The coalition has recently taken its appeal to the National Assembly with visits to the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the House Committee of Health Care Services, Hon. Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu and Hon. Dr. Samuel Adejare.
National Assembly lends support to raising carbonated drinks pro-health Tax
The National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition is continuing efforts to advocate for an increase to the current tax on sugary beverages.
A 10 naira per litre excise tax on sweetened, carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages was passed in the 2021 Finance Act. However, the coalition is calling for an increase to the tax because it says the tax rate is not high enough to lead to a significant reduction in consumption and make a noticeable health impact on type 2 diabetes and heart disease which are caused by drinking sugary beverages.
During the visits, which took place on December 13 and December 14 respectively, both Honourable Members expressed their support for the carbonated drinks tax. Honourable Sununu further advised the coalition to urge policymakers at the Finance Committee to channel tax funds towards the National Health Insurance Authority.
Hon Dr. Samuel Adejare emphasized the health implications of consuming carbonated drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugary beverages are the most significant source of added sugar in the diet and leave consumers at risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Hon. Adejare also stated that the beverage industry claims of people losing their jobs “is a lie.” Further responding to beverage industry claims, he stressed that tax contributions amount to a paltry sum compared with industry profits.
Coalition representatives Omei Bongos-Ikwue and Shirley Ewang commended the Honourables on their history of support to health policies in the country. During the visit, the coalition presented the House Members with copies of an open letter calling on the Minister of Finance to increase the current 10 naira per litre excise tax to 20% of the final retail price in the 2022 Finance Act.
The Honourable Members commended the efforts of the National Action on Sugar Reduction for their unflagging efforts, while promising to investigate the current use of tax funds, which the Nigerian Customs Service has been collecting since July 2022. Hon. Sununu advised the coalition to extend its advocacy to the House Committee on Finance, as well as to the Senate, with the advocacy message that more funds, including SSB tax revenue, should be allocated to healthcare services provision.
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