The Tobacco Control Act which was passed by the 7th Parliament and signed into Law in 2015 seeks to bring order into the manufacture, promotion and distribution of tobacco products in Nigeria.
Speaking on the enforcement of the law almost one year after, Freddy Messanvi, Director, Legal and External Affairs Director, BAT West Africa stated that In line with our belief in the value of a balanced, workable and evidenced based regulatory framework, British American Tobacco Nigeria continually supports the objective of ensuring the effective implementation of practical tobacco control measures, provided that these measures adequately combat smoking activity in a manner which is proportionate, not duplicating or contradicting existing laws, and does not unjustifiably limit any rights or objectives.
He also stated that for regulation to be effective, regulation must be very clear in terms of set objectives in order to reduce the health impact of tobacco and should not leave the market at the mercy of smugglers and criminal gangs.
One year after the law has been passed, enforcement has not been fully implemented in Nigeria and this has provided opportunities for illicit products to thrive and exploitation of the non-enforcement status.
Freddy said “We are a responsible organisation that has constantly paid taxes and abided by the laws and regulations of Nigeria, supporting a success story of Foreign Direct Investment and local production in our operations. We have been proactive by ensuring compliance with all requirements of the law. At this point, we can only appeal to all relevant Government agencies saddled with the responsibility of implementation to commence with the enforcement.
He further stated that “As a responsible organisation, we will continue to abide by all laws of the country we operate in and will support the effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Act with a positive contribution of setting a new global benchmark in tobacco control.”