Health advocacy group hails FG on sugary drinks tax

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Global Health Advocacy Incubator, an health advocacy group,  has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari over the introduction of tax on the sugar-sweetened beverages, saying that the tax will raise the government’s revenue.

The group in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, also commended the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamusuna, for her effort which led to the introduction of the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in the country.

The Minister of Finance recently announced a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, saying that an excise tax of N10 per litre will now be imposed on non-alcoholic, carbonated and sweetened beverages. 

“We applaud President Buhari, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health for recognising the importance of healthy food policies and the significant impact this SSB tax will have in Nigeria.

“The newly implemented tax, an excise duty of N10 per liter ($0.02 USD/liter) imposed on all non-alcoholic and sweetened beverages, 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.

“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.

“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% decrease in consumption after it implemented an SSB tax in January 2018, and the decrease in low-income communities was even more significant.

“We are thrilled about this development. The SSB tax is a win for public health and the Nigerian people. Gatefield has benefited from the collaborative endeavours of diverse stakeholders, including members of our NASR coalition, other public health groups, and the academic research community, in achieving this historic milestone, Shirley Ewang, Advocacy & External Engagement Specialist at Gatefield Impact, the partners of GHAI in Nigeria,” the group said.

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