Samoa govt cops flak over cigarette factory licence
Radio NZ International
July 21, 2016 4:27 pm
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.