The Tobacco Control Act (TCA) prohibits the tobacco industry from being part of any tobacco control policy formulation and implementation process. The law also prohibits the government from accepting any tobacco industry-sponsored activities. The TCA establishes a tobacco control advisory and regulatory body known as the tobacco control committee whose membership excludes the tobacco industry. Members of this committee are explicitly prohibited from having any affiliation with the tobacco industry or any entity furthering its interests.
In January 2017, the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives (MoTC) provided sponsorship licenses to six tobacco companies and pledged their support in launching the 2017 tobacco season. The Ministry of Health immediately objected to this endorsement and sent a legal notice reminding the MoTC that this endorsement is a violation of the TCA.
The TCA prohibits government officials from endorsing tobacco-related CSR activities. Despite this act, during 2017-18 the Ugandan government took a contrary position during the international meeting of the governing board of the International Labor Organization (ILO). When the ILO reviewed their collaboration with the tobacco industry through their public-private partnership program and discussed whether to end the collaboration, the Ugandan government spoke on behalf of the African region expressing the need to continue the collaboration with the tobacco industry and accept its sponsored CSR activities.
When amending the Excise Duty Act in 2017, the government gave preferential treatment to locally manufactured tobacco products over all imported tobacco products. This was in contravention of the TCA. International travelers are allowed to bring 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars duty free into the country.
The TCA limits interaction with the tobacco industry to only when strictly necessary.
In October 2018, the Speaker of Parliament (Hon. Kadaga Rebecca) officiated the opening of a new tobacco factory in Masese, Jinja, where she committed to amend the TCA to accommodate the tobacco industry’s concerns as investors.
The TCA includes a provision on transparency in instances where interactions with the industry are strictly necessary.
There is no publicly available evidence of any senior officer who joined the tobacco industry upon retirement. However, there is an instance of a former government official who had ties with the tobacco industry when BAT sued the government.
The provision of the TCA sets out good preventive measures to be implemented. All nominated members of the Tobacco Control Committee signed a declaration of interest form before being appointed. A code of conduct exits and is only for the internal use of the committee.
The government has put in place a policy to disallow the acceptance of all forms of contributions or gifts from the tobacco industry.
The TCA and the sixth schedule require the tobacco industry to periodically submit information.
There is a draft tobacco control communication plan to raise awareness on tobacco control issues.
- There is a need to create awareness on the provisions of the TCA and ensure all departments are aware of its limits when interacting with the tobacco industry.
- Diplomatic missions must be made aware of the TCA so that the law is applied to officials overseas and those who represent the country at international meetings.
- Duty free sale of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco for international travelers should be halted.
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