Government passes tobacco control bill

By Alice Lubwama

Parliament has passed the Tobacco Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020 scrapping taxation on processed tobacco restricting it on the unprocessed leaf for export.

The Vice Chairperson of the finance Committee also Packwach District Woman Representative Jane Pacuto in his report to Parliament said that the tax measures are meant to restrict the export of raw tobacco leave by foreign companies that process it in neighboring countries and later bring it back to Uganda for sale.

She argues that levying tax on unprocessed leaves will create more employment for the local farmers and also generate revenue for the country of about 20 Billion shillings.

BAT gross revenue hits shs.86.2 BN mark

By Edwin Muhumuza

British American Tobacco Uganda has posted gross revenues of Ushs 86.2 billion and a profit before tax of Ushs 9.7 billion.This in its half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

BAT Uganda Managing Director, Mathu Kiunjuri said that in the first half of 2019, gross revenue increased by 17% to Ushs 86.2 billion driven by growth in volumes due to distribution efficiencies and portfolio transformation. Profit from operations increased by 11% to Ushs 9.8 billion due to the growth in revenues, partly offset by higher cost of operations.

The increase in cost of operations was in line with volume growth, inflationary increases and additional investment in the brand portfolio.

Profit before tax increased by 9% to Ushs 9.7 billion in line with growth in revenues, offset by finance lease costs recognised in line with revised accounting standards said Kiunjuri.

BAT Uganda Chairman, Hon. Elly Karuhanga said in as much as contribution to Government revenues in the form of Excise Duty, Value Added Tax and Corporation Tax increased by 19% to Ushs 50.2 billion, illicit trade in tax- evaded tobacco products continues to pose a threat to Government revenues and shareholder value.

According to third party research findings, the market saw an increase in illicit tax-evaded cigarette sales in the first quarter of this year, standing at 22.2%,translating into an estimated loss in Government revenue of UShs 30 billion annually.

“Whilst we applaud the Government of Uganda for steps taken to address the cost of doing business in this market, we reiterate that the trade in illicit tax-evaded cigarettes continues to pose a threat to the legitimate tobacco industry and sustainability of Government revenues,” He noted.

Karuhanga also expressed confidence in the exceptional quality of talent within the Company and partnerships with over 30,000 business partners, as the right strategy to deliver business growth and continued value to all stakeholders.

Anti tobacco organisations ask officials to speak out on dangers of tobacco

By Deo Waswa

Anti-Tobacco Health organizations in Uganda are calling upon the government officials that are going to attend international labor organization meeting in Kampala to be bold and request the tobacco companies to stop funding the government.

From 3rd to 5th this month of July, the international labour organization will convene a meeting in Kampala to exchange views on the development and implementation of an integrated strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector.

While addressing journalists, organization which include, Uganda health communications alliance and Uganda national consumers organization says, the meeting will have meaningless if officials from Uganda government do not boldly tell the tobacco companies to withdraws its funding from the government.

Richard Baguma, the national coordinator of the alliance says, because of the funding these companies give the government is the major reason why they have continued to carry out their operations despite the existence of anti tobacco Act which prohibits some of operations of these companies.

The meeting in Kampala is expected to propose strategies to promote an enabling policy environment for decent work in tobacco growing countries strengthen social dialogue and assist tobacco growing communities to address decent work deficits, including child labor and to transition to alternative livelihoods.

Tobacco:Only 6 companies have been licensed

By Wasswa Deo

Six (6) Tobacco companies have been licensed by the Ministry of Trade to begin operations for the 2017 Crop Season in the country.

Major objectives of these licensed companies including, sponsoring tobacco farmers in their areas of operations and promote use of certified Tobacco seeds.

While handing over the contracts to these companies, Ambassador Oneni Julius, the permanent secretary at the ministry of trade has noted that, licensing these companies is a move to alienate quack companies that have been fleecing and cheating tobacco farmers.

The licensed companies includes, Alliance one Tobacco, Leaf tobacco and commodities, Uganda Tobacco service limited, Nimatabac  Limited, and Continental  Tobacco limited.

Photo: The Financial Gazette

Uganda police Partners with UNHCO on enforcing the anti tobacco law

By Waswa Deo

Uganda police is in a partnership with Uganda National health User’s  and consumer’s  organization(UNHCO) to sensitize police officers countrywide on how best to implement the Tobacco control Act 2015.

According to Taire Idhwege Geoffrey, the commissioner environment, protection at police unit, the partnership seeks to call upon each Ugandans including police officers to follow the law that puts into effect a 100% smoke free future for Ugandans.

Robinah Katirimba, executive director Uganda National health User’s and consumer’s organization (UNHCO) says they will continue to go into several partnerships with  other government and private institutions to give full implementation of the law.

The Uganda parliament passed a law last in 2015 on 28th July that brings Uganda into line with the strongest tobacco control policies around the world.

The law was then launched officially, on 31st June this year to into use.

The law prohibits, Smoking within 50 meters of public spaces, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, as well as on cigarette pack displays at the point of sale, sale of cigarettes in public places such as healthcare facilities, cinemas, police stations, prison, or within 50 meters of education institutions or places where children are cared for, sale of tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age. Among others.

Police doesn’t have enough work force to enforce the anti tobacco law

There is lack of sufficient police manpower to enforce the Anti-Tobbaco Law, URN has learnt. Mid this month, government announced the operationalisation of the Anti-Tobacco Law, which seeks to regulate smoking. The law makes it unlawful to sell or operate tobacco-related products or smoke a cigarette within 50 meters from any public facility or place.

The law also criminalizes smoking, importing and selling of shisha and other tobacco products like Kuber, which is packaged in green plastic sachets and sold off the counter in supermarkets. The law also criminalises buying of a stick of cigarette and only allows buying and selling a packet of cigarette.

Despite the operationalisation of the law, URN has learnt that there are only 200 officers trained under the Environmental Police Unit who have received training to enforce the Anti-Tobbaco Law. The force needs more than Shillings 4 billion to train and sensitise police officer across the country to enforce the act. Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, says the public will have to wait until next year before police can begin enforcing the law.

According to Enanga, the officers need to study and internalize the law before they start enforcing it.

URN visited Arua Park in Kampala and spoke to some people who said they were not aware about the Anti-Tobacco law. Our reporter found several people including police officers smoking freely. Brain Mambo, a smoker told URN that he isn’t aware of the law banning smoking in public.

He said in any case if the law exists, government should designate smoking zones in public places such as parks and markets where people can comfortably smoke. Umar Kawooka, who our reporter found smoking freely outside Old Taxi Park, said he didn’t know that smoking in public has been outlawed.

Olive Namusoke, a cigarette vendor outside Kisenyi bus terminal told our reporter that she wasn’t aware that is illegal to display cigarette. She promised to abide with the law, once she gets more information.

Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, the National focal person for Tobacco control requested the press to spread information about the law and help reduce the number of people who die due to tobacco related illnesses.

A survey conducted by the Health Ministry in 2014, shows that about 13,500 people die annually due to tobacco related illnesses.  The study also shows that 75 percent of all patients with oral cancers reported at Mulago Hospital in 2008 had a history of tobacco smoking.

Health experts say exposure to tobacco smoke causes diseases including respiratory infections and disease as oral, lung and throat cancers.

 

-URN

TOBACCO USE ON THE RISE, 13500 DEATHS REGISTERED

By Moses Kidandi

Government has released three forms survey indicating 20% of the youth are using tobacco compared to 10% adults that are tobacco users.

The Ministry of Health Tobacco Control Epidemiologist David Kadobera says that the surveys shows that youths use smokeless tobacco yet adults smoke yet young female smokers are more than adult ladies who smoke.

The findings are from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Global Youth Tobacco Survey and Uganda Cancer Institute Tobacco Study.

Kadobera discovers that 60% of the mouth and stomach cancer at Mulago Cancer Institute are tobacco related causes while the annual 13500 deaths are due to tobacco related diseases.


PHOTO: theconversation.com

British American Tobacco accused of bribing senior politicians in order to sabotage anti-smoking laws

British American Tobacco, one of Britain’s biggest companies, has been accused of bribing senior politicians and civil servants in a bid to sabotage anti-smoking laws.

The allegations by whistleblowers from the company, and supported by court documents, relate to the company’s operations in several African countries.

Paul Hopkins, who served in the Irish Special Forces before working for BAT, claims he broke the law for the tobacco firm. “I was a commercial hitman,” he said in an interview broadcast on BBC One’s Panorama.

Commenting on the practice of bribery, Mr Hopkins, who worked for BAT in Kenya for 13 years, said: “It was explained to me in Africa that’s the cost of doing business.”

Several individuals involved with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) were allegedly targeted.

Under the UK Bribery Act, British companies can be prosecuted for bribery which takes place overseas. And anti-smoking campaigners are demanding the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launch a criminal investigation into BAT.

 

 

 

Source: Independent