The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, has assured the British American Tobacco Company (BATC), of the commission’s readiness to fight illegal importation of tobacco into the country.
Lamorde gave the assurance on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 while receiving Mr. Chris McAllister, Managing Director, British America Tobacco Company, who led members of his management team on a courtesy visit to the commission.
The EFCC boss also promised to exploit his agency’s relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service to forge a common front in intercepting and curbing illegal importation of tobacco into the country. “if we have an idea of how some of these cigarettes are being smuggled into the country we can work with you and even bring in Customs because they are the ones at the entry points and border posts,”Lamorde said.
According to him, it is in the nation’s economic interest to assist BATC as the company has helped in creating jobs and boosting government revenue earnings.
Earlier, McAllister said they were in the commission to solicit support of EFCC in tracking of illicit traffickers of tobacco in Nigeria.
He emphasised the contribution of the sector to the nation’s econmy saying, “before we came into the market, over 80 percent of the market was dominated by illicit trade. But, through our memorandum of understanding with the government, we have cut it down to 20 percent and the result is that we now generate N20 billion in tax revenue to the government”.
The two organisations resolved to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding that will govern their relations in the coming months.
McAllister was accompanied on the visit by Gary Tairant, Head, Legal Unit; Lawal Aliyu, Head, Government Relations; and Mohammed Adam, Head Anti-illicit Trafficking.