The government has not taken any kind of support from the tobacco industry in relation to the enforcement of the Tobacco Control Law, nor does it enforce policies prepared by the tobacco companies. No representatives from the tobacco industry or anyone belonging to the tobacco industry have been invited to contribute to public health policy which focuses on how to control harmful substances for the health of the people. Finally, the government has not appointed officials from the tobacco industry as members of the Nepali delegation to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
Government officials insist they do not participate in industry-backed CSR events or activities. It was observed that Surya Tobacco Company is still using its logo in various CSR activities in Nepal which includes awareness-raising activities for women, the Surya Golf Tournament, tree plantings and health services for people with disabilities. But the government showed its ignorance about these initiatives.
The tobacco industry unified to face the government in opposition after the enactment of the Tobacco Control and Regulation Act and it took three years to prepare the directive due to the direct or indirect pressure and influence made on the officials of Health Ministry involved in making the law.
Rs. 7 billion was collected from tax on tobacco products last year, but only 10 million has been spent on public awareness programs. Although the WHO has urged its member countries to levy up to 70% tax on tobacco products, Nepal’s tax rate is only 33%.
The government has not had any meeting or interaction with the tobacco industry. Rule 48 of Article 5 of Tobacco Products Control and Regulation Directive 2071 prohibits giving and receiving presents, free items or cash from any tobacco industry. It is mentioned that the government official should not consult with the officials of the tobacco industry and should not take presents. The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has not made any code of conduct.
The government has not had any meetings with the tobacco industry for the last three years. However, there is also no mechanism to verify or disclose these meetings, if they happened. The government has no record of meeting with affiliated organizations and individual lobbyists or representatives of the tobacco industry.
MoHP has done nothing on this issue. After the enactment of the Act, no tobacco industry has financially supported any political party’s interests in a transparent manner
The available report indicates that the Prime Minister and the Attorney General have so far not been involved with any tobacco industry. However, retired employees of the Ministry of Finance and Industry may be working, hiding their names and addresses.
No disclosure of interaction or related systems is in place. There is a policy prohibiting the acceptance of gifts or rewards from the tobacco industry. However, the lack of proper monitoring from the government provides a conducive environment for the tobacco industry to target groups and interfere.
There is no code of conduct for public officials which sets standards when dealing with the tobacco industry. However, the government regularly organizes orientation trainings to government employees on the Tobacco Control and Regulation Law as well as the moral ethics of civil servants.
- Adopt a code of conduct for all government officials when interacting with the tobacco industry, limited to only when strictly necessary.
- Require the tobacco industry to submit reports on its production, revenue, expenditure on marketing and philanthropy.
- Implement government directive requiring 90% pictorial health warning on all tobacco packages, including chewing tobacco.
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