In a bid to align with the recommendations set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) and global health experts, stakeholders are urging the Nigerian federal government to increase taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).
The objective is to achieve a significant 20% surge in the final retail price of targeted sugary drinks.
This call to action was made during a regional stakeholders’ forum on Sugar-sweetened Beverages (SSB) Tax held in Enugu State.
The event was meticulously coordinated by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in conjunction with the National Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) Tax Coalition.
The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) lent its support to this crucial initiative.
Appreciates FG for N10 tax on SSBs
Acknowledging the strides made by the Nigerian government in imposing an Excise Tax of N10 per litre on SSBs, stakeholders noted that this measure falls short of the recommended benchmark of at least 20% of the final retail price of SSB products, as prescribed by the WHO and global health experts.
This collective sentiment was encapsulated in a communiqué jointly signed by representatives from various organizations including Corporate
Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), National SSB Tax Coalition, New Life Community Care Initiative (NELCCI), Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Sister With A Goal Initiative (SWAGI), and Kalice Children and Women Empowerment.
Lament of paucity of funds to address health issues
Amidst the discourse, stakeholders underscored the prevailing paucity of funding dedicated to addressing the health repercussions linked to SSB consumption and other detrimental lifestyle practices prevalent in Nigeria.
They highlighted that resistance from consumers towards the SSB Tax regime is largely fueled by misinformation propagated by the soft drink and beverage industry.
The proliferation of SSB consumption in Nigeria was attributed to factors such as accessibility, affordability, dearth of wholesome alternatives, and cultural norms that perpetuate the consumption of carbonated beverages.
It was unanimously agreed that SSBs confer negligible nutritional value upon consumers, instead imposing a substantial strain on public health and the nation’s economy.
While acknowledging the notable absence of state-level engagements and comprehensive labelling, stakeholders pressed for collaborative efforts between state and federal governments, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health.
This collaboration is essential to heighten public awareness about the health hazards linked to SSB consumption and to underscore the advantages of the SSB tax policy.