62% of Nigerians have agreed that a tax on soft drinks will help to lower the high costs of managing non-communicable diseases like diabetes, a survey has said.
The perception survey was conducted by a leading polling firm, NOI Polls, in partnership with Gatefield, Research Hub Africa, and the Federal Ministry of Health.
A Researcher at Research Hub, Mr Akinola Akinwumi, who presented the report to the public in Abuja on Tuesday in commemoration of World Diabetes Day 2021, said 54% of Nigerians would also support a tax on soft drinks if the tax revenue were reinvested in the provision of healthcare services.
The programme was organised by the National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) and this year’s event was themed: “ Funding Diabetes care through the implementation of health taxes’’.
According to the survey, about 90% of Nigerians drank at least one soft drink each week, and around 40% drank them daily.
“Non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer account for one in three deaths in Nigeria, yet, less than 50% of Nigerians are aware that soft drink consumption is associated with an increased risk of these diseases’’, the report said.
Researchers also cited studies from Mexico and South Africa, showing that sugar-sweetened beverage taxes have significant health and economic benefits when effectively implemented.
Speaking at the event, the Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank, Dr. Olumide Okunola, asked the Federal Government to impose taxes on energy drinks, adding that taxes on the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) should be included in the 2022 budget.
Also speaking, a health communications specialist at Gatefield and the Secretary of the NASR,
Omei Bongos-Ikwue, said; “The evidence highlighted in the survey shows public support for pro-health fiscal policies. Nigeria’s commitment to introduce taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2022 is a great step towards providing funds for non-communicable diseases prevention and treatment while allowing consumers to make healthier and more knowledgeable choices.”