The Federal Government has described the excessive consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) as dangerous and a threat to the future generation, as its consumption is high among children and adolescents.
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Ali Pate, said this on Wednesday at the National Conference on SSBs Tax in Abuja.
Pate was represented by Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the Director, Public Health Department, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
“Excess consumption of Sugar sweetened beverage has become a significant public health concern and a threat to the future generation as its consumption is high among children and adolescents.
“Numerous studies have linked high consumption of SSB to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities, weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and other NCDs.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that limiting the intake of sugar-containing drinks can help individuals maintain healthy weight and healthy dietary pattern (WHO 2020).”
The minister said that the conference aided a part of the advocacy campaign for implementation and sustainability of the SSBs tax as a strategy to control the consumption of SSBs in the country.
According to him, this will be consequently reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD).
“Taxation on SSB has shown effective reduction on its consumption in countries where it is in force.
“The introduction and sustenance of SSBs tax in Nigeria will reduce excess consumption of SSBs and thus reduce the burden of NCDs.
“We are committed to attain the global best practice as recommended by the WHO of at least 20 per cent of the final retail price on all SSBs as the current N10 per liter price fails to achieve this.
“This commitment aligns with other government efforts in improving the public health of the Nigerian populace to meet up with the global priority of significantly reducing the premature death due to NCDs.
In his remarks, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), said that the tax on SSBs was an evidenced based approach used globally to combat overconsumption of SSB products.
“Beyond its proven success rate in reducing the overconsumption of free sugar, the tax helps to reduce the burden on a nation’s health infrastructure.
“It also helps to relieve overworked health personnel, and leaves room for innovative health practices towards overall improvement of a country’s health outcomes.
“With dwindling resources at the national level, and consequent reduction of the healthcare budget, SSB tax can help resource mobilization to promote health,” Oluwafemi said.