By Godwin Otang
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC, through her Tax Justice Network Platform, TJNP, in collaboration with other CSOs has converged in Calabar, the Cross River State capital to strengthen the anti-tobacco advocacy and Tobacco Tax Control Law in the State.
In an address, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa said tobacco taxation is an essential component of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.
He explained, “To fully realize the benefits, it is vital to understand the impact of increased taxes among high-risk sub-populations. Tobacco taxation passed on to consumers in the form of higher cigarette prices, has been recognized as one of the most effective population-based strategies for decreasing smoking and its adverse health consequences.
“As part of efforts to galvanize support for an improved tobacco taxation regime in Nigeria, the project is mobilizing civil society engagement of the process through effective advocacy. It is in this regard that you are invited to beef up knowledge on tobacco control and tobacco taxation specifically,” he said.
On his part, CISLAC’s Programs Manager, Mr. Okeke Anya said, “For the past two years we have been carrying out capacity-building programs to help people understand tobacco control, especially as it relates to taxation, in ensuring that Nigeria tackles the Tobacco menace.
“The whole idea is informed by the devastating effects of the use of tobacco. You can imagine losing about 8 million people to tobacco-related diseases globally and 16 thousand in Nigeria, that is a very big number, and if we do nothing, the effect will continually increase.”
Meanwhile, concerning the Cross River State Tobacco Tax Control Law, Okeke said that “we have made advocacy for the engagement of the law in Cross River State, Lagos, Ekiti, Rivers, and several others, to support the National Tobacco Control Act. So Cross River State should also adopt the law, to caution the effects of tobacco and its consequences in the State. Just like we have the Child’s Right Law, there is a National Tobacco Act and States need to adopt such laws, to caution the tobacco effects on the people and boost taxation.”
Also speaking, Mr. Effiom Duke, who presented the Tobacco Tax Control Law, assured that soon the law will see the limelight.
“We intend to join forces with CISLAC, to drive the anti-tobacco advocacy and the Tobacco Tax Control Law, in Cross River. If everything comes to the limelight as envisaged, maybe by the last quarter of the year, the Cross River Tobacco Tax Control Bill will be passed into law.”
The program featured training on anti-tobacco advocacies and study of the proposed Cross River Tobacco Tax Control Bill.
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