Group demands immediate activation of tobacco control fund

On Monday, the BBC reported that it found evidence to suggest British American Tobacco (BAT) sabotaged competitors in South Africa and in Zimbabwe, and paid a bribe to the late president Robert Mugabe.

A group, the National Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), has called on the Federal Ministry of Health and other critical ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to as a matter of urgency commence operationalisation of the tobacco control fund without further delays.

Its Coordinator, Mr Oluwafemi Akinbode, made the call yesterday while addressing a press conference in Abuja.

The group said the Tobacco Control Fund as established by the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 was a necessary tool for the sustainability of tobacco control efforts in Nigeria.

He said it would provide the needed resources for the implementing agencies to be able to carry out timely and proactive interventions required for success.

Akinbode said Section 8 of the Act establishes the Fund, saying the Fund is to be managed by the National Tobacco Control Committee, which comprises of several MDAs and a representative of the civil society.

The group demanded that the “Ministry of Health and other critical MDAs as a matter of urgency should see to it that the fund is operationalised without further delays.

“The seeming interference of the tobacco industry in the operationalisation of the fund should be stopped immediately,” he said.

The group stressed that the government should provide budgetary provisions for tobacco control activities in the country.

It noted that a percentage of the taxes and other levies from tobacco and tobacco products should be earmarked for the tobacco control fund.

The group further stated that the Ministry of Health should start the collection of licencing fees from tobacco products stakeholders for the fund without further delay.

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