TIMB gets tough on side marketing

tobacco plants

GOVERNMENT has published a Statutory Instrument (SI 77 of 2022) prohibiting side marketing of tobacco to fight unscrupulous dealers who thrive on unlawfully buying tobacco from farmers.

The SI, published in the Government Gazette, will see tobacco contractors being required to obtain “contractors licences” in terms of the regulations.

Side marketing takes place when an uncontracted farmer sells his or her tobacco (auction tobacco) to an unlicensed buyer or when an uncontracted farmer sells his or her tobacco (auction tobacco) to a licensed contractor.

Under the new legislation, any person who participates in side marketing shall be liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a maximum of six months or to both such a fine and imprisonment.

“This serves to notify all stakeholders that the Tobacco Industry and Marketing (Prohibition of Side Marketing) Regulations, 2022 (SI 77 of 2022) (hereinafter titled the Regulations) were published through the Government Gazette of 15 April 2022. The following are its salient features; Tobacco contractors are now required to obtain contractors’ licences in terms of the regulations. All manner of “side marketing” is prohibited. Notwithstanding the above penalties, any side marketer may be required to compensate three times the loss suffered by any particular contractor,” the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said in a statement.

Early this year, the regulator also indicated that it will be making constant radar sweeps on frequency of sales on grower numbers with the view to identify grower numbers perpetuating side marketing.

Tobacco, which is one of  the country’s foreign currency earners, has been subjected to side marketing over the years due to shortage of cash, late payment and  poor payment among other things.

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