BAT
Beverley Spencer
British American Tobacco
Cigarette
Comesa
Common Market
Democratic Republic of Congo
Disqus
DRC.
EAC
East African Community (EAC
Kenya
Kenya Revenue Authority
Ms Spencer
Nairobi
Research
Somalia
trade.”Export
Uganda

BAT forecasts 2019 exports revenue growth

There has been improved business environment in markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which could help push export revenues above $103 million (Sh10.5 billion) posted in year ended December 2018. Last year, the company produced nine billion cigarette sticks for export valued at $83.3 million (Sh8.47 billion) from nine export markets despite political tension and unrest in DRC and Somalia as well as 22 percent illicit trade in Uganda.

Cigarette-maker British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya is projecting a strong outlook for its nine export markets in 2019 based on the improved political stability in the region and a firm currency. Managing Director Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo said there has been improved business environment in markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which could help push export revenues above $103 million (Sh10.5 billion) posted in year ended December 2018.“It may look a bit gloomy but we see a lot of improvement in the export market. For example, the DRC is through with elections and we expect reduced tension and stability in currency,” Spencer-Obatoyinbo said at an investor briefing on Thursday.

Last year, the company produced nine billion cigarette sticks for export valued at $83.3 million (Sh8.47 billion) from nine export markets despite political tension and unrest in DRC and Somalia as well as 22 percent illicit trade in Uganda.Ms Spencer said that the company was also eying new markets within the East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to grow export volumes.“We want to look at new markets within EAC and Comesa. We have had some challenges with expansion outside Nairobi manufacturing due to tariff barriers but we are working with authorities to remove these barriers and allow free trade.”Export revenues as a percentage of total revenue hit 48 percent from 44 percent in 2015 while the share of revenue from Kenya declined to 52 percent from 56 percent in the same period.BAT said illicit trade had been slowing growth of revenue in Kenya.

Research findings from an independent research commissioned by BAT puts illicit trade at 14.1 percent at the end of last year, up from 12.4 percent the previous year.Ms Spencer said this could be costing Kenya Revenue Authority about Sh2.5 billion revenue every year, and called for more punitive measures to contain the trade.“This keeps me awake at night. Government needs to be more consistent in enforcement actions and address the root cause of the problem, especially at manufacturing stage,” she said.

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