BAT seeks removal of export barriers to sustain $119m yearly FX inflow
The British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria has advocated the removal of non-tariff barriers within the West African region in a bid to ensure foreign exchange inflow is sustained.
The company also commended the efforts of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) at advancing the cause of manufacturers in Nigeria and in seeking the emergence of a more competitive industry.
Speaking on the sidelines of MAN’s 50th anniversary celebration, during the yearly Manufacturers Conference, the Director of External Affairs, BAT West and Central Africa, Odiri Erewa-Meggison, said that “the Annual Adeola Odutola Lecture titled “Overcoming Binding Constraints to Competitive Manufacturing for Intra-Regional Trade,” is timely in the context of events in the past 18 months.”
She remarked further saying, “At a time when African countries should be working even more closely together to fine-tune arrangements for take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we are beginning to see a resurgence in non-tariff trade barriers and other measures that negatively impact exports within the region,”
“We (BAT Nigeria) currently export to 14 countries in West and Central Africa and it is from these operations that we generate approximately $119 million in foreign exchange each year. BAT Nigeria is consistently one of the top five non-oil exporters each month, thereby contributing significantly to the Federal Government’s objective of diversifying Nigeria’s export revenue base.
“When you look at the numbers from BAT and other exporters, it tells you that issues like this are critical to the local manufacturing community that exports goods across the region and indeed the Government,” Erewa-Meggison added.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, while speaking at the Adeola Odutola Lecture stated that “the low level of industrial manufacturing is at the core of the slow structural transformation of African economies, with dominance of primary sectors. The situation has also been partly perpetuated by the escalation of tariffs on exports of manufactured goods from Africa.
For example, export of raw materials attracts very low tariffs, but value added products from Africa face steep tariffs.”
Dr Akinwunmi advised that Nigeria must have a greater ambition for its manufacturing sector, by integrating and rapidly moving up global and regional value chains in areas of comparative advantage; by and by driving greater specialization and competitiveness.
“A well-developed and policy-enabled manufacturing sector, with an export orientation will spur greater innovation, industrial policies for export market development, and structural transformation of the economy,” he added.