By Musa Adamu
The federal government has been called upon to mainstream tobacco control into development agenda.
It was further urged to create a fund for the fight against tobacco intake to be known as National Tobacco Control Fund (NTCF).
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) made these call at a workshop yesterday in Abuja with other critical stakeholders on promoting FCT implementation as a priority within the Nigeria Sustainable Development Agenda.
In a communiqué issued after the event, NTCA, with other stakeholders also called on the federal government to further increase the tax to be at par with the WHO recommendation.
The communiqué reads in part: “Mainstreaming of Tobacco Control Into Development Agenda: Recalling the adoption of tobacco control by the September 2015 UN General Assembly as one of the “means of implementation” to reach the overall health goal (SDG 3) and a target on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), that government at all levels should work with relevant stakeholders to mainstream tobacco control into their sustainable development activities.
“Current Tobacco Tax: The current N1 specific tax on each stick of cigarette (N20 per pack), which would increase to N2 per stick in 2019 (N40 per pack) and eventually N2.90 per stick in 2020 (N58 per pack) while maintaining the current 20% ad valorem rate on unit cost of production is a good step yet much more needed to be done. This increase which amounts to less than 20% of retails cost which is still way below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 70% tax of the retail price. Other African countries currently impose higher excise duty rates on unit cost of production: Ghana (175%), Senegal (45%), and Gabon (32%). Thus, the stakeholders call on the Federal Ministry of Finance and indeed the Federal Government to further increase the tax to be at par with the WHO recommendation.
“Creation of the National Tobacco Control Fund: PART III of the National Tobacco Control Act establishes a Tobacco Control Fund (TCF) which shall among others; receive funding “ (a)…..as may be made available by the Federal Government from annual budgetary allocation approved by the National Assembly; and (b) monies in form of subventions from any of the governments.” We urge government to immediately establish this Fund to ensure sustainable funding for tobacco control Activities in the country.
“Speedy Adoption of the NTC-Act Regulations: On July 13 this year, the Federal Executive Council approved the Draft National Tobacco Control Regulation bill which government ought to immediately transmit to the National Assembly for approval. However, till now, the bill is yet to get to the National Assembly. We urge all concerned agencies and officials to fast track the process of getting the regulations to the National Assembly for speedy approval.
“Enforcement of Key Provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act.
2015: We further call on all the relevant agencies to commence action on enforcing key provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act: These agencies include the Nigeria Police Force, Civil Defence Corps, Standard Organization of Nigeria, the Consumer Protection Council and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, should begin enforcement of the key provisions.”