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NGO urges FG to increase tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to curb noncommunicable diseases


The Corporate and Public Participation Africa has called on the Federal Government to carry out an upward review of the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages tax to reduce sugar consumption and the upsurge of noncommunicable diseases in the country.

CAPPA Executive Director, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, gave the advice on Thursday at a two-day Journalism Training on SSB Tax and Industry Monitoring in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SSBs products are soda (not sugar-free), fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, coffee and tea beverages with added sugars.

Oluwafemi said that the Finance Act 2021 imposed a tax of N10 per litre on non-alcoholic and SSBs, adding that the rate was lower than the World Health Organisation recommended benchmark of 20 per cent for effective outcomes.

He said,“It is, therefore, needful that the fiscal policy rate in Nigeria should be reviewed upward by the government to achieve its intended public health outcome.

“Beyond the Finance Act, the legal feasibility of SSB tax in Nigeria should be strengthened and sustained through legislative pathways.

“Implementation of the tax policy could be more effective through tax education and community outreach activities.”

Oluwafemi urged policymakers to partner with pro-health advocacy groups, education authorities and community leaders to educate distributors, retailers and consumers on the benefit of the tax.

According to him, this will also be helpful in defending the tax policy against SSBs industry tactics and interference.

Also speaking, Public Consultant, University College Hospital, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Francis Fagbule, said excess sugar consumption especially from SSBs had been consistently linked to the rising trend in noncommunicable diseases that include heart disease, diabetes, and cancers, which are key risk factors of morbidity and mortality.

He described taxation as a measure that will increase the price of SSBs and reduce demand for the products.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and soft drinks as well as energy drinks and sweetened water have no nutritional value.

“Effective SSB tax has the potential to promote a shift to consumption of safe drinking water among the people and incentivise non-price industry responses,” Dr. Fagbule said.


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