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NTCA decries zero budgetary allocation for tobacco control

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The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has decried the non-budgetary provision for the tobacco control fund in the 2021 budget.

NTCA Alliance Coordinator, Oluseun Esan, who disclosed this during an interactive session with stakeholders in Abuja, argued that the refusal by the authorities to set aside monies for the tobacco control fund was in breach of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.

Esan called on the Federal Ministry of Health and Finance and relevant agencies like the budget office and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to prevail on the National Assembly to make budgetary provision, taxes, subvention from any of the governments of the federation and gift, donations and license fees for tobacco manufacturers and marketers to fund tobacco control in country.

Deputy Director Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and member, Steering Committee of the NTCA, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi warned that the non- implementation of the tobacco control Act could lead to astronomical rise in deaths associated with the COVID 19 infectious disease. 

He contended that tobacco control fund when operationalised and fully in operation will not only reduce the burden of healthcare cost and production losses among Nigerians, but will equally avail government the much needed resources to manage the aftermath of tobacco use and other health concerns among Nigerians.

NTCA’s Project advisor, Mr. Michael Olumide said it was unfortunate that the N7b allocation to the health sector in the 2021 budget was far below the African Union benchmark for member nation.

Citing a world health organisation (WHO) projection that a whooping sum of $7tr would be required globally to treat tobacco related diseases like lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes by 2025, he urged the authorities to make monies available for the control of tobacco consumption in the country. 

Hilda Ochefu who is the regional coordinator for West Africa campaign for Tobacco free kids who spoke in the sane vein argued that the operationalisation of the tobacco control fund would expedite the enforcement of the tobacco control Act.

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