The Federal Government will be increasing the excise tax on tobacco products from 30 per cent ad-valorem to 50 per cent.
This was disclosed by Head of Tobacco Control Unit, Noncommunicable Disease Division, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Mangai Malau, on Tuesday, April 18, at the National Tobacco Control Budget Advocates Meeting in Abuja.
Malau who presented a paper titled “Overview of Tobacco Control Funding/Budgeting in Nigeria: Why Tobacco Control Budgeting and Funding?, said the tax increase is part of the federal government’s effort to control smoking.
Asides stating that funding for tobacco control must come majorly from taxation, he added that there is also a need for relevant stakeholders to apply tax measures rightly if they are to address the issues of tobacco control in the country.
“In effectively controlling tobacco and tobacco products in Nigeria, funding is a critical component. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recognises this and clearly stipulates in Article 26.
“It states that parties shall provide financial support in respect of its national activities intended to achieve the objective of the Convention, in accordance with its national plans, priorities and programmes.
“It is also important to state that funding is a major provision of the National Tobacco Control Act. Section eight of the Act, provides for the Tobacco Control Fund, which shall be used to fund tobacco control activities programmes and projects.
“Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke is a leading cause of mortality, morbidity, disability and impoverishment in the world.
“It is the greatest risk factor for non-communicable diseases like hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
“Tobacco causes more than eight million deaths annually around the world, with more than seven million of those deaths as a result of direct tobacco use.
“And about 1.2 million resulting from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Also, there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke and even a brief exposure can be harmful to one’s health.
“Concerned about the threat from tobacco, Nigeria signed and ratified the WHO FCTC, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. In 2015, the National Tobacco Control Act was enacted and its Regulations was passed in 2019.”