Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola today called on the British American Tobacco Company (BATN) to do business with very strong conscience about what is right and what is safe for the consumers.
Fashola spoke while receiving a delegation of the company led by its Managing Director, Mr Keith Gretton in Ikeja, Lagos.
“I think that an organization like yours should be able think of how they can better prolong the lives of the people for whom, you also make products and now, we are seeing a lot of diseases today as a result of lifestyle choices and lifestyle issues and they are getting much more complex with substance dependency and so on and so forth”, the Governor said.
“The organization should stand up to be counted in terms of advancing regulations pertaining to its products. These are places where I would strongly think that your organization put a strong foot forward in terms of full appreciation of the need to intervene in advance of regulation as it were because I know that the lifestyle choices that people make especially in the kind of products that you make can also have certain health consequences and I think that it is important to help people to promote the risk voluntarily and openly in a manner that people therefore know what choices they have”, he reiterated.
The Governor said it was refreshing to learn about investments being made in the Nigerian market and also the indicators of further commitments being made by the organisation, adding that the benefits in terms of employment to people also come comes clearly across, adding that the administration will also continue to play its part in terms of infrastructure support.
“We as a government remain committed to supporting businesses by filling in with the hardware end of the matter such as infrastructure, security and also continue to provide the environment in which your human capital can thrive and prosper”.
Governor Fashola said in the area of security, the State Government encourages institutions such as Foundations like that of the British American Tobacco Company to look at the bouquet of opportunities to support the State Security Trust Fund which is an entirely voluntary venture that helps the State to resource the security personnel in the state in terms of equipment, vests, boots, patrol vehicles and so on.
He reiterated that whatever support that is given is not only well received but is accounted for as the Trust Fund holds annual General Meetings and yearly publishes the list of the donors since 2008 without failing. According to the Governor, the donations have helped in providing some structure around which the resource management and logistics of the federal controlled but state deployed Police is managed, saying it is something he will commend support for the Security Trust Fund to the company as a matter of sensible self interest.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, Mr Keith Gretton had commended the infrastructure regeneration work which the Governor Fashola led administration is doing in Lagos State as well as the widely acknowledged security sector in the state.He added that over the years the British American Tobacco Company West Africa has become a vital business for BAT globally with Nigeria being one of the top ten globally out of 180 countries where BAT is present. Mr. Gretton stressed that the company is involved in some agriculture programme in Lagos and has about three to four ongoing projects at various stages helping women and the youth.
The Governor was joined by some members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Sola Oworu, Finance, Mr Ayo Gbeleyi, Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Ben Akabueze, and Special Adviser on Revenue and Taxation, Mr Bola Shodipo while those on the entourage of the Managing Director of British American Tobacco Company include the Head, Corporate Regulatory Affairs (West Africa), Mr Freddy Mensahvi, and Legal Director (West Africa), Mrs Sade Morgan among others.