Tobacco companies in Papua New Guinea (PNG) will be required shortly to pay a license fee to operate in the country, according to a story in The Post-Courier quoting the Health Minister Sir Puka Temu.

Speaking yesterday, Sir Puka said a law had been passed to that effect and the grace period had lapsed.

The Tobacco Act was passed by Parliament in 2016 and certified by the Speaker in 2017 to become effective immediately.

However, in April 2017, the National Executive Council (NEC) introduced a grace period to give manufacturers and importers time to make the transition to the new legislation.

“I want to make it clear,” Sir Puka said, “that the Act is mandatory for all importers, manufacturers, and other businesses that deal with the tobacco products in PNG.

“Sufficient time has been allowed for all operators to make the necessary adjustment.”

Sir Puka said the purpose of the legislation was to control the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of tobacco and tobacco products, and that it would now be enforced because of the harmful effects of tobacco on people.

However, the new law cannot be enforced immediately because the license fees have not been set; though Sir Puka said that his department was in the final stages of setting the fees.

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