BAT Uganda Directors, Candy Wekesa Okoboi (L), Philemon Kipkemoi (C), and Mathu Kiunjuri (R) joined by two of the Company’s shareholders Dr. Zaalyembikke Majanja (2nd L) and Ms. Bazalaki Robinah Walusimbi (2nd R) to cut a cake as part of celebrations to mark 95 years of BAT in Uganda. This was during the 2023 AGM held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Thursday 6 July.
Shareholders of BAT Uganda have approved Ushs 10.3 billion (Ushs 209 per share) as a first and final dividend for the year ended 31st December 2022, during the Company’s 23rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday. The dividend, which is in line with the Company’s 100% dividend payout policy, will be paid net of withholding tax on 1st August 2023.
During the AGM, the Company also celebrated its 95th year of operation in Uganda.
BAT Uganda Managing Director, Mathu Kiunjuri remarked: “Whilst the fundamentals of our business remain solid as evidenced by our sustained investment in the country for 95 years, the increasing incidence of illicit trade in Uganda remains a major threat to the sustainability of our business going forward. During 2022, the incidence of illicit cigarettes saw a spike, from 23.8% in December 2021 to 29.4% in the same period in 2022. The consequent shrinkage of the legitimate market significantly impacts the sustainability of Government and industry revenues.
“It is estimated that the Government loses up to Ushs 30 billion annually to the illicit cigarette trade. Third party research indicates that most of the illicit cigarettes are being either misdeclared for export but find their way back into the local market, or smuggled in from neighbouring countries and beyond. Uganda is also increasingly becoming a source of illicit cigarettes into regional markets such as Kenya.
Additionally, we continue to witness rampant non-compliance with the Tobacco Control Act, 2015 with unscrupulous traders selling cigarettes without the mandated graphic health warnings as well as sale of flavoured cigarettes.
“While the illicit trade situation is dire, we believe that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has made significant gains thus far. However, for meaningful and lasting impact, it is critical that Government redoubles its efforts, including ramping up multistakeholder and cross-border collaboration to ensure effective enforcement and enhancement of anti-illicit trade regulations.” BAT Uganda Chairman, Hon. Dr. Elly Karuhanga said:
“We are delighted to mark 95 years since BAT started operations in Uganda. We are proud of our contribution to the socio-economic development of the country, including supporting the livelihoods of over 30,000 Ugandans in our value chain, delivering sustained value to approximately 1,200 local (East African) shareholders and through sustained payments to the exchequer as one of Uganda’s leading taxpayers. As we work to accelerate the transformation of our business going forward, we will continue to contribute transparently to national dialogue on sustainable fiscal and regulatory frameworks, the
most urgent being a need for full enforcement of the tobacco control laws across the industry to address the prevalence of non-compliant and illicit tobacco products in the market.
“Looking ahead, I am certain that we have the right strategy, people and products, to continue delivering sustained value for our shareholders and build A Better TomorrowTM for our stakeholders.”