Coalition advocates more taxes on SSB products

By Aderogba George

The National Action for Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR), has advocated for more taxes on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) to create more effect on consumption.

A statement signed by the Co-Chairman of the coalition, Dr Adamu Alhassan, and issued to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, stated that the current N10 per litre tax on product has no effect on the production industries.

Alhassan, who is also the President of Nigeria Cancer Society (NCS), said that increasing SSB taxes would improve the health impact of taxation on high blood pressure, stroke and even cancers.

“These diseases are very expensive to treat. There is no evidence that the N10/litre tax has had any such effects on the industry.

“NASR has maintained and has redesigned effort to reduce consumption of these harmful products and ultimately prevent the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which has been on the increase.

“Taxes can improve health by leading consumers to buy less and lowering the risk of NCDs, it has been scientifically proven that the world has achieved a significant impact on SSB consumption patterns through tax.

“The N10 per litre tax is not sufficient to reduce consumption and consequently, and if tax revenue is invested, can relieve the overburdened health system.

“Countries such as South Africa, Mexico and the Philippines, where SSB taxes have been implemented

to reduce the risk of chronic diseases that has burdened families, have not led to job losses.

“Beverage industry arguments are unfounded, as indicated by the evidence from these countries,” Alhassan said.

He stated that Nigeria is in need of more policies that would protect public heath and raise revenue for healthcare. (NAN)