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Fix health sector with taxes from carbonated drinks, coalition tasks government

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
07 January 2022   |   2:57 am
The National Action on Sugar (NASR), a health advocacy coalition, has urged the Federal Government to channel revenues realised from taxes on carbonated and sweetened beverages towards

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

The National Action on Sugar (NASR), a health advocacy coalition, has urged the Federal Government to channel revenues realised from taxes on carbonated and sweetened beverages towards addressing challenges in the health sector.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Wednesday, announced new excise duty on sugar-sweetened beverages.

She stated at a public presentation of the 2022 budget in Abuja that an excise tax of N10 per litre would now be imposed on non-alcoholic, carbonated and sweetened beverages.

Reacting to the new tax, on Thursday in Abuja, a member of the coalition, Dr. Alhassan Umar, commended the Federal Government for introducing the tax.

She said that NASR would continue to advocate proper utilisation of the funds towards preventing non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancers and others.

According to her, non-communicable diseases account for one in three deaths in Nigeria. She lamented that the diseases are a significant cause of premature death and loss of economic productivity.

“The coalition, therefore, applauded the Federal Government for this significant step towards protecting the lives of Nigerians and safeguarding the country’s economy. Late last year, the coalition petitioned the Finance Minister in an open letter urging the government to proceed with a proposed carbonated drinks tax.

“The coalition considers the tax a protective measure for Nigeria’s poorest, a population that stands to benefit the most from reduced consumption of sugary beverages. Tax revenue can be used to curtail the rising burden of disease on the poor and the nation’s healthcare system,” she stated.