Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance NTCA
The NTCA is urging for more transparency regarding the tobacco control fund.

NTCA Tasks FG With Maintaining Transparency On Tobacco Control Fund

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has called on the Federal Ministry of Health to provide a comprehensive update on the status of the Tobacco Control Fund amid growing concerns over the allocation, utilisation and usage of funds for tobacco control.

The alliance made the call at a media briefing on the 2024 tobacco control budget, in Abuja.

Chairman of NTCA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, stressed the importance of transparency, stating that the National Tobacco Control Act stipulates that funds allocated for tobacco control in the national budget or from other sources are to be remitted to the Tobacco Control Fund account for utilisation.

“We strongly desire to see that this is complied with, and for this reason we call on the Federal Ministry of Health to provide an update on the status of the Tobacco Control Fund, specifically detailing the current balance, sources of the monies in the Fund and details of previous spendings from the Fund,” Oluwafemi said.

He also emphasised the imperative of increasing funding for tobacco control in the 2024 national budget, underscoring the N10 million allocated for the course in the 2024 budget when adjusted for hyperinflation.

“As an Alliance, we commend the 10 million Naira allocation for local tobacco control efforts in the 2024 national budget as a slight improvement compared to the 4.7 million Naira allocated in the 2023 national budget. However, it must be emphasized that this amount still falls below expectations, especially because we know that while it looks like the figure has gone up, there is almost no difference from last year’s allocation when Nigeria’s hyperinflation is considered.”

Allaying fears over the operation of unlicenced tobacco companies in the country, Oluwafemi warned that allowing tobacco companies to operate without licenses not only poses a health hazard due to the harmful nature of their products but also bleeds the country of revenue and undermines the regulatory framework and efforts to control tobacco use in the country.

“Where infractions are discovered, appropriate penalties should be applied,” he urged.

Furthermore, Oluwafemi urged the government to consider earmarking tobacco tax as a source for financing tobacco enforcement efforts in the country.

“Earmarking tobacco tax for tobacco control initiatives ensures that the burden of funding these critical programs does not fall solely on the government’s general budget.”