CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Health forum wants 20% excise duty imposed on sweetened beverages

Ministries of Health in the five states of the Southeast geopolitical zone have advocated for 20 per cent taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages to help reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases on the country.

This was made known in a communique issued at the end of a one-day regional stakeholders’ forum on SSBs held in Enugu.

They noted that the taxation would reduce high sugar consumption by Nigerians.

The forum was organised by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPA), a non-governmental organisation with support from a development partner, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

CAPPA is a Pan-African organisation devoted to working with African communities to build partnerships so as to take collective social action towards the promotion and defence of human rights.

It challenges the abuse of natural resources, the environment and people through corporate and state policies and practices.

Similarly, GHAI provides strategic support to advocates working to enact and implement laws that save lives.

It also supports civil society organisations that advocate for public health policies that reduce death and disease.

Rising from the forum, the ministries lauded the decision of the Nigerian government to impose a N10 per litre excise duty on SSBs.

They, however, noted that the N10 excise duty fell short of 20 per cent of the final retail price of SSB products recommended by the World Health Organisation.

“Government should increase taxation on SSBs to achieve a 20 per cent increase in the final retail price of targeted sugary drinks as recommended by WHO,’’ the communique read.

The forum noted that SSBs offered no nutritional value, but constituted huge public health and economic burden for the country.

High levels of sugar consumption had increased the population of obese people and also the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, renal problems and other non-communicable diseases, the forum also noted.

The forum recommended sustained collaboration by governments at state and federal levels to engender public awareness on the health risks of SSB consumption and the benefits of the SSBs tax policy.

It also recommended that traditional and educational institutions, civil society organisations, the media, and healthcare providers, among others, should be actively engaged in the campaign against SSBs.

“They should be at the forefront of correcting industry misinformation on SSB tax and local communities must not be left out of these processes.

“The Federal Government should work in collaboration with state governments to expand the coverage of taxes to include sugar-sweetened beverages that are currently not taxed.

“There is a need for national legislation that advocates for the imposition of a pro-health tax and the need for government to ensure healthier alternatives to SSBs are affordable and readily available.

“The Federal Government should encourage the Ministry of Agriculture to support farmers and the fresh fruits industry to grow more fruits and produce healthy drinks as replacements for unhealthy drinks.

“It should also encourage parents to prioritise what their wards consume and particularly, benefits of consuming products that do not contain too much of sugar,’’ the communique stated.

Source: Punch Healthwise

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