British American Tobacco (BAT) has called for greater collaboration between the organized private sector and government. This call was made by the External Affairs Director, BAT West and Central Africa, Odiri Erewa-Meggison, in an address delivered during the recently concluded Nigeria Employers Summit 2020 themed ‘The Private Sector as Engine for National Development. The summit, which was organized by the Nigeria Employer Consultative Association (NECA), was held in Abuja, on June 20 and 21, 2022.
L-R: The Director, Human Resources, British American Tobacco (BAT) West and Central Africa, Sergio Berlanga; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige; the Director, External Affairs, BAT West and Central Africa, Odiri Erewa-Meggison; and the President and Chairman, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, during the maiden Nigeria Employers Summit 2022 organised by NECA at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, on June 20, 2022.
Erewa-Meggison also lauded NECA and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) for the effective representation of the private sector, while urging a greater collaborative regulatory environment between the organised private sector and government agencies.
“A collaborative regulatory environment means creating the enabling environment for the organised private sector and government agencies to work together for national development. This involves having a seat at the table when key decisions that impact our industries are being made,” she said.
While commending the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Federal Consumer and Competition Council (FCCPC) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others, for trade facilitation, Erewa-Meggison also urged the government to demonstrate the “willingness to work with private sector players to collaborate in establishing sustainable regulatory frameworks that will secure current investment in the country and create additional investment opportunities that will benefit our economy.”
Speaking further, Erewa-Meggison called for regulatory support to enable BAT’s transformation journey in Nigeria and West and Central Africa.
“At BAT, we are transforming our business at a global level. We have a new corporate purpose, called ‘A Better Tomorrow’. To us, a Better Tomorrow means (1) reducing the health and environmental impacts of our business; and (2) offering our consumers a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products. For this to happen at a local level in Nigeria (and indeed West and Central Africa), the right regulatory environment that will enable us to transform our business in a way that reduces the risk that our products expose our consumers to, must be in place.”
Also, some industry stakeholders, during a panel discussion, urged government regulatory agencies to de-emphasise revenue generation and focus more on enterprise facilitation in a bid to ensure industrial and national development.
Setting the tone for the panel discussion on the topic ‘Building a Collaborative Regulatory Environment for Enterprise Competitiveness, Job Creation and National Development’, the Director-General, MAN, Engr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir said that the duty of the regulator is not only to ensure that manufacturers do not exploit consumers or take undue advantage of them but to also protect the regulated industries.
“It is also the duty of the regulator to ensure that we have a situation whereby the industry player feels very safe, is legally protected, its assets and investments are secure, and is guaranteed survival. The people also must be protected from manipulation and unfair treatment by the industry,” he remarked.
He said further that the regulator must also see to the industry's longtime interest, noting that the government's paucity of funds to maintain regulatory agencies is often responsible for the aggressive and inordinate internal revenue drive.
Delivering a policy paper at the session, the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, represented by the Executive Director of Corporate Services, SEC, Ibrahim Boye, said that the SEC has continued to strive to fulfil its mandate in creating an enabling environment for market operations.
Earlier in a welcome remark, the President Nigeria, NECA, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, said that the inaugural summit will serve as a credible national platform on which the nexus between a healthy private sector and sustained national inclusive growth will be predicated on focus on promoting enterprise development as a major source of national growth.
In another panel session titled ‘Deepening Fiscal and Monetary Policies for Enterprise Growth: Imperative for a Collaborative Growth-focused Engagement’ discussants, including the CEO, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf, and Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, underscored the importance of policy in the investment environment, noting that employment creation, which is expected to be driven by the private sector, can only be achieved in a conducive policy environment. They noted that, apart from infrastructure, fiscal and monetary policies are at the centre of an enabling environment for business.