National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR)

After WHO’s Report Nigeria Urged To Raise Sugar Tax

The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) Coalition, an NGO, on Friday echoed a global report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) released on December 5 on efforts of countries to raise taxes on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) and alcohol.

The coalition stance is contained in a statement signed by its Co-chairman and President of the Nigerian Cancer Society, Dr Alhassan-Adamu Umar.

Umar said the WHO report revealed that global rates of taxes on SSBs and alcohol were too low.

According to Umar, WHO report says that the low tax rates are not encouraging people to practise healthy behaviours by choosing healthy options such as water.

He added that SSBs were linked to such chronic illnesses as type 2 diabetes and cancer.

He disclosed that pro-health taxes on those products were introduced to deter people from buying and consuming them and, ultimately, create healthier populations.

“In 2021, after prolonged advocacy efforts championed by NASR coalition, Nigeria introduced a N10 per litre excise tax on non-alcoholic, sweetened carbonated beverages.

“However, the NASR coalition has continually maintained that the tax rate is too low to make a real health impact. The recently released WHO data now corroborates the coalition’s assertions.

Umar also said that as the government currently reviewed the 2024 national budget, it should raise SSB taxes to supplement the health budget and reduce the burden on the nation’s health system.

According to him, the WHO report also puts forward considerations for earmarking tax revenue and cites examples of the nine countries that were currently channelling tax funds towards universal health coverage.

He said that Nigeria was still aspiring towards achieving this goal, adding that it could be achieved through SSB tax revenue.