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Monday, April 12, 2010

Anti-smoking Bill Dead, Says Adedibu

-Tunde Sanni in Ibadan.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Senator Kamoru Adedibu has hinted that the much-touted Anti-smoking Bill, which has entered the third reading stage at the upper legislative house, is dead.
Adedibu, who spoke with newsmen in Iseyin, Oyo North senatorial district expressed fear that the success of the bill could impact negatively on the socio-economic fortunes of the country.
Speaking shortly after presenting key of a tractor to a farmer in the Farmers' Tractor Scheme of the British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy (BATIA), argued that the rate of unemployment coupled with the downturn in the nation's economy were not favourable on the timing of the bill.
He stated that the upper legislative chamber in order to facilitate investment friendly environment has reduced the prohibitive tax regime, which hitherto has been scaring investors away from the country.Adedibu contended that the Senate has also reviewed upward the bail out for the textile industries, which has been allegedly hanging between the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industries (BOI) from N200 billion to N300 billion.
He hinted that the success of the bill could spell doom for about 600,000 workers who are eking their living from the tobacco companies in the country.
“Instead of closing down the tobacco companies, we can regulate the consumption of alcohol in the country because the closure could affect the lives and fortunes of some people.He advised the beneficiaries of the tractor scheme to ensure prompt repayment of the money to allow other farmers benefit from the scheme.
Adedibu commended BATIA for contributing to the economic growth of the country with its employment status of Nigerians and assured that the country has benefited immensely from the establishment of the tobacco company in the country.Earlier in his speech, the Head of Leaf BATIA, Thomas Omofoye hinted that the Iseyin Agronomy has provided direct support to some 850 registered tobacco farmers.