Malawi has been urged to seriously consider acceding to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to fight the negative implications of FCTC from within.
Â Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) chief executive officer Graham Kunimba said this on Tuesday on arrival from Cape Town in South Africa where he went to attend a day-long meeting on FCTC issues organised by ITGA (Africa Region) through Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa).
Kunimba said the meeting looked at individual countriesâ€™ status in terms of membership to FCTC.
Among other things, delegates at the meeting wondered why Malawi was dilly dallying in acceding to the FCTC, yet, it is the largest exporter of burley tobacco in the world and will suffer the most if FCTC proposals are implemented
“Delegates at the conference wondered why other countries should be speaking for Malawi which is the largest burley tobacco exporter when Malawi could defend her position on some of the FCTC articles ,” noted the Tama CEO.
Kunimba said things such as the ban on smoking in public, curtailment of sports sponsorship, advertising, graphic warnings on cigarette packs and taxation are some of the general issues that are being implemented in some countries as a result of FCTC articles.
According to Kunimba, looking at these implications, Malawi was advised to seriously consider joining FCTC as a matter of urgency since Malawi is being used as a case study, adding that the country will be the greatest loser if the FCTC ban takes shape.
Zimbabwe is now finalising the process to join other countries within the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region in signing for FCTC and Malawi will soon be the only country within the region which has not joined the group.
An observation was made that Malawi seemed to be the only country which has crucial Ministries like Foreign Affairs, Health, Industry and Trade, Lands, and Agriculture not coordinating properly on FCTC issues.
The meeting was attended by Malawi, RSA, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique with common representation from Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana.