The NGO Alliance on Health Financing, a group of health organisations, has condemned the beverage industry’s attempts to dissuade the government from raising taxes on carbonated drinks.
A N10 per litre excise tax on sweetened, carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages was passed in the 2021 Finance Act.
“The beverage manufacturers don’t really care about employment or the economy. They only care about amassing profits and getting more people hooked on their products,” said Omei Bongos-Ikwue and Shirley Ewang, the coalition’s representatives in a statement.
They also condemned the marketing of sugary beverages to young children and encouraging unhealthy dietary habits early in life.
The group said the beverage industry had failed to realise that its products only provided short-term satisfaction, but in the long run, beverage consumers would suffer from diseases that come at a high cost of treatment and leave them on the brink of poverty thereby worsening the country’s health system.
It called for an increase of the N10 per litre excise tax on sweetened, carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages passed in the 2021 Finance Act, saying it was not high enough to lead to a significant reduction in consumption and make a noticeable health impact on type 2 diabetes and heart disease caused by drinking sugary beverages.