The National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR) has urged the federal government to prioritise the inclusion of public health organisations in the fiscal policy reform process to boost government revenue drive.
The coalition also called for an increase in the sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) tax rate to a level that discourages consumption while generating government revenue and which should not be less than a rate that increases retail prices by 20 per cent.
A communique at the end of a multi-sectoral meeting of the coalition on Wednesday in Abuja on enacting the government’s proposed tax reforms also urged the federal government to introduce a draft SSB tax bill that includes provisions for a steady earmarking of tax revenue for healthcare budgeting processes.
The coalition’s request came in response to a recent statement by the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Taiwo Oyedele, that the government has no plans to introduce new taxes or impose higher tax rates.
They also said that there should be greater public health representation in the institution of tax reforms, especially in taxes, which are imposed on commodities that affect health.
Speaking, the President of the Diabetes Association of Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Alkali, commended the government’s objective to enhance revenue collection and promote the efficient use of tax revenue.
“The SSB tax, which has been introduced in many countries globally, has proven to have both health and economic benefits. The increased cost of the commodities is expected to discourage consumption, hence reducing the risk of NCDs and reducing complications.
“Nigeria’s N10 per litre SSB tax will make a deeper health impact if the rate is sufficiently increased to a level that will discourage purchase while generating significant revenue,” Alkali said.