CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

SSB tax should be earmarked for health – Experts

The government has been urged to earmark tax accrued from Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) for Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

The Executive Secretary, Osun Health Insurance Agency Dr. Adeniyi Oginni said this at a regional stakeholders forum on sugar sweetened beverages tax by Corporate Accountability Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Ikeja, Lagos.

According to Dr. Oginni, when government earmarks SSB Tax for health, it allows for autonomy in the utilisation of the revenue from tax.

“It also increase the fiscal space for health and makes fund available for targeted interventions in addressing Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country,” Oginni said.

Executive Director CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “There is abundant science confirming a significant nexus between consumption of SSBs, obesity and risk of NCDs. NCDs account for over 29 per cent of deaths in Nigeria.

“The most forward-looking policy direction on obesity is the intervention framework contained in Nigeria’s National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan (NMSAP) for prevention and control of NCDS in Nigeria 2019-2025.”

He noted that the NMSAP specifically identified obesity as a metabolic risk factor to CVDs, diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and cancers, while setting the target of reducing obesity in Nigeria to 10.73 per cent by 2025.

In-Country Coordinator, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and sponsor of the event, Joy Amafah, canvassed collaboration with operatives and government in health campaign.

In his presentation titled: “The burden of SSB consumption on public health,” public health Consultant, Dr. Francis Fagbule, said reasons for Increasing Consumption of SSB in Nigeria to include : Availability, lack of public education/awareness about the health risks, Westernisation of our diets, Affordability, among others.

“We should avoid free sugar. It is one of the recommendations from World Health Organisation (WHO). SSBs do not confer any nutritive value, instead you’re pumping in high calories,” Fagbule warned.

Research Associate, Centre for The study of The Economies of Africa (CSEA), Austin Iraoya, speaking on ‘Economics and Public Health Impacts of SSB Tax’, observed that the pro-health tax would correct market failures and incentivise companies to produce healthier alternatives.

Oyo  Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bode Ladipo, represented by the Director, Food and Laboratory Services, Mrs. Bisi Akande, admitted that relevant agencies have not been doing enough to promote healthy living.

“We need to make our people know the negative impact of high sugar consumption to our health,” Akande said.

Source: The Nation

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