Transparency, particularly the disclosure of meetings and minutes between government Tofficials and the tobacco industry, as well as information on tobacco industry lobbying activities, increases government accountability, aids in understanding decision-making processes, and dispels concerns about potential industry influence. It also gives critical information to the public in order for it to fulfill its watchdog duty. Figure 12 shows the countries’ ranking in putting in place transparency measures when interacting with the tobacco industry.
As seen in the previous report, the worst performing countries were Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Mozanbmique and Zambia. Mozambique still does not have legal instruments or executive measures to oblige the tobacco industry comply with its transparency requirements.
In Zambia, the government does not publicly disclose meetings and interactions with the tobacco industry and does not have regualtions in place for the disclosure or registration of tobacco industry entities, affiliated organizations, and individuals acting on their behalf including lobbyists.
In 2021, the authorities in charge of health in Cameroon, had a secret
working session with the tobacco industry. This session resulted in a delay of six months for the industry to implement the second phase of the Graphic Health Mark.
In Senegal, the LISTAB article in Enquête Plus shows that public authorities do not publicly disclose information about meetings/interactions with the tobacco industry, where such interactions
are strictly necessary (ref: Survey Plus- November 26, 2021). Also, Governments have not yet put in place rules for making available and disseminating licensing information to tobacco industry entities, their affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf, including media groups
The anti-tobacco Law No. 2019-676 of 23 July 2019 does not have a specific article requiring the provision of information or registration of tobacco industry entities, their affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf in Cote d’Ivoire.
In Chad, a meeting was held between a delegation of employers including an official of the tobacco industry with senior officials of the Ministry. Neither the National Tobacco Control Programme nor civil society were invited to the meeting. The agenda and minutes of this meeting were not released. This is in violation of Decree 1523 which requires that any meeting of an authority with the Tobacco Industry be made public with communication of the agenda and contact details of those present.
The National Tobacco Control
Regulations 2019 Section 7(g) of Nigeria, provides for full annual report
and disclosure of tobacco industry subsidiaries, entities, affiliated organizations, joint ventures, partners, suppliers, licensees, agents, and individuals acting on their behalf including lobbyists. Unfortunately, there is only partial implementation of the law. The law only covers the registration and licensing of importers, manufacturers and distributors which began February 2023. Other category of affiliates of the tobacco industry are not covered by the law.
In Madagascar, the government does not require rules for the disclosure or registration of tobacco industry.
However, some countries continue to displays some form of best practice.
For instance in Botswana, the 2021 TC A requires tha t meetings between tobacco companies and government officials be held in public (49). Also, the minutes of such meetings must be recorded and made available to the public for transparency and to help prevent undue influence by the tobacco industry on tobacco control policies. However, these provisions are yet to be implemented, pending the development and adoption of new regulations.
Simlarly, tobacco control directive number 727/2021 in Ethiopia states that without prejudice of matters prohibited by law to disclose, any
communication between the government and tobacco industry shall be open to any interested citizen and shall be given copy of such record upon request by anyone or the Authority. In this regard, the meeting’s minutes were recorded during the meeting between FDA and NTE.
Ghana’s Tobacco Control Regulation, 2016 (LI. 2247), requires the registration of only tobacco industry and products, unfortunately it excluded affiliated organizations, and individuals acting on their behalf including lobbyists. These guidelines apply to all body-corporates duly
registered by the Registrar- General Department that want to import tobacco products into Ghana.
Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR) 2014 in Kenya, sets out the procedure for all interaction between the government officials and the tobacco industry. However, despite the existence of this procedure, information on meetings between public officials and tobacco industry is not readily accessible owing to bureaucracy. Information on the interactions are mostly heard through the media with no details on compliance to the requirements of TCR 2014. Again, the involvement of BAT’s Managing Director as a member of the Kenya National Drought Response Committee, and the fact that the President received a significant contribution of over Kshs.
542 million on December 2nd, 2022, primarily from organizations led by committee members, highlights the lack of public disclosure regarding the specific contributions made by BAT and other committee members.