Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says there is need for the Tobacco Bill to clearly outline alternatives government will undertake to ensure sustainable livelihoods.
Speaking during the launch of a policy brief of the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Products Bill Analysis in Lusaka, CTPD Vice Board Chairperson, Mercy Siame added that the bill should also mandate a unit within the existing structures to spear head the programs on alternatives to sustainable livelihoods such as investment in other cash crops.
Ms. Siame explained that this is because the burden of the harmful effects of tobacco products outweighs any economic benefit that the country stands to gain.
“The urgency to enact tobacco control legislation is further exacerbated by the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. There are indications that smokers have a higher risk of contracting covid-19 than non-smoking counterparts,” said Ms. Siame.
Ms. Siame further noted that it is imperative that government prioritizes the enactment of the tobacco control bill which in its current form adequately addresses issues on tobacco control, production and manufacturing which also contributes to cyclic poverty.
“As CTPD, we are sad to note that despite being drafted in 2018, the tobacco control bill has not yet been approved by cabinet and is still being subjected to a review process,” she said.
She stressed that it is unfortunate that Zambia has one of the highest rates on illicit trading in tobacco and nicotine products in Southern Africa with little or no control on issues of pricing.
“It is our hope that government will put our recommendations on the analysis of the bill by developing policies that are aligned with and support its effective implementation,” she said.