Nigeria: Cabinet Okays Food Safety Bill, Tobacco Regulation

President Muhammadu Buhari presents 2018 national budget.

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

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who disclosed this to journalists after the FEC meeting said this was necessary to reduce the rate of food-born illnesses and help support achievements of sustainable effective food trade that would boost and enhance the economy.

Adewole said it would also help strengthen institutional capacity for food safety and quality as well as improve information and communication system for food safety in Nigeria.

He said: "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.

"Part of the institutional framework in the bill is for us to set up Food Safety Council that will be chaired by the Vice President as well as an inter-ministerial committee that will handle food management as well as food safety in Nigeria. This will comprise ministers of claimant departments, agriculture, environment, science and industry, trade and investment and so on and so forth together with several agencies."

The minister said the council also approved a Draft National Tobacco Control Regulation that would enable the goverment to implement the National Tobacco Control Act.

"The framework contains sections that has to do with general provisions of regulations like licensing, approvals, who does what, penalties and so on and so forth. And more importantly to also enable us work closely with the state.

"We believe that once this is approved by the National Assembly, we will start seeing a lot of changes, effective ban on smoke areas in the country and also you will notice different warning labels on tobacco product in Nigeria," he said.

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