KAMPALA —British American Tobacco (BAT) Uganda Ltd has asked court to outlaw the new Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019, which the company says are unfair and will stifle their operations.
The Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 were issued under the Tobacco Control Act, 2015 and contain detailed requirements related to packaging and labeling, additives, signage, and disclosure. The requirements related to packaging and labeling will enter into force on February 1, 2020.
But BAT, in an application for judicial review filed at High Court Kampala civil division on December 6, says the regulations were adopted without involving the company as a key stakeholder.
“An order of mandamus be issued to compel the first respondent (minister) to make regulations which take into account relevant considerations and views of the applicant and/or the tobacco industry through a balanced, credible and transparent consultative process,” the petition states.
BAT managing director Mathiu Kiunjuri, in a sworn affidavit, says government gazetted the regulations, on September 6, 2019, in bad faith. He says despite their submission rejecting the regulations, government went ahead and gazette them.
Mr Kiunjuri argues that BAT is listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange, with 1,250 shareholders, 2,000 wholesalers, and 3,000 retailers and hence its views ought to have been considered.
He adds that the company is the single largest buyer of Uganda tobacco leaf, with 13,500 tobacco farmers and the new regulations will put the latter out of business.
One of the tough rules, which come into effect February 1 next year, is an absolute prohibition on the advertisement, as well as a ban on display of cigarette packs.