packaging partner and BAT Nigeria undertakes recycling and green energy projects in its surrounding community.”
She expressed delight at witnessing firsthand the transformative power of industry and manufacturing on communities saying: “Two decades ago, BATN embarked on a journey to establish a world-class manufacturing facility in Nigeria. Today, the factory stands as a shining example of commitment to excellence and sustainability.
“As we look to the future, we are reminded of the potential that industry and manufacturing hold for our nation. About 52 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now comes from manufacturing and services. As we continue to diversify our economy, we recognize the role of companies like BATN in driving this change.”
She commended BATN for its commitment to driving its A Better Tomorrow agenda, while prioritizing safety, sustainability and responsible business practices, even as BATN aims to showcase the viability of investing in and operating a sustainable business in Nigeria to other investors.
PHOTO CAPTION FOR BATN STORY:
Managing Director, BAT West and Central Africa, Yarub Al Bahrani (left); Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde and Chairman, Advisory Board, BAT Nigeria, Chief Kola Karim at the 20th Anniversary celebration of BAT Nigeria Ibadan Factory.