CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

CAPPA Pays Advocacy Visit to Ministry of Health

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) paid an advocacy visit to the Ministry of Public Health on November 3, 2022. The CAPPA delegation led by Akinbode Oluwafemi, CAPPA’s Executive Director, met with Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Honourable Minister of Health, Hon. Ekumankama Joseph, Minister of State for Health, and members of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) unit of the Ministry of Health.[spacer height=”25px”]

During the meeting, the team from CAPPA engaged with the Ministry of Health on a broad spectrum of public health issues that include tobacco control, alcohol use, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) tax, and incidences of NCD in Nigeria amongst other matters.[spacer height=”25px”]

In his introductory speech, Akinbode Oluwafemi commended the Hon. Minister of Health and his team members for all the various initiatives undertaken by the institution to improve Nigeria’s health outcomes, especially their hands-on-deck approach during the critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic, and even afterwards – the post-Covid19 period.[spacer height=”25px”]

The CAPPA team also utilized the time with the Ministry to discuss the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Nigeria. In 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria introduced the SSB tax as part of the 2021 Finance Act. The tax which adds N10 to each litre of all non-alcoholic and sugar-sweetened beverages aims to discourage the unhealthy consumption of sugary drinks in Nigeria while also generating funds for boosting healthcare systems in the country.  While Mr. Akinbode urged the Ministry to maintain the tax on SSB, he also noted that at N10 per litre, the deterrent effect of the SSB tax is low hence the need for an upward review of the tax in line with the 20% benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization, to influence a noticeable change in the consumption behaviour of citizens.[spacer height=”25px”]

Responding to the concerns raised, Dr. Osagie assured the CAPPA team that the SSB tax will be retained even as he agreed that there was a need to develop a sustainable tax system that meets the World Health Organization’s requirement. He also highlighted the rising cost of healthcare in the country associated with the growth of NCDs hence the need for all stakeholders to develop and utilize advocacy strategies that will discourage the over consumption of sugary drinks and ensure a phased increment of the SSB tax. The Minister also applauded CAPPA for always providing technical support to the Ministry of Health in varying areas of engagement and reiterated his willingness to continue working with CAPPA to improve public health financing and universal health coverage in Nigeria.[spacer height=”25px”]

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