The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) has called for the implementation of the Nation Assembly motion on sugary drinks labelling and a health tax to fund diabetes treatment in the country.
This is contained in a statement of the coalition at the end of its meeting in Abuja.
The NASR is a coalition of non-governmental organisations, advocating for policy measures to tackle the health risks of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Coalition Representative, Omei Bongos-Ikwue, who signed the statement on behalf of others, noted that Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease are on the rise in Nigeria.
According to him, the WHO attributes 29 percent of all deaths in Nigeria to NCDs.
“The link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and NCDs has been well established.
“The NASR thus seeks policies to decrease consumption and reduce related risk factors, such as obesity.
“Recognizing that the Federal Ministry of Finance has stated the need to explore alternative revenue sources, and that the Federal Ministry of Health considers NCD prevention a national priority, the NASR is stepping up efforts to seek a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
“At a recent plenary session of the National Assembly, the House considered a motion to pass a health tax on sugar-sweetened beverages,” Bongos-Ikwue said.
He also said that the coalition plans to pursue policies mandating clear front-of-package labeling for sugar-sweetened beverages.
The coalition, according to the statement, is maintaining its policy recommendations to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as part of a multi-pronged approach to tackle the rising rates of NCDs.
The Coalition specifically called on the Minister of Finance to introduce an excise duty of 20 percent on sugar-sweetened beverages such as carbonated sugary drinks and energy drinks.
He said, “Create a fund for the prevention and control of NCDs associated with the excessive consumption of sugar-linked diseases such as type II diabetes.”
Members of the coalition are Diabetes Association of Nigeria, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Nigeria Cancer Society, Breast Without Spot, Lafiya Wealth Initiative, TalkHealth9ja, Nigeria Health Watch, Project PINK BLUE, Sustainable Development Initiative; and African Youth Initiative on Population, Health and Development (AfrYPoD).