2013 AFRO shadow reports reveal tobacco industry interference
“I urge Parliament to unanimously adopt the tobacco control bill,” said Mr Amadou Moustapha Gaye, Vice President of la Ligue sénégalaise contre le tabac (LISTAB), at a press conference to launch his organization’s 2013 shadow report in Senegal.
Two days later the law was adopted.
In 2013, FCA member organizations from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal each published shadow reports that condemned the poor implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in their respective countries. FCTC Article 5.3, on preventing tobacco industry interference, was a common denominator.
According to the reports, enforcement of measures to prevent industry interference remains a problem, even in cases where a strict law exists to protect policies from the vested interests of the industry.
Ministry critical of law
Afrique contre le tabac, our member in Burkina Faso, was shocked to discover that the country’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Handicraft speaks in favour of the tobacco industry. According to the shadow report, the ministry has openly and officially criticized the current anti-tobacco law, claiming that it was not involved in the process whereas the bill was discussed in the council of ministers prior to adoption.
In Chad, the Association pour la défense des droits des consommateurs(ADC) called for an immediate end to its government’s subventions to the tobacco industry. “Government cannot waste the nation’s wealth to support a killer industry,” said ADC Program Manager Yaya Sidjim.
“This violates FCTC Art. 5.3, whose guidelines prohibit giving preferential treatment to the tobacco industry,” he added.
Cameroon’s report revealed that the national government provides subsidies to tobacco farmers through the Cameroon Tobacco Growers’ Federation, using funds from the IMF/World Bank programme, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative.
All five shadow reports were officially launched at separate press conferences. In addition to Art. 5.3, the reports examined articles 6 (concerning price and tax measures), 8 (smoke-free public spaces), 11 (packaging and labelling of tobacco products) and 13 (tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship).
Since 2010, NGOs in 20 African countries have produced FCTC shadow reports. In 2014, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville will monitor the implementation of articles 5.3, 6, and 13 for future shadow reports.
FCA’s Shadow reporting program is supported with funding from the African Tobacco Control Consortium.