Tobacco fund coming as bill to empower NAFDAC progresses 

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill to amend the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) act to create a directorate to deal with Tobacco control in the control.

If passed into law, the bill will see to the creation of a national tobacco fund to cater for ailments related to the product.

The Bill sponsored by Olufemi Fakeye (APC, Osun) and 2 others passed through second reading during Tuesday’s plenary session.

The bill is entitled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act, Cap. N1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for the Inclusion of Raw and Semi Processed Foods, to Create a Directorate of National Tobacco Control and to Provide for the Payment of all Monies Received by the Agency into the Federation Account in accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and for Other Related Matters.’

Fakeye in his lead debate on the floor of the House, made it clear that the existing tobacco laws are obsolete and practically unenforceable.

He explained that the bill if passed into law, it would make provision for the creation of the National Tobacco Funds, that would help in taking care of treating tobacco related ailments.

He charged the House to support the bill, stressing that the tobacco industry in Nigeria is too big to be left unregulated.

According to him, “the tobacco companies are growing at 5% per annum, the turnover from the sales of tobacco products in Kano state alone is more than the entire sales in Ghana.

Adding his voice to bill, Abubakar Kannike (APC, Kwara) noted that “the existing law has no implementation mechanism and legal framework for enforcement

“No one is currently regulating the tobacco market, we need a body that has all the equipment, for effective control and regulation, such as you have in the US.

“We already have NAFDAC saddled with controls on consumption, then with a department under NAFDAC, the control of tobacco would be efficient.”

In his contribution, Mr. Edward Pwajok, (APC, Plateau) described the existing tobacco laws as more of discretionary provisions that are subject to the whims of the Minister for Health, noting that the discrepancy in the laws makes it hard to enforce the existing law.

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