13 June 2018

Nigeria: FEC Approves Bills On Food Safety, Tobacco Control

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday approved a draft Food Safety and Quality Bill as well as the Food Safety Institutional Reform working document.

The Council also approved a Draft National Tobacco Control Regulation bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting which held inside the council chamber of the presidential villa Abuja.

Mr Adewole said with the formal approval of the two documents, Nigeria will have reduction in the incidence of food-borne illnesses through "so many preventive controls that are already contained in the bill".

He said the new bill will also help to strengthen institutional capacity for food safety and quality as well as improve information and communication systems for food safety in Nigeria.

"The relevance of the bill could actually be appreciated when one considers some happenings in the past when food export from Nigeria was banned in Europe.

"We believe that what is required is for us to strengthen institutional framework that will enable various agencies of government to work together," the minister said.

Mr Adewole said part of the institutional framework in the bill is for Nigeria to set up Food Safety Council that will be chaired by the Vice President.

He said there will also be an inter-ministerial committee that will handle food management as well as food safety in the country.

"This will comprise of ministers of relevant departments: agriculture, environment, science and industry, trade and investment and so on and so forth together with several agencies," he said.

On Tobacco control, Mr Adewole said the APC administration has recorded several successes in the area.

He said Mr Buhari had last month approved increase in Tobacco taxes as well as alcohol.

"And then on the 23rd of May, government approved the framework to control illegal trade in tobacco products in Nigeria. And today, the regulation that will really enable us implement the National Tobacco Control Act was approved," he said.

The official said the framework contains sections deal with general provisions of regulations like, "licensing, approvals, who does what, penalties and so on and so forth. And more importantly, it will also enable us work closely with the states.

"We believe that once this is approved by the National Assembly, we will start seeing a lot of changes," he added.

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