DELAY NOT GOOD

State urged to sign protocol to end illicit tobacco trade

IILA says the delay is a strain on Kenya's impressive record in the implementation of effective control of illicit tobacco products

In Summary

•The Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the WHO's FCTC at its fifth session in Seoul, Korea in 2012.

•IILA notes the Kenyan National Assembly, in December last year, unanimously agreed to the ratification, without any reservations, of the Protocol.

A cigarette smoker in Nairobi.
A cigarette smoker in Nairobi.
Image: JACK OWUOR

The government has been asked to ratify a treaty to end illicit trade in tobacco products.

The International Institute of Legislative Affairs, a Nairobi-based legal think-tank, says the country is falling behind in taking necessary steps towards the conclusion of the ratification process.

“We are concerned that this delay is negatively impacting Kenya’s participation in the national and global initiatives to effectively control illicit tobacco products as part of overall tobacco control measures,” said IILA programme officer Kiriba Kariuki in a statement.

Kariuki said the delay is a strain in the country’s impressive record in the implementation of effective control for illicit tobacco products.

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) at its fifth session in Seoul, Korea in 2012.

Kenya signed the Protocol on May 29 but is yet to ratify.

Kariuki noted the National Assembly, in December last year, unanimously agreed to the ratification, without any reservations, of the Protocol.

"Months down the line, the country is falling behind in taking the necessary steps towards the conclusion of the ratification process as spelt out in Section 9 of the Treaty-making and ratification Act, 2012," he said.

The protocol came into force late last year and had its first Meeting of Parties (MOP 1) in Geneva, Switzerland in October.

According to various estimates, more than 14 per cent of the cigarettes sold locally last year were counterfeits. This was higher compared to 12 per cent in 2017.

The illicit tobacco products, estimated at 700 million sticks denied the State Sh2.5 billion in revenue.

Formed 2004, IILA works closely with policy-making institutions, government departments, MPs and other stakeholders in the legislative process to draft and advocate for pro-people policies and legislation.