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BAT Nigeria and creating jobs; to develop exports; to support the government in regularising the sector; and to establish an independent charitable foundation. Recognising that this could only be achieved with a world class manufacturing infrastructure, the company began with a phase of investment. Construction began straight away on a new $ 150 million state- of- the- art production facility at Ibadan, Oyo State, to replace an older and less efficient one. Designed to meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency and to provide the necessary capacity for growth, the plant was commissioned in June 2003 and has been consistently increasing production ever since. Meanwhile, significant upgrades and improvements were made to the existing facility at Zaria, Kaduna State, in northern Nigeria. To support the new plant in Ibadan and provide the quality of packaging it required, the South African packaging company NamPak invested $ 34 million in a state- of- the- art print facility alongside it. Over the past nine years BATN has worked to bring April 10 www. bus- ex. com 99 " Today, we have approximately 80 per cent of the measurable market in Nigeria," says Alistair Hide, head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for BAT West Africa. The company directly employs 835 people across its factories in Ibadan and Zaria; its offices in Lagos and Abuja; and through the BAT Foundation and agricultural activities. However, the economic benefits of its presence are much more widely spread. Estimates indicate that it indirectly employs over 14,000 people through its tobacco farms, suppliers and distributors. From early on, BATN's aim was to become one of the top 10 contributors to the BAT Group, and a big part of its strategy for achieving this is closely linked to the terms for operating in the country. With advice and active support from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission ( NIPC) the company signed a memorandum of understanding ( MOU) with the Nigerian government in September 2001 agreeing to invest in tobacco production in Nigeria; to bring production of all the popular brands into the country thus reducing the reliance on imports