Tobacco Act to be amended

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has said Parliament will soon consider amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, 2015 that seeks to amend the control and demand for the consumption of tobacco and its products.

Kadaga was responding to remarks by Rob Kelsall, the Director, Nilus Group Company that the Act does not allow them to deal directly with farmers.

"I have committed to follow up the amendment when Hon. Paul Mwiru brings the Private Members Bill to review this Act. This Law was very contentious; as Parliament, there are areas that we did not consult on fully and hope we shall rectify that clause that does not allow you to talk to farmers," Kadaga said.

The Speaker was officiating at the opening of a new tobacco factory in Masese, Jinja, on Thursday, 11 October 2018.

Hon. Paul Mwiru (FDC, Jinja East) said while Parliament was passing the Act, it mainly concentrated on the use and abuse of tobacco, rather than export.

“The Bill was largely looking at the health issues. With the help of the tobacco industry, I will present a Private Members Bill to amend the highlighted issues that have been raised here. We shall work hand in hand with the stakeholders to improve on the Bill,” he said.

Kelsall said the challenge with the tobacco industry is the misinterpretation of the Act to the effect that tobacco companies were not to be in contact with the farmers.

“The Act that was passed, states that the company cannot be in communication with farmers, which means that we cannot provide inputs and training to the farmers. How then are we going to expand to other areas?” Kelsall asked.

He said the industry had improved the welfare and livelihoods of farmers.

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