CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Nigeria faces major public health challenges over SSBs consumption, experts warn

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Health experts have cautioned the populace on the excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), noting that Nigeria currently tops the list of countries at the largest risk level in Africa.

They, therefore, called for increase in SSB tax on all non-alcoholic, sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages so as to discourage or reduce its consumption.

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and the National SSB Tax Coalition with support from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) convened the one-day Regional Stakeholders Forum for Southwest on SSB in Lagos.

It was well attended by State Commissioners for Health, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), NAFDAC, Customs, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, and some industrialists.

Participants expressed fear on the hazard of large scale consumption of SSBs, noting that SSBs were associated with high risk of overweight and obesity in children, adolescents, and adults, prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health conditions.

They welcomed the decision of the Federal Government to impose a N10 per litre Excise Tax on SSBs as a step in the right direction, suggesting an upward review of up to 20 percent of the final retail price of SSB products as recommended by global health experts.

A communiqué issued at the end of the deliberation signed by Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, CAPPA, and made available to Sunday Sun, reads in part: “Government and policymakers should engage and collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations, media institutions, and healthcare professionals to create public awareness of the health risks associated with SSB consumption and the benefits of the SSBs tax policy.

“Government should increase taxation on SSBs towards achieving 20 percent of the retail price as recommended by WHO.

“Establish a monitoring and evaluation and accountability framework to track the implementation and impact of the current SSB tax policy.

“Government should implement complementary regulatory instruments like Front-of Pack Labelling, restricting the availability and marketing of SSBs in school environments, among others.

 “State authorities must work to champion the sustainability of the SSB tax in Nigeria by localizing research on the impact of SSB consumption within their respective states and developing strategies to decrease consumption, thereby reinforcing the campaign for SSB taxation.

“There is a need for national legislation that advocates for the imposition of a pro-health tax.

“The Federal Government and regulatory authorities must design and enforce penalties for companies that default on SSB tax obligations.

Source: The Sun

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