British American Tobacco (BAT) Malawi, a subsidiary of BAT Group, has touted its active participation in the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economy evidenced by its contribution of K964 million (about $5.7 million) to the national revenue pool in 2011 alone.
This, however, is a slight drop from the K1.49 billion (about $8.9m) the company contributed to the fiscus the year before, according to the cigarette manufacturerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head of legal, corporate and regulatory affairs Shungu Chirunda.
“This significant contribution is because over 11 000 retailers and wholesalers and thousands of informal traders around the country sell BAT Malawi products as a primary source of business,” said Chirunda on Wednesday at Blantyre Flea Market at the hand-over of two kiosks to vendors who sell their brand of cigarettes.
BAT Malawi is a subsidiary of BAT Group, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second largest quoted tobacco group by market share operating in more countries than any other with brands sold in more than 180 markets.
The kiosks project, which started in 2005, is used by BAT Malawi to enhance its distribution programme by developing the average trader in business and ensuring that there is constant availability of the product to their consumers.
Since that year, the company has provided 15 kiosks countrywide to vendors at a cost of K8 million. The company pays the city rates and city licences for the vendors.
“We value the contribution of these vendors to our business and our positive relationship with the city fathers of Blantyre and look forward to strengthening this relationship going forward,” assured Chirunda.
She said the kiosk project supports the Blantyre City CouncilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (BCC) initiative to clean up the market by ensuring that vendors trade in designated areas.
On his part, BCC director of commerce and industry Denis Chinseu commended BAT for ensuring that the welfare of vendors is uplifted.
He said BCC endeavours to ensure that the city is clean by making sure that vendors conduct their businesses in designated places.
“This is a very important project. This clearly shows that BAT is taking part in the development of the country. The company is, in a way, assisting the council to make the city clean,” he said, advising the vendors to take care of their kiosks to have a long life.
One of the vendors who has benefited from the provision of the kiosks, Afiya Supiyani, said since he started selling BAT brand of cigarettes in 2002, he has never looked back.
Through the sale of cigarettes, Supiyani said he has bought five minibuses and built houses.
BAT makes the cigarettes chosen by one in eight of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one billion adult smokers and has more than 200 brands.
The company holds robust market positions and in 2010 alone, their subsidiary companies sold 708 billion cigarettes.
In the same year, the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s subsidiaries enabled governments worldwide to gather more than Ã‚Â£30 billion in taxes, including excise duty on their products, almost 10 times the groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s profit after tax.
The company has 45 cigarette factories in 39 countries worldwide.