Tax Increment On tobacco Will Continue Says Adewole
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for increasing the tax on tobacco, which took effect on Monday.
Adewole, however, disclosed that the Federal Government would continue to increase the tax on tobacco on a yearly basis.
The minister said this at a press conference held in Abuja on Monday to mark the 2018 World No-Tobacco Day.
Speaking at the event with the theme, ‘Tobacco and heart Disease’ and the slogan ‘Tobacco Breaks the Heart – Choose Health, Not Tobacco’, Adewole said that increasing tax on tobacco would dissuade people from smoking.
He said, “May I inform you that the new rate come into effect from today, June 4, 2018. It is an increase of N20 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarettes. This will be raised to N40 per pack in 2019 and subsequently, N58 per pack in 2020.
“Although the increment is below the ECOWAS tax directive of at least 50 per cent ad valorem plus $0.02 per stick of cigarette, cigar and cigarillos (or $20 per net kilogramme for all other tobacco products), I believe Mr. President will lead the Economic Community of West African States in implementing this directive within the shortest possible time to move Nigeria near the World Health Organisation-recommended tax increase that is equivalent to 70 per cent of the retail price of tobacco products.”
The minister noted that Nigeria’s consumption of over 20 billion sticks of cigarettes annually was still too high.
Stressing that about 4.5 million adult Nigerians, constituting 5.6 per cent of the adult population, consumed tobacco, he said, “About 82 per cent of the entire population is exposed to second-hand smoke when visiting bars/nightclubs and 29.3 per cent (6.4 million) when visiting restaurants, according to data from the Nigeria Global Adult Tobacco Survey which was carried out in 2012). Recent studies among University of Abuja undergraduates reveal that 33.3 per cent of the students are current smokers.”
The minister called on security agencies to enforce the ban on flavoured tobacco products, including Shisha.
Shisha smoking is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube.
In his remarks, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), described tobacco as a foreign exchange earner for the Federal Government.
Ali, who was represented by a DCG Patience Iferi, said there was a need for an increase on tobacco tax.
He said, “Tobacco has added to the treasury of Nigeria. According to our records on tobacco and cigarettes, 2, 228, 937.70kg of tobacco was exported in 2016. In 2017, 1, 018,793.56kg was exported.”