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Stakeholders want tax on sweetened beverages increased to 20%

Stakeholders have said the decision of the federal government to impose a N10 per litre excise tax on Sugar and Sweetened Beverages (SSB’s) is commendable…

Stakeholders have said the decision of the federal government to impose a N10 per litre excise tax on Sugar and Sweetened Beverages (SSB’s) is commendable but still falls short of the at least 20 per cent of the final retail price such products as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and global health experts.

This is just as they commended the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration for retaining the N10 per litre of SSB tax in the Finance Act 2023 and urged for an increase to a minimum of 20% of the final retail price which is the global standard.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of a regional stakeholders forum on SSB’s in Kaduna which was convened by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and the National Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) Tax Coalition with support from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

According to the communiqué, signed by the Executive Director, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, and nine others, the forum had in attendance representatives of the ministries of Health and Environment from Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states as well as health experts, civil society organisations and the media.

The communiqué reads in part: “Discussants used the opportunity to explain the rationale behind the N10 Excise Tax on all non-alcoholic, sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages introduced by the Nigerian government through the 2021 Finance Act and correct industry misrepresentation of tax as a tested solution to growing consumption of SSBs.

“At the end of the discussions, participants noted that Nigeria is the largest consumer of SSBs in Africa and this development has increased the risk of overweight and obesity in children, adolescents, and adults, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health conditions among its citizens.

“Relevant stakeholders, including traditional institutions, the emirate council, educational institutions, civil society organisations, the media, and healthcare professionals should be at the forefront of correcting industry-driven misinformation on SSB tax.

“The federal government should work in collaboration with the state governments to expand the coverage of taxes to include other sugar-sweetened beverages that are currently not taxed as a precursor to earmarking such taxes to support and strengthen public health systems in Nigeria.

“Government should increase taxation on SSBs towards achieving a 20% increase in the final retail price of targeted sugary drinks as recommended by WHO.”

 

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