FG Told To Operationalise Tobacco Control Fund

FG Told To Operationalise Tobacco Control Fund

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has decried the needless delay in operationalising the tobacco control fund.

The alliance, therefore urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency operationalise the tobacco control fund in the interest of Nigerians and their safety.

The group made the call at a briefing in Abuja with the theme: ‘Operationalise Tobacco Control Fund.’

Its members at the briefinf, demanded the immediate setting up of the administrative unit for the Tobacco Control Fund.

They said this would help the government to harness available resources for the fight against tobacco use in Nigeria.

In his address, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Board Chairman of NTCA, stressed the need for the fund to be made operational because of its huge benefit to the country, the citizens, and the country’s health indices.

“The Fund will provide needed resources for implementing agencies to be able to carry out timely and proactive interventions required for the successful implementation of tobacco control policies in the country,” Oluwafemi stressed.

He added that the fund would help the government prepare against possible interference of tobacco industries and over reliance on the funds that come as Greek gifts.

Speaking at the briefing, Michael Olaniyan, the West African Sub-Regional Technical Resource Person, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), said the operationalisation of the funds was critical to saving lives of Nigerians.

“It has become necessary for us to talk about this at this time because the more time we waste not operationalising this fund, the more lives are lost.

“It has become critical bearing in mind the economic crunch this country is going through and the limits to the budgetary allocation going to the ministry of health as it is always below par,” he said.

Olaniyan said the Tobacco Control Fund would help the Ministry of Health avoid going to the tobacco industry cap-in-hand for support because there is also a limit to support civil societies could give to the ministry.

Source: Independant