21 Jul 2016

Samoa govt cops flak over cigarette factory licence

7:52 pm on 21 July 2016
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Photo: 123RF

There has been heavy criticism in Samoa of a government decision to issue a second cigarette manufacturing licence to a foreign owned company in Apia.

Veteran MP Falealupo Aeau Peniamina Leavaiseeta told the Samoa Observer this was a sad decision which would have a negative impact on public health.

However the minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Fio Purcell last week dismissed concerns saying smoking was a personal choice unaffected by where a cigarette was manufactured.

He said the decision to approve the licence was consistent with the government focus on generating revenue.

Samoa last year introduced an excise tax on tobacco - something Falealupo praised.

But he says this latest decision is a total let down and works against all the effort and resources being put into combating non-communicable diseases in the country.

Meanwhile health officials have said the ministry would be opposing the latest licence as it has opposed a similar licence issued last year.

In both cases a final clearance from the public health department is required before production can start.