Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha, has said new tobacco laws, expected to be tabled to Parliament soon, would help bring sanity in the industry.
The laws include the new Tobacco Act and the Control of Tobacco Auction Floors Act and are likely to be presented for review during the current meeting of Parliament.
In an interview on Sunday, Mwanamvekha said the laws would ensure that farmers, in particular, and the economy at large continue to realise more benefits from the green gold.
Review of the acts according to Mwanamvekha, aims at incorporating changes that have emerged in the tobacco sector.
“We are expecting the two acts to start appearing in the Order Paper this week. If the new legislation will be enacted within this fiscal year, the new legal framework will be implemented immediately,”
He added: “These two acts have comprehensively been reviewed and the main proposed changes include merging of the Tobacco Act and the Control of the Tobacco Auction Floors Act to form a tobacco industry bill”.
He further said there would also be an introduction of new definitions which are not covered in the current acts.
According to Mwanamvekha, the new law suggests change of name for the regulator, Tobacco Control Commission, t o National Tobacco Commission (NTC).
He said the NTC will have additional mandates to regulate tobacco grower associations, transporters, contract farming and marketing and tobacco processing, among others.
“The proposed amendments will bring numerous benefits that include, among others, improvements in the regulation of tobacco production by making sure that all tobacco growers are properly registered and allocated production quotas,” Mwanamvekha said.
He also said the revised acts would provide improvements in the quality of tobacco produced resulting in increased incomes to smallholder farmers.