The Federal Government says it may increase taxes on Tobacco as part of the deliberate measures to check abuse and to prevent smuggling of tobacco products into the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this when he asked questions from State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential, Villa, Abuja.
According to Adewole, Nigeria is implementing the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Nigeria became a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on Jan. 18, 2006.
“Yes, we are part of the campaign against Tobacco. We are implementing the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. As of Monday, we were part of the ECOWAS meeting to look at how do we raise taxes on tobacco, and that meeting would really work to prevent smuggling of tobacco products. We looked at how we can raise taxes on tobacco products.
“It is known that Nigeria has one of the cheapest tobacco, the price of tobacco in Nigeria is probably the cheapest in the world and that will contribute to the abuse.
“So, that convention and recommendations coming from there would really contribute to raising taxes on tobacco and also generating resources that would go into health,” he said.
On the reported harvest of organs, Adewole alerted Nigerians on the dangerous trend, saying that they should always patronise accredited institutions for their medications.
He reassured that the federal government would continue to upgrade its health facilities with a view to checking unnecessary foreign medical tourism.
“We received advice periodically from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, from National Security Adviser about goings on around the world.
“One of which is the harvest of organs illegally and it is our duty to alert Nigerians that this is ongoing, they should be careful, they should seek advice, they should patronise only accredited institutions.
“And as we rebuild our health infrastructure there will be less need for anybody to travel out and so we spare Nigerians the agony of falling victims of some of these illegal practices,” said the minister.
On abuse of substances, Adewole said his ministry in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria had embarked on sensitisation campaign to educate the public on the danger of illicit substances being smuggled into the country.
He identified Methadone, Tramadol, Viagra and cough mixture as the most abused substances in the country.
“For example, we have methadone, Tramadol and even Viagra being smuggled into the country.
“When you look at the dosage, the Viagra dosage is three times normal and when you look at the Tramadol is also three to four times, and once NAFDAC officials come in contact, they are impounded and destroyed,” he added.