ILO ends relationship with tobacco companies as Tanzanian activists applaud move

Thursday November 7 2019

 

By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. The International Labour Organization (ILO) said it would no longer rely on funding from tobacco companies and affiliated organizations.

Through its governing body, the ILO said it wants to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector, as anti-tobacco campaigners globally continue pushing for a tobacco free world.

The Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF) said the move by ILO signifies an important step in the efforts to end the tobacco business and protect people from hazards of consuming the products.

TTCF Executive Director, Ms Lutgard Kagaruki,says tobacco companies have been deceptively claiming in most countries; including Tanzania that tobacco farming contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), yet it has been found to impoverish farmers and lead to ill-health.

She says, “A good example is Tabora Region [in Tanzania] which is leading in tobacco growing but an individual’s income in that area isless than $133, which is also below the national average income of $165.”

“Through Corporate Social Responsibility, tobacco companies are in increasingly using certain projects to continue investing in Tanzania, yet it is estimated that 45 percent of the labour in tobacco farming comes from children,’’ she told The Citizen.

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For its part, the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) applauded the ILO for its efforts to end child labour in Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. This, FCA says, was being financed by voluntary contributions from multi- and bilateral aid for development cooperation, and /or ILO resources.

“As members of civil society, we are encouraged by the ILO’s decision to not renew contracts with the Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation and with Japan Tobacco International (JTI) which expired in June and December 2018, respectively,” said a statement availed to The Citizen.

The FCA, with hundreds of non-government member organisations from over 100 countries,is working to rid the world from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and tobacco use.

It has pledged toremain steadfast in ensuring that the appropriate safeguards are in place, in line with the Model Policy for agencies of the United Nations system on preventing tobacco industry interference.