By Peter Egwuatu, Franklin Alli & Princewill Ekwujuru
Nigeria Breweries Plc has disclosed that despite tough operating environment, it paid N16 billion as tax to the Federal Government for the financial year 2015 and also created 4,000 direct jobs. It further disclosed that the beer industry in the country grew by one percent in 2015, while beer consumption per person stood at 11 liters. Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director/CEO, disclosed this during the company’s Pre-AGM Media briefing held in Lagos last weekend.
According to him “ Employment-wise, the company has 4,000 Nigerians are on its payrolls across its 11 beer plants and two malt production plants across the country while 280,000 people have been indirectly employed by its transporters, distributors and other ancillary businesses. Vervelde said that the slow growth in the economy in terms of lower oil prices, fall in the value of the Naira, scarcity of foreign exchange , low purchasing power of consumers are some of the economic indices that affected the industry like other businesses in the country.
According to him, the beer industry in Nigeria has been undergoing slow growth for four consecutive years, adding that the sector grew by 1 percent last year compared to 9-10 percent recorded in the years before 2010. He explained that the slight growth recorded by operators in the sector were in the areas of products innovation and expansions of beer plants driven by acquisition. He said that the company is the leading brewer in the industry with 20 products category, 11 beer plants and two malt plants across the country.
Shedding light on per capita beer consumption in Nigeria, he noted: “Although, 23 percent of Nigeria population is middle class, yet per capita consumption of beer is low compared to markets across the globe.
“ In Nigeria with a population of over 170 million, it 11 liters whereas in Brazil with 200 million population per capita consumption of beer is 70 liters; Russia 64 liters, Mexico 60 liters and South Africa it is 60 liters per person; Burundi 40 liters, Cameroun 40L and Sub-Saharan Africa 17liters. The last time Nigeria had high per capita consumption of beer was 1984, and it was 17 liters per person.”
Fielding questions on the impacts of their operations on the economy, he replied that the company has been doing business in Nigeria for 70 years, adding that government, host communities; shareholders feel their positive socio-economic impacts.