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Regional Experts Validate Draft Directive On Harmonisation Of Laws On Tobacco
Delegates at the Meeting

Abuja, 18th October 2017. Regional experts have validated the draft Directive on the harmonization of laws establishing a system for tracing, tracking and tax verification of manufactured or imported tobacco products in ECOWAS Member States.

At the end of their two-Day meeting on the 17th of October 2017, the experts and delegates also reviewed 12 of the 47 Articles of the draft Supplementary Act on the taxation of income, capital and inheritance for the avoidance of double taxation in ECOWAS Member States.

The draft Directive is meant among others to harmonize the legislative and regulatory provisions of Members States on tracing and tracking mechanisms applicable to tobacco products in order to facilitate the smooth running of the domestic market of tobacco products and ensure compliance with the obligations of the Community and Member States resulting from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in tobacco products.

It also sets out to make ECOWAS Member States establish and maintain under their control, a tracing and tracking system of all imported or manufactured tobacco products on the territory using a unique identifier

The Directive, once adopted, also makes it mandatory for Member States to ensure that all economic operators involved in the trade of tobacco products, (from the manufacturer to the last economic operator before the first retail outlet) record the entry of all unit packets into their possession, as well as all intermediate movements and the final exit of the unit packets from their possession.

In the same vein, Member States shall by the Directive, ensure that all natural and legal persons engaged in the supply chain of tobacco products keep complete and accurate records of all relevant transactions while determining the regime of sanctions applicable in case of violation of national provisions adopted. Member States are also to take the necessary measures to enforce these sanctions.

It was further agreed at the meeting that the ECOWAS Commission will organize another regional Experts meeting in 2018 to review the entire draft Supplementary Act on the taxation of income, capital and inheritance while Member States are required to indicate the taxes to be covered under the Supplementary Act and also submit the comments and concerns on the draft Supplementary Act to the Commission

The meeting held with the active support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

The recommendations of the validated draft are expected to be endorsed by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for onward adoption.

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