By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Federal Government has commenced the implementation of increment on tobacco products.
The Research Associate of Centre for the Study of Economies of Africa, Mma Amara Ekeruche disclosed at a media briefing organized by the Environmental Rights Action /Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN in Abuja.
Ekeruche said that the increment of N58,00 for each packet of tobacco products which will take three years duration started this year with increment of N20, 00, adding that another N20 will be added next year and N18 in 2022.
The Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi commended the Federal Government for the gazetting of the National Tobacco Control, NTC, Regulation 2019.
ERA demanded prompt enforcement of the NTC Act 2015 and NTC Regulations 2019, particularly the implementation of the ban of sale of cigarettes to minors, ban of sale in single sticks and Pictorial Health Warnings
It also called for the inauguration of a Tobacco Control Fund as recommended in the NTC Act 2015 and a synergy and Inter-governmental agency collaboration to enforce the NTC Act and its Regulations.
It further demanded, “Conformity with the provisions of the NTC Act 2015 which limits and requires transparency of interactions between government and the tobacco industry.”
Oluwafemi in a text he read said, “It is worth mentioning that this year started on a good note with the gazetting of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Regulations 2019.
“The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and the entire tobacco control community commend the Federal Ministries of Health and Justice for the strategic roles they played to ensure the gazetting happened.
“As you all must have noticed, it had been a winding road since the Regulations were approved by the Eighth National Assembly mid-2019 until the gazette finally happened.
“While the process lingered, we did not relent in making our views known to government that Nigerians should not be made to wait too long to join the global community in checking an industry determined to ensure a chokehold on the lungs of users of its products in our country. With the gazette, we do not feel it is time yet time for celebrations.
“It might interest you to know that the tobacco industry has not been sleeping. They have remained ingenious, working on new tactics to remain relevant and true to their bidding of stifling any form of regulation.
” For months we have noticed an up-tick in their so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities at state and national levels and on the social media space.”