By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Worried by the increase in consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) the
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has launched a report on the increase health challenges posed by SSBs.

In his analyzing the report, Fidelis Obaniyi from the Centre for the Study of the economies of Africa (ESEA), said while the tax of N10
per litre on SSB in Nigeria is a good beginning, the tax rate must be improved to have a significant impact. “This will help to account for inflation and ensure significant reduction in affordability of SSBs
and achieve significant health gains. Should Nigeria decide to
increase the tax rate to significantly more effective rate, the model
indicates that it would significantly increase the retail price of these products, and subsequently lead to a reduction in consumption, and greater revenue generation.”

Also speaking at the public presentation and launch of simulation study of the research results tagged: Potential Fiscal and Public Health Effects of Sugar-sweetened Beverage Tax in Nigeria by CAPPA in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, (GHAI), Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA), and Gatefield, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, said going by the current inflation rate, the 10Naira per litre imposed on SSBs in 2021 is today possibly worth less than 4kobo because it was a fixed tax, not adjustable to inflation.
“In essence, the SSB tax needs to be increased Significantly in the 2024 Fiscal Act, with a framework that is adjustable to inflation as we also begin the conversation about earmarking the tax or a sizeable portion of it for public health.

“While I will not preempt the discussion of the research team, the findings of this study have shown that a minimum of N130/Litre, we will see a significant drop in consumption and a decrease in Nigeria’s consumption fueled diseases. I am further convinced that this document provides the government, including the executive and lawmakers, the much-needed data to pursue this policy pathway to a logical conclusion for the benefit of all” he said.

On her part,Joy Amafah, the Nigerian Coordinator, Food Policy Programme, GHAI said the study will be useful to everyone in addressing health concerns around excessive consumption of SSBs,
“At GHAI, we are hopeful that the report from this study will be useful to everyone in addressing health concerns around excessive consumption of SSBs, the decision makers, advocates, consumers, and the media.
“We are also hopeful that findings from this simulation study will reinforce the voices of advocates calling for an upward review of the current N10/litre tax on SSBs given the health impact of SSB taxes in reducing deaths and diseases caused from excessive consumption of SSBs, the economic impact in generating revenues for the country that can be earmarked into the health sector, and a triple benefit of reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

“Beyond an upward review, we are hopeful that this report will reinforce the need for a sustainable legal framework in Nigeria on SSB taxes such that advocates and the public are not left with the burden of constantly advocating for the sustenance of the tax, providing justifications during the annual review of the budget and finance act” she said.

Also contributing at the event, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike Director Public Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, said frequent consumption of SSB is associated with increased incidence of dental cavities, tooth decay and obesity.

He said, obesity is in turn a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke and hypertension, SSB consumption has also been linked to some forms of cancer.

“An estimated 38.6 million litres of soft drink are sold daily in Nigeria, making it the 4th highest soft drink consuming country in the world. The drinks are marketed in such a way that customers believe that they get better value when they buy the biggest bottles of soft drink, leading to over consumption. Of particular concern is the trend of over consumption among Nigerian adolescent which can lead to childhood obesity and negative health consequences in adulthood.

“Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally and account for a substantial proportion of deaths in Nigeria. NCDs affect the highly productive populations thereby posing a huge danger to the physical and mental well-being of the citizens, health care system, Socio economic development and consequently undermining national development. Nigeria losses a lot of money annually to the loss of productivity due to NCD and incur cost on treatment and management of these chronic diseases.”

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