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Coalition canvasses 20% tax hike on sugary beverages to improve Nigeria’s health indices

The National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR) has advocated a 20% increase in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) tax in a bid to align with global standards and enhance healthcare indices in Nigeria.  

Dr. Adamu Alhassan Umar, President of the Nigeria Cancer Society (NCS) and co-chair of NASR, made this assertion during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday. 

The coalition advocated for a 20% tax hike on SSBs, with the resultant revenue designated to mitigate the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the healthcare sector.  

Dr. Umar emphasized the economic strain posed by NCDs, which account for 30% of deaths in Nigeria, citing the exorbitant costs of treatments, lost productivity, and their adverse effects on national development. 

Highlighting the link between high SSB consumption and the prevalence of NCDs such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure, Dr. Umar emphasised the urgency of implementing this policy change.  

Dr. Umar outlined the coalition’s rationale, stating, “A tax rate that raises the price of sugary beverages by at least 20 per cent of the final retail price is deemed necessary to significantly reduce consumption and improve public health outcomes.”  

NASR aims to alleviate the strain on healthcare systems and enhance the well-being of Nigerian citizens through this initiative. Experts have identified sugary drinks as a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, with overconsumption exacerbating these health risks, especially among children and adolescents. 

The National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR) is a collaborative initiative formed by public health advocates, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and industry stakeholders to address the growing public health crisis related to excessive sugar consumption.  

NASR was established in response to the alarming rise in obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases associated with high sugar intake.