President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday reassured the business community that his administration would create more secured business environment.
Mr Buhari gave the assurance at the inauguration of the 250 million dollars (N90 billion) plant of International Breweries Plc, a subsidiary of Belgian Brewer, AB InBev, in Sagamu.
The president, represented by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation, said that his administration was also committed to business development through improved investment in infrastructure for businesses to thrive.
He urged the international companies to invest more in Nigeria and explore the various opportunities and policies of government targeted at easing the nation’s investment clime.
“Nigeria is ready for business and the market is expansive for bigger returns on investment,” Buhari said.
The president commended International Breweries Plc for its massive investment in the country, saying that it was the sixth largest listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with N275 billion market capitalisation.
According to him, the impact of the plant will reverberate across various sectors of the economy from agriculture, manufacturing to haulage services and also boost activities in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector.
Also, the Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Annabelle Degroot, said that the plant would create 600 direct jobs and about 2000 indirect jobs along the value chain.
According to Degroot, the plant will have multiplier effects on various sectors of the economy.
“The brewery will also be instrumental to empowering farmers and local manufacturers, as most of the raw materials required will be sourced locally.
“It will in turn contribute to the economic development of the country,’’ she said.
Degroot said that the plant christened “Gateway Plant’’ was a major step of the company’s strategic goal to become a leading beverage manufacturer in Nigeria.
“As a company, we are committed to brewing quality beers that consumers love, using the highest quality ingredients and bringing centuries of brewing heritage.
“We combine innovation and state-of-the-art techniques to continue to meet consumer needs and brew high quality beer.
“Our commitment of N90 billion to build this world-class brewery demonstrates our confidence in the future prospects for Nigeria.
“It is also part of our determination to invest and be a partner in the economy for the long term,” she said.
The managing director said that the plant would be the company’s fourth brewery in Nigeria and would partner with its existing one in Onitsha, Ilesa and Port-Harcourt to drive growth.
Degroot said that the combined contributions of the existing breweries to the economy was above N8 billion in excise duty, N7 billion in VAT and N2.5 billion in other taxes annually.
“As we grow and prosper, so will our contribution to the economy.
“We do urge government to work with us on creating an enabling tax environment that allows us to grow and invest further, while improving our fiscal contributions each year,” she said.
In his remarks, Carlos Brito, the Global Chief Executive Officer, AB InBev, said that launch of the plant signifies the company’s interest and commitment to the nation’s economic growth.
He said that International Breweries has supported many Nigerians with jobs, improved the livelihood of farmers and retailers; infused local and foreign cultures and technologies to drive sustainable socio-economic growth.
“For centuries, the experience of sharing a beer has brought people and cultures together.
“To brew the highest quality beers, we need a sustainable environment and thriving communities. Sustainability is not just related to our business, it is our business and our people are at the heart of our business,” he said.
Commenting, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, expressed his pleasure at the siting of the plant in Sagamu, saying that it would boost the state’s economy.
Amosun said the state would continue to create an enabling environment that would attract investment, boost employment and economic growth.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that International Breweries portfolio of beers includes – Trophy Lager, Hero Lager, Castle Lite Lager, Eagle Lager, Eagle Stout and the recently launched global brand, Budweiser.
The company also focuses on non-alcoholic drink like malts: Grand Malt and Beta Malt.