Cancer: CISLAC wants FG to increase tobacco, alcohol taxes
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has advocated upward review of tobacco tax in the country to reduce deaths from cancer and other tobacco-related causes.
The civil rights organisation expressed worry over the 30,000 deaths Nigeria reportedly records yearly due to tobacco consumption.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, while addressing the press on ‘Tobacco Taxation Agenda Setting for President Bola Tinubu’s Administration’, said effective tax administration on the products would benefit the health and economy of nations.
Rafsanjani reminded Tinubu of his campaign promise to tap from taxation on harmful products, such as tobacco and alcohol, to mobilise resources for health financing.
“Particularly at a time when the government is forced to take hard economic decisions that have brought unprecedented level of hardship to citizens across economic statuses, there could not be a better time for government to move to ensure the lives of Nigerians are better protected from harmful products, especially as households are unable to afford healthcare cost.
“In its Nigerian Development Update report, the World Bank noted that Nigeria could generate more than N600 billion yearly by increasing excise duties on tobacco and alcohol. According to the bank, excise on tobacco and alcohol do not impact the vast majority of people, and compliance can be monitored much more easily by the compliance agencies, making it a cost-effective strategy for promoting health and generating sufficient revenue to fund healthcare and other areas of development.”
CISLAC said it was impressed that Tinubu specifically promised, in his manifesto, to increase healthcare funding in the country through improved budgetary allocation and categorically identified consumption tax on harmful products such as tobacco and alcohol.
Rafsanjani added: “CISLAC hopes to remind the President of this very important campaign promise and urges him to, as a matter of urgency, put the machinery in place to implement effective tobacco tax regimes in Nigeria. It must be noted that Nigeria remains one of the leading tobacco markets in Africa, with its young and growing population, a constant attraction to the tobacco industry.
“Government must move to protect its young people and children by ensuring it does not succumb to the interference tactics of the tobacco industry that only aims to undermine effective tobacco control in the country.”
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