The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Hassan Kukah, has backed the calls to increase the tax payable on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) to reduce diabetes and other ailments related to sugary product consumption in the country.
He said this in Abuja, when he hosted the management of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) on advocacy meeting to discuss SSB Tax in Nigeria.
“I think the most important thing for us is to acknowledge and appreciate an initiative such as this, as advocated for by CAPPA. We are killing ourselves by virtue of our ignorance. So, whatever needs to be done should be done. It’s a campaign that I think all of us must sign on.
“I think everybody must listen to what is being said on the things that are dangerous and injurious to our health. For those of us who are used to taking all of these beverages, it is going to be a very difficult decision. But it is a life and death decision. So, whatever needs to be done to help our people stay alive, I think all of us must sign on to it,” Bishop Kukah said.
Speaking on SSB taxation, Kukah said that while the tax hike is good, there must also be measures to prevent fake products as replacements.
Speaking earlier, Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the organisation was working with opinion and respected leaders in Nigeria on the issue of SSB consumption and the need for government to increase the taxes to save the people.
“During the last exercise, an attempt was made to increase it to N20 per litre and there was a lot of outcries because a lot of people don’t even have an understanding that this is a tax to save the lives of the Nigerian people, and that they on their own should reduce consumption of this product,” Oluwafemi said.