Federal Government says it will raise the excise tax of N20 on each pack of 20 cigarette sticks to N40 in June as part of measures to discourage tobacco use in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health Abdulaziz Abdullahi,, at a Ministerial press briefing in Abuja during the weekend lamented the high burden of tobacco in Nigeria, saying no fewer than 16,100 persons are killed every year in the country as result of its use.
He said, “Considering the role of weighty tobacco excise tax in demand-reduction, the Ministry is canvassing with the Fiscal Authorities to raise the excise beyond the current rate so that Nigeria can be at par with the ECOWAS directive on harmonization of excise duties.
The current tax regime in Nigeria is 20 percent ad valorem duty rate in addition to a specific excise tax of N20 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarettes which is expected to jump to N40 per pack by June this year. “Our first target is to quickly attain the ECOWAS bench mark and then ultimately get an excise tax of at least 70% of retail sales price of all tobacco products.
“The long awaited Regulations to the National Tobacco Control Act has finally been approved by the National Assembly on the 28th of May 2019 in line with Section 39 of the Act.” Abdullahi maintained that though tobacco is a legitimate product in Nigeria, its use in any form or disguise including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is very hazardous. “Estimates from the Tobacco Atlas 6th edition shows that over 16,100 persons are killed every year in Nigeria as result of tobacco-related diseases,” he stressed.
addressing journalists, the World Health Organization, WHO, Officer-in-Charge
for Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peters, said: “We need to embrace the proven health
benefits of stopping tobacco use as well as the feasible actions that the
public and governments can take to reduce the risks to lung health posed by