By NATION REPROETR
THE Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) and Young Professional’s Network yesterday staged a protest to mount pressure on government to speed up the enactment of the Tobacco Control Bill.
The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) decided to protest following months of engaging the Ministries of Health and Justice requesting speeding up the process of enacting the tobacco control bill but nothing has been done.
The NGOs further said they decided to hold a protest as a way of pushing for the speedy enactment of the bill which has dragged for the last 15 years.
CTPD Communications Specialist, Mwaka Nyimbili, said as tobacco control advocates, they were disappointed with the continued delays in enacting the bill despite Cabinet having approved the bill in principle to have it introduced before Parliament.
She said the NGOs were also concerned that, the delay in finalising the bill had profited the tobacco industry as could be seen from the increase in tobacco products advertising, importation and selling of tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
“This development and many others are a clear indication of Zambia’s failure to comply with the guidelines and recommendations of the World Health Organiosation (WHO) framework convention on tobacco control which calls for state parties to enact the tobacco control bill and ban advertising, sponsorships which include corporate social responsibility.
Losing approximately 7,000 deaths annually to tobacco-related illnesses remains a huge burden to the country’s productive sectors. We need to protect the present and future generations from the harmful effects of Tobacco products considering that Zambia is the primary target for the industry due to the lack of strong tobacco control policies,”she said.
Ms Nyimbili has, therefore, demanded for a clear roadmap from the Ministry of Health and Justice on when the bill be finalised and tabled it in parliament.