The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR), a coalition of non-governmental organisations, has urged the federal government to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to tackle the health crises.
This is contained in a statement signed by Omei Bongos-Ikwue, the coalition representative, on Monday in Abuja.
According to Ms Bongos-Ikwue, non-communicable diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are rising in Nigeria.
She stated that the link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and NCDs had been well established.
“The NASR thus seeks policies to decrease consumption and reduce related risk factors, such as obesity,” noted Ms Bongos-Ikwue. “The Federal Ministry of Finance has stated the need to explore alternative revenue sources, and Federal Ministry of Health considers NCD prevention a national priority, this could be an opportunity.”
Ms Bongos-Ikwue mentioned that NASR was stepping up efforts to seek a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and engaging in further awareness creation efforts to tackle the rising prevalence of NCDs.
“The coalition specifically called on the Minister of Finance to introduce an excise duty of 20 per cent on sugar-sweetened beverages such as carbonated sugary drinks and energy drinks,” said the coalition’s statement. “Create a fund for the prevention and control of NCDs associated with the excessive consumption of sugar-linked diseases such as type II diabetes. Financing for this fund will come from the revenue obtained from the taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages.”
The coalition also wants the federal government to ensure that sugar-sweetened beverages carry “front-of-packaging labels” with nutritional information warning consumers of the product’s sugar content and “the health risks of excessively consuming these drinks.’’