The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the ministers of Finance and Health over the implementation of the newly approved tax, an excise duty of N10 per liter ($0.02 USD/liter) imposed on all non-alcoholic and sweetened beverages.
The GHAI’s Healthy Food Policy Advocacy Fund has been working with civil society organizations, Gatefield Impact and National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) over the last year to increase public awareness and call for government action on the dangers of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs).
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The organisation said the policy implementation comes at a key moment in Nigeria, which is estimated to have over 12 million people suffering from obesity and leads the continent in diabetes prevalence.
Shirley Ewang, Advocacy and External Engagement Specialist at Gatefield Impact, the partners of GHAI in Nigeria, said, “The tax will encourage decreased consumption, raise government revenue and will be a critical tool to help fight the non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.
“We applaud President Buhari, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health for recognizing the importance of healthy food policies and the significant impact this SSB tax will have in Nigeria.
“The implementation of healthy food policies, including SSB taxes, help curb the globally growing rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related non-communicable diseases. A study published in The Lancet Planetary Health in 2020 showed that South Africa’s SSB tax (referred to as the Health Promotion Levy) was effective in reducing consumption and purchases of taxed beverages within a year of going into effect.
“According to a study published by the University of Washington, Seattle saw a 20 percent decrease in consumption after it implemented an SSB tax in January 2018, and the decrease in low-income communities was even more significant.”
She said that the SSB tax is a win for public health and the Nigerian people.
She said that Gatefield has benefited from the collaborative endeavors of diverse stakeholders, including members of the NASR coalition, other public health groups, and the academic research community, in achieving this historic milestone.