UGANDA: No Money to Implement Anti-Smoking Law – Government

October theMonitor; The principal medical officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi, has said government is yet to release money to implement anti-smoking laws.

The law passed last year provides for stringent measures aimed at protecting non-smokers from the health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use and exposure.

While addressing executive members of the Parliamentary Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases in Kampala last Thursday, Dr Ndyabangi said the process of implementing regulations and policies will take longer to be completed due to lack of funds to conduct consultative meetings to collect peoples’ views on the law.

“I did not get any money for workshops. How can you develop regulations without inviting people to have concessions? We have a gap in the allocations because there is no more funding for conferences and workshops yet the Ministry of Health has only a single boardroom which is used constantly for various purposes,” she said.
Government is currently developing policies and regulations to guide the implementation of the anti-smoking law.

The policies and regulations, she said will elaborate the law and allocate roles to the various agencies, including the implementation committee, on how to proceed.

“The law is in force but the regulations seek to spell out some issues and meaning of some phrases to the enforcement departments,” said Dr Ndyanabangi.

The Tobacco Control Act, 2015 was passed on July 28 last year and was assented to by the President on September 19 2015.

It was gazetted on November 18, 2015 after it was overwhelmingly supported by MPs.
However, the Act which came into force on May 19 has not been implemented.

Dr Ndyanabangi said people who smoke in public are stubborn and police are not doing their work to arrest them.

She asked MPs to make a uniform increment on taxes for all tobacco products irrespective of their brands to 75 per cent on retail prices to make the cost of cigarettes expensive.

Former Buikwe South MP Michael Lulume Bayiga asked Parliamentarians to desist from politicising the implementation of the law but rather consider the promotion of wellbeing of the people.

“MPs and all stakeholders [should] to consider the adverse effects of tobacco use. More than 26 per cent of the cancers originate from tobacco use,” Dr Bayigga said adding that government incurs more than the revenues attained from taxes on tobacco.

The law

Notices. The law directs persons responsible for public place to put up notices prohibiting smoking as prescribed by regulations and any person found in breach is liable to a fine not exceeding 12 currency points or imprisonment for six months or both.

Adverse effect. CharThe notices must be written in a language that is understandable and widely recognised such as English, Kiswahili and any other local language as prescribed by regulations. Anyone found in is liable to fine not exceeding 12 currency points or imprisonment for six months or both.

Aim of the law. The Tobacco Control Act, 2015, which was passed on July 28 last year and assented to by the President on September 19 2015, seeks to control the sale, distribution, consumption and marketing of tobacco products.

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