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Experts Seek 20% Tax Increase on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Experts in the Nigerian health sector have called for the introduction of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), saying it would go a long way in improving the health and economic well-being of the country.

Speaking at an event hosted by the National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja on Wednesday, the experts maintained that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are the major causes of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.

The event was tagged “Funding Diabetes Care through the Implementation of Health Taxes”.

According to the experts, there has been a 400 per cent rise in the cases of diabetes in the country, especially type 2 diabetes, with more Nigerians being too financially handicapped to afford its treatment and care.

NASR, a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) advocating for policy measures to tackle the health risks of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, urged the Federal Government to implement the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of 10 to 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Similarly, a Senior Specialist with the World Bank in Nigeria, Dr Olumide Okunola, said Nigeria is one of the largest markets for SSB products globally.

He identified the status as a modifiable risk factor, urging the government to, not only introduce a tax on carbonated drinks but also on the entire spectrum of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Okunola listed the benefits of imposing taxes on SSBs to include, among others, improvement of the overall well being of Nigerians.

“Benefits of imposing taxes on SSBs include reduction of consumption which improves the health of the population, increases productivity, and the society benefits from the additional financing for the revenue,” he said.

On her part, a Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at the University of Abuja, Mrs Felicia Anumah, said diabetes kills more people than HIV and Malaria, stating that the greatest risk of diabetes in Nigeria is obesity.

“One in every 11 adults has diabetes, and one in two doesn’t know they have diabetes. Also, diabetes does not spare any organs.

“The risk of coming down with diabetes includes ageing (35 years and above), abdominal obesity, overweight/obesity, multiple pregnancy, family history of diabetes, habitually physically inactive, history of delivery of macrosomic baby, and alcohol,” she added.

The post Experts Seek 20% Tax Increase on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages first appeared on AgroNigeria.

The post Experts Seek 20% Tax Increase on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages appeared first on AgroNigeria.

Sourced from Agro Nigeria

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