Group advocates aggressive enlightenment on tobacco taxation



Mr Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC), a civil society organisation, has called for aggressive public enlightenment on tobacco taxation.

Musa made the appeal at a validation of report on effects of tobacco tax on consumption and affordability in Abuja on Friday.

He said that tobacco taxation would go a long way in determining the rate of tobacco consumption in the country.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting had in attendance critical stakeholders on tobacco taxation and control.

Musa, represented by Mrs Lovelyn Agbor-Gabriel, the Mobilisation and Evaluation Officer, CISLAC, said all relevant stakeholders on tobacco control must make objective studies on tobacco taxation so as to have informed data on the effort.

He explained that the essence of the meeting organised by CISLAC is to gauge the effect of the recent hike in tobacco taxation by the Federal Government in 2018, with a view to analyse if progress has been made to reduce, control and discourage tobacco consumption in the country.

He said the study on the report was very important and indispensable because it would help chart a way forward as regards the next step to take, to effectively dwindle tobacco consumption in the country.

Besides, he urged stakeholders to make objective inputs on the report of study on effect of tobacco tax on consumption and affordability as well as offer suggestions on the way forward on the subject matter.

Mr Joseph Ishaku, an official of Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), presented the draft study document titled “Effects of Increased Tobacco on Tobacco Affordability in Nigeria’’.

Ishaku said that the report indicated that despite the 20 per cent ad valerom tax on tobacco products by the federal government in 2018, significant reduction in consumption of tobacco products across the country has not been met.

He explained that the average retail price of tobacco so far only led to a 5.44 percentage change in urban area while the change in the rural area was merely 4.67 per cent.

“Before the new tax regime, price of a pack of cigarette in the urban area according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics was N215.12, but after the new taxation it increased to N226.82, resulting in 5.44 percentage incremental change.

“For the rural area, price of a pack of cigarette before the new tax kicked in was N215.87, but after the tax hike it became N225.16, thereby making the percentage change N4.67.

“So we can see that the tax hike has not been significant enough to achieve the targeted goal of affecting the economical dynamics of a regular Nigerian smoker, that is to discourage smokers due to the change in price,’’ he said.

NAN reports that other stakeholders bemoaned the poor effect of the new tax regime on tobacco taxation and called for a coordinated and holistic manner in approaching tobacco control policy so as to effectively curb consumption in the country.

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