Saturday January 5 2013

Government to sign pact banning illegal sale of tobacco

By Sarah Tumwebaze

Uganda is to sign the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products next week, the government has announced.
The agreement seeks to secure the supply chain of tobacco products.

In an interview with the Saturday Monitor on Thursday, the principle medical officer in-charge of Mental Health and Control of Substances at the Ministry of Health, Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi, said the protocol was adopted in November and is only awaiting signing and implementation.

“We shall sign the protocol on January 10 and then submit a memo of the protocol to Cabinet which will give permission for the protocol to be implemented.”

These measures, according to the World Health Organisation, include commitments by countries to establish as a central measure a global tracking and tracing system to reduce the illicit trade of tobacco products.

The manager of the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), Dr Possy Mugyenyi, said the protocol is intended to put responsibility on government to control the smuggling of tobacco products such as cigarettes and Kuber across.
“This will help to maintain high prices of tobacco products so that they are not easily available to people,” Dr Mugyenyi said.

The Ministry of Health permanent secretary, Dr Asuman Lukwago, said they were working closely with the CTCA to reduce the consumption of tobacco products.

“The Bill has been drafted and we have sent it to Cabinet and waiting for it to be approved by Parliament since it affects this ministry more than any other,” Dr Lukwago said.