NTCA Nigeria

Close the Tobacco Control Funding Gap, NTCA Tells Gov’t.

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance has called on the government to take tobacco control more seriously in the country by ensuring adequate and sustainable funding for the full implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act, and its Regulations. This was contained in a speech by the Chairman of the Alliance, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi during a media briefing on February 27, 2024, in Abuja.

The chairman said “As an Alliance, we commend the 10 million Naira allocation for local tobacco control efforts in the 2024 national budget as a slight improvement compared to the 4.7 million Naira allocated in the 2023 national budget. However, it must be emphasized that this amount still falls below expectations, especially because we know that while it looks like the figure has gone up, there is almost no difference from last year’s allocation when Nigeria’s hyperinflation is considered.”

He went further to talk about the consequences of poor allocation to tobacco control in Nigeria as a potential rise in cancer cases and other diseases linked to tobacco consumption. He added that “with Nigeria’s frail health system, and the lean pocket suffered by many Nigerians, the Federal Government ought to prioritize financing the enforcement of tobacco control measures to ensure that diseases associated with tobacco products are prevented.”

Akinbode said another critical area of concern is “whether the monies previously budgeted were released into the Fund account. It is imperative to remind the Federal Government that the National Tobacco Control Act stipulates that funds allocated for tobacco control in the national budget or from other sources are to be remitted to the Tobacco Control Fund account for utilization. We strongly desire to see that this is complied with, and for this reason, we call on the Federal Ministry of Health to provide an update on the status of the Tobacco Control Fund, specifically detailing the current balance, sources of the monies in the Fund and details of previous spendings from the Fund.”

The activities of tobacco companies, specifically their obligation to pay for operating licenses were also highlighted, and the Alliance asked the Federal Ministry of Health to thoroughly probe this and ensure that tobacco companies comply with local laws and also to ensure that defaulters are penalized.

For other sources of funding for tobacco control in Nigeria, the alliance had this to say “It is time for the Federal Government of Nigeria to consider earmarking tobacco tax as a dedicated source for financing tobacco control enforcement efforts in the country. By earmarking tobacco tax for tobacco control measures, the government can establish a funding mechanism that directly aligns with the objectives of ending tobacco consumption, preventing tobacco-related diseases, and promoting public health. Moreover, earmarking tobacco tax for tobacco control initiatives ensures that the burden of funding these critical programs does not fall solely on the government’s general budget.”

More photos from the media briefing

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