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The health and economic implications of the Tobacco Control Bill

Nigeria is between Passing the bill for the health of its people or reviewing it for the economic side.



Health and Economic implications of the Tobacco Control Bill, can there be a truce?
Globally, economic downsides of Tobacco Control Policies have been a major criticism raised against it. While, several countries of the world have formulated policies such as higher taxes or outright ban to restricts the consumption of tobacco products, the debate is still ongoing.

Some debates to consider

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco consumption is a leading global disease risk factor and the underlying cause of ill health and preventable death. But as though in contradiction to the WHO, Greece reportedly has one of the highest per capita tobacco consumption rates in the world. Yet, the country has a relatively low incidence of lung cancer.

Back home in Nigeria…

In Nigeria, there have been sustained tussles among major stakeholders over the delay in the passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill. Nairametrics, in its recent article, explained how the Nigerian Government is proposing a downward review on the taxes imposed on tobacco companies.

Recall that in 2015, the National Assembly reportedly passed into law the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB). After the passage of the bill in 2015, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu reportedly said the following:

“The passage of the bill is a milestone for us as the Senate. The dangers associated with smoking cannot be over emphasised and the tragedy here is that those at risk are not just those who smoke, but also those around them, their loved ones, their families, neighbours and friends.”

Meanwhile, four years later, controversies still trail the Tobacco Control Bill in Nigeria. Severally stakeholders and groups have expressed utter disbelief at the way the bill has dragged for years.

At a Stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) earlier in the week, a former senator, Olorunnimbe Mamora said:

“There are things I don’t understand in this country and this is one of such things. What is happening to that bill?

“We must track it from the National Assembly, also ask the office of the Attorney-General and even the presidency.

“ It cannot just disappear.”

What the Tobacco Control Bill addresses?

Specifically, some highlights of the Tobacco Control Bill include:

  • Prohibition of the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 18
  • Ban of promotion of tobacco or tobacco products in any form
  • Display of the word ‘WARNING’ in capital letters on every package containing tobacco product
  • No Smoking of tobacco products in public places, except as approved by law or occupied by the smoker.
  • Ban of sale or offer for sale or distribution of tobacco products through the mail, internet, or other online platforms.
  • A person who smokes in prohibited places is liable to pay a fine of not less than N50,000 or 6months jail term.

Is National Tobacco Control bill missing?

There have been reports that the country’s President, Mohammadu Buhari, does not have the bill. That is why he has yet to sign the bill into law.

But the Director of Corporate Accountability and Administration at ERA/FoEN, has a different take on the matter. He recently stated the following:

“The bill is actually not missing. I think for now, even if the president doesn’t have the bill, the president can request for the bill and sign it.

“We know that there are so many undercurrents that are happening and the president needs to stand firm and resist the tobacco industry.”

In the meantime, civil society groups in Nigeria are continuing their sustained struggles to get the bill approved by the President.

Tussle deepens, as National Assembly revisited the bill

Nigeria’s tobacco control bill was passed into law in 2015 but enforcement has remained a challenge because several sections of the bill have been raised to require the approval of the regulations by the National Assembly.

Just recently, the Federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Francis Alaneme, kicked against the N35m penalty clause on manufacturers, importers and distributors in the draft of the National Tobacco Control Regulations.

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“This stringent measure will eventually lead to job loses and possible relocation of affected companies to neighbouring African countries as was the case with Dunlop and Michelin.”

However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, threw their weights behind the bill.

A synopsis on Tobacco and health

  • WHO estimated 77 million smokers in Africa, namely 6.5 percent of the continent’s population.
  • Second-hand smoke causes 890,000 premature deaths per year globally.
  • Smoking reportedly causes Asthma, lung cancer, blockages, and narrowing arteries. It also harms other organs of the body
  • Over 1.4 billion people, or 20 percent of the world’s population, are protected by comprehensive national smoke-free laws

Tobacco and some economies

The global cigarette market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% between 2018 to 2023. This suggests opportunities for Nigeria to divest.

  • In Indonesia, tobacco product (cigarette) exports raked in a total of $931.6 million in just 2018
  • In 2014, Zimbabwe recorded exports of some US$450m, with Belgium and China being the major buyers
  • Switzerland produced 34.6 billion cigarettes – nearly two billion packets in 2016

Bill must stay, but a review may be required 

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a 10% increase in life expectancy creates an economic growth of around 0.3% – 0.4% a year.

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Nigeria is between Passing the bill for the health of its people or reviewing it for the economic side.

Whichever way, if a truce is not found and tobacco companies exit the economy afterwards, thousands of Nigerians and Nigeria may as well bid goodbye to jobs and the financial flows that come from the industry.

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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DPR says it has accurate data of country’s crude production volume

Head, Public Affairs of DPR, Mr Paul Osu, said every litre of crude produced in the country was adequately captured during the process of extraction.



Nigerian oil cargo

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said that the agency has an accurate record of the crude oil produced in the country.

This is in reaction to claims that the exact volume of crude oil produced in the country has remained unknown.

While making this disclosure in a statement in Lagos, the Head, Public Affairs of DPR, Mr Paul Osu, said every litre of crude produced in the country was adequately captured during the process of extraction.

What the Head, Public Affairs of DPR is saying

Osu said DPR has the responsibility of monitoring and accounting for crude oil production which is the basis for determining the government’s revenue through royalty payments by operators for sustainable development.

He said: “As a further step to boosting crude accounting process from production to export, DPR recently launched the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS).

NPMS is an online platform for direct and independent acquisition of production data from oil and gas facilities in Nigeria.

NPMS as an electronic data transmission tool at production and export terminals is designed to better predict the performance of oil and gas reservoirs and better production forecasting.”

Osu noted that the NPMS tool enables DPR to exercise surveillance, perform production monitoring and data analysis for utilisation and forecasting.

He said DPR as a business enabler and opportunity house would continue to develop robust and strategic initiatives to ensure timely and accurate payment of rents, royalties and other revenues due to the government.

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In case you missed it

  • It can be recalled that the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji, on Thursday said the exact volume of crude oil produced in Nigeria, especially at the deep offshore fields, is not known by anyone.
  • He said the exact volume of crude oil produced in Nigeria had remained unknown because of the absence of meters at wellheads and the lack of capacity to monitor deep offshore fields.

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Sanwo-Olu flags off Red line rail project as Lagos compensates property owners

The 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving over 1 million commuters daily.



FG inks $3.9 billion deal with Chinese firm for construction projects

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has flagged off the construction of the 37-km Rail Mass Transit Red Line, which will traverse from Agbado to Marina, moving over 1 million commuters daily.

This is as the state started the compensation of identified project-affected persons of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Red Line project with the Governor handing over cheques to displaced property owners who were affected by the right-of-way.

The groundbreaking ceremony which took place at the Ikeja Train Station on Thursday was witnessed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, and the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu said the Red Line project which is to be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022 with 8 train stations from Agbado to Oyingbo, is another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.

The Governor said: “Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda. This is because we recognise the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.

Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction.

Sanwo-Olu said that in order to facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line, the State Government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including 6 overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The overpasses will provide grade-separated crossings that will enhance safety for the rail system and road users.

He said: “The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

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Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure.”

The Governor presented cheques of different amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected with many of the property owners and tenants smiling as they got their cheques.

What you should know

  • The Red Line is part of the state government’s vision of an integrated multimodal transportation system contained in the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), developed by LAMATA, which aims ultimately to birth a world-class transportation network that will support the state’s profile, as the economic capital of Nigeria and Africa.
  • It is to raise mass transportation capacity in the State, complementing the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina.
  • The rail corridor will be constructed in three phases. The first phase (Agbado-Iddo), which will be completed in 24 months, will be sharing the track with the Federal Government’s Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project up to Ebute – Metta and will have its dedicated track from Ebute – Metta to Oyingbo and reduce travel time from about two and a half hours to just 35 minutes.

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