Following delay in the full implementation of the Tobacco Control Act which was passed by the 7th Assembly and signed into Law last year, tobacco manufacturing giant, British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has called on government to expedite action to ensure enforcement of the provisions of the law to bring order to the manufacture, promotion and distribution of tobacco products in Nigeria.
Director, Legal and External Affairs Director, BAT West Africa Mr. Freddy Messanvi, expressed concern that non implementation of this law after about a year of its enactment has given illicit tobacco traders unrestricted liberty to carry on with their nefarious activities. Messanvi stated that in line with the belief in the value of a balanced, workable and evidenced-based regulatory framework, BATN supports the effective implementation of practical tobacco control measures, provided they 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, it must be very clear in terms of set objectives in order to reduce the health impact of tobacco use and should not leave the market at the mercy of smugglers and criminal gangs.
He 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 speedily commence with the enforcement of the TCA.
“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.”