The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR), a coalition of Non-Government Organisation has urged the Federal Government to introduce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to tackle the health risk of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Ms Omei Bongos-Ikwue, the representative of the coalition on Monday in Abuja.
According to Bongos-Ikwue, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease are on the rise in Nigeria.
She said 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.
“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 an opportunity.
“However, NASR is 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,’’ she said.
She said the coalition was also demanding for the implementation of the National Assembly’s motion on labeling of sugary drinks and proposes health tax to fund diabetes treatment.
“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.
“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.
“Federal Government should 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,’’ Bongos-Ikwue said. (NAN)