CISLAC tasks Tinubu to implement effective tobacco tax

CISLAC tasks Tinubu to implement effective tobacco tax

THE Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of urgency put the machinery running to implement effective tobacco tax regimes in Nigeria to address the harmful tendency the smoking of the product posed to the nation’s populace.

This was just as the organisation added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) also estimated that 30,000 Nigerians lose their lives yearly due to illnesses caused by tobacco.

This is much more than the 3,000 lives claimed by COVID-19 during the three years of the pandemic.

Making the assertion on Tuesday in Kano, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Alhaji Auwal Ibrahim Musa, while addressing a press conference on a programme tagged “Tobacco Taxation Agenda Setting for President Bola Tinubu’s Administration” said that the organisation has been championing effective tobacco taxation regimes in Nigeria.

He disclosed that ‘ Nigeria remains one of the leading tobacco markets in Africa, with its young and growing population a constant attraction to the tobacco industry.

As a global tool for the control of tobacco use, effective tax administration on the products poses a double-edged advantage to the health and economy of nations.

According to him, “In Nigeria, the burden of tobacco use is even more aggravated by the limited access to health care.

Nigeria continues to lag in the implementation of its commitments under the global Universal Health Coverage (UHC) with less than 5% of the population having any form of health insurance coverage.

Most Nigerians bear the full financial cost of health care as data shows that out-of-pocket expenditure represents about 75% of total health spending in the country. What this further means is that those without money are unable to access health care in the country.

He noted that ” Amidst the poor state of health care in the country, the prevalence of consumption of harmful products such as tobacco continues to further stretch the already overwhelmed facilities in the country and calls for more concerted efforts on the part of the government to control the use of such products.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco use kills 6 million people each year, and this could rise to 8 million by 2030 if the global epidemic is left unchecked. Tobacco use has also been identified as the major risk factor for over 80% of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases.

He hinted that interestingly, CISLAC is aware and impressed that President Bola Tinubu specifically mentioned in his manifesto that he promised to increase health care funding in the country through improved budgetary allocation and categorically identifying consumption tax on harmful products such as tobacco and alcohol as viable tool to mobilize resources for health financing.

Alhaji Musa therefore warned that Government must move to protect its young people and children by ensuring it does not succumb to the interference tactics of the tobacco industry that only aims to undermine effective tobacco control in the country.

Source: Tribune Online