The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has urged the federal government not to succumb to the blackmail of the producers of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs)
Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA stated this on Wednesday in Abuja, during the SSBs Tax Coalition’s press briefing.
He said the government should begin a legislative process for the sustainability of the tax, that will be adjustable for inflation with provisions on earmarking.
“Government’s role of protecting the populace remains sacrosanct and the current government must honor this social contract with the people.
“The government must ensure that other SSBs not captured in the current tax regime are all included.”
Speaking further, the ED urged media practitioners to be alert to deliberate misinformation coming from certain sections, those working tirelessly to undermine the collective well-being of Nigerians through their daily attack on government pro-health initiatives aimed at promoting public health by weaning Nigerians off unhealthy diets, and unhealthy lifestyles.
He said manufacturers of unhealthy products through various front and ally groups including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Organised Private Sector, and other
nameless groups have continued to blackmail the government with their heavy media campaign of misinformation and threat to the federal government.
“They have also constantly attacked civil society groups working to ensure that Nigeria institute effective food policies that will reduce diet-related diseases in the country.
“As a coalition that has consulted across regions of the country, we state unequivocally that:
The current #10/litre is insignificant, it has been absorbed by the industry.
“For the desired impact of reduction in consumption and decrease in NCDs, the tax must be immediately increase to a minimum of 20% of the final retail price of SSBs.”
He recalled that in 2021, the Federal Government imposed a N10/Litre Excise Duty on Sugar- Sweetened Beverages. “The tax is principally to help reduce the overconsumption of SSBs which have links to more than 15 types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). SSBS, popularly called Soft Drinks, have been confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other national and international health bodies, to have hard-hitting impact on health, social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of consumers and our communities. “The tax covers different categories of sugar-sweetened non-alcoholic beverages and implementation began in June 2022.
“Tax is effective in reducing consumption of SSBs in all the countries of the World where they have been effectively introduced and managed. It has also helped to improve public health indices while also reducing some of the environmental problems caused by the indiscriminate disposal of SSB product packages.
While we say that the aim is to reduce overconsumption, we must reiterate that these beverages are non-nutritive and have no use in the body. Hence, can be totally avoided for the good of everyone.”
On his part, Public Health Professional, Francis Fagbule said SSBs are among the leading sources of free sugars, and they contain little-to-no added nutritional value.
He said individuals who consume SSBs do not compensate for the added calories by eating less food, which leads to weight gain and obesity.
He said sugar sweetened beverages are serious threats to human lives and must be urgently addressed.
“We need to drive down the consumption by increasing the price so that people will go for cheaper healthy drinks.”
Source: The Voice