Africa Tobacco Control Consortium Press Release by Tih Armstrong Ntiabang
Lome, Togo – The African Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC) congratulates the Togolese government for the five per cent increase in tobacco excise tax in its 2012 budget.
According to Tcha-Kondor Nouréiny, Tax Campaign Coordinator of the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA), such an increase is a win-win to the Togolese government as ‘it will have a direct impact on both public health and government revenue’.
Studies have shown that higher tobacco taxes reduce tobacco use.
In the previous budget, tobacco excise tax which is an ad valorem tax was 35 per cent. This increase brings the excise tax rate at 40 per cent. Togo is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union in which the recommended ceiling for tobacco tax is 45 per cent.
“Togo is setting a good example in the West African sub-region for the promotion of tobacco taxation policies. We encourage other countries to do the same,” said Dr. Ebeh Kodjo Fabrice, ATCA Executive Secretary.
Since June 2011, ANCE – TOGO (Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l’Environnement) and ATCA have met authorities from the Ministry of Finance, as well as parliamentarian groups, to sensitize them about the importance of tobacco taxes and the dangers of affordability of tobacco products.
In the course of the process, they developed policy papers and factsheets on tobacco tax and made them available to the directorate of taxes.
“We are happy our efforts were not in vain,” Nouréiny said. Adding that, the experience in South Africa shows that in order to be effective, increase in tobacco tax should be regular.
Togo's tobacco excise tax rose by five per cent in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Rachel Kitonyo, ATCC Programme Coordinator while applauding the efforts of tobacco control advocates in Togo, advised them to continue the good work thereby making sure the tax increase is also felt on the price of cigarettes in the local market.
“There is clear evidence on cigarette prices and cigarette smoking. Price increases have always led to significant reductions in smoking, especially amongst youths. Togo is on the right track,” Rachel said.