In a letter dated April 17, 2019, BAT Uganda (BATU) wrote to the Minister of Trade responding to draft tobacco control regulations it received from the said Minister’s office and shared its input to the draft regulation (Appendix A). This is clear evidence that BATU has an informant at the MoT who furnished it with the draft regulations that were in the official custody of the MoH.
Although the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) clearly bans tobacco-related CSR activities, a tobacco industry-funded international NGO, Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT), continued to fund activities in Uganda.
The TCA prohibits any benefits to the tobacco industry; however, the Uganda Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations allows international travelers to bring 200 sticks of cigarettes or 250gm of tobacco into the country tax-free.
The government has not put in place a procedure for disclosing the records of interactions (such as agendas, attendees, minutes and outcomes) with the tobacco industry and its representatives. This is not reflected in the tobacco control regulations.
Although the disclosure of meetings is provided for in the TCA, when BATU handed over its letter and the subsequent sharing of the draft regulations for BATU’s input to the MoT, it was not done in a transparent manner.
Contrary to the TCA, the MoT furnished the tobacco industry with draft regulations for their input as seen in the letter dated April 17, 2019, where BATU shared their input with the MoT, as the Ministry that shared these draft regulations with them. This amounts to a conflict of interest.
The government has not put in place a procedure for disclosing the records of the interaction (such as agendas, attendees, minutes and outcomes) with the tobacco industry and its representatives in the TCA and neither is this reflected in the current tobacco control regulations.
- There is a need to create awareness on the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act and ensure all departments are aware of the limits when interacting with the tobacco industry.
- Diplomatic Missions must be made aware of the Tobacco Control Act so that the law is applied to officials overseas and those who represent the country at international meetings.
- The duty free sale of cigarettes/cigars/tobacco for international travelers should be halted.
- Penalties for unnecessary interactions should be enforced.
Learn more about tobacco industry interference in this country.Download a Country Fact Sheet