Dormaa-Ahenkro, January 26, 2024
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has engaged Security Services in Ghana on the World Health Organization (WHO) protocols to advance control of tobacco and tobacco products.
The sensitization exercise aimed at empowering all the relevant stakeholders and security agencies in border communities with a comprehensive understanding of the protocols.
This was to ensure very effective inter-agencies collaboration with a united effort and approach towards eliminating illicit trade in tobacco and tobacco products in Ghana, said Madam Amponsaa Owusu, the Head of the FDA for Ahafo, Bono and Bono East Regions.
Participants of the two-day open dialogue in Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Bono region, from Thursday to Friday were representatives of the Ghana Police Service, Immigration, Customs, the Attorney Generals Department and the National Security.
Others included the Traditional Authorities, Narcotics Control Board, the National Investigations Bureau (NIB), Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the EPA, the Bono Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
According to Madam Amponsaa Owusu, Tobacco has no nutritional value, but rather causes more harm to the body, therefore, the training exercise would improve the information sharing, investigation, prosecution, regulations and law enforcement on the unlawful trade in tobacco products.
In her welcome address, she explained the unlawful tobacco trading is “a critical issue that affects the health and well-being of our citizens and the economic stability of our country”.
Madam Amponsaa added tobacco menace continues to pose a significant challenge globally, however, the issue is further worsened by the illicit trade which do not only makes tobacco more accessible at cheaper prices, but also undermines the progress made so far as a country.
In line with the Public Health Act, Act (851) 2012, she worried, illicit trade amplifies the tobacco epidemic, especially among the youth, a situation leading to adverse health consequences, resulting in substantial government revenue losses.
She further expressed much concern about the heightening use of shisha as side attraction for entertainment programs in the Bono region.
These challenges, Madam Amponsaa noted demand immediate attention, commitment and a coordinated response as well as align strategies with global priorities and leverage the support available to combat the menace.
Mr. William K. Agbavitor (Esq), the Head of legal department of FDA took participants through evidence gathering, prosecution processes and legal mandates of the Authority.
In her presentation, Madam Mavis Danso, a Principal Regulatory Officer of the FDA said as part of measures to control tobacco products by each importer, an amount of $15,000 registration fee is charged annually on each tobacco product.
Further, the FDA ensures there are many requirements the tobacco products must bear, such includes the FDA-approved pictorial Health Warning signs accompanied with texts, she added.
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