•••Says Nigeria amongst countries with 77% of global 41m deaths caused by NCDs

By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, said the introduction and sustenance of tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) in Nigeria will reduce excess consumption of the product and promote a healthier nation.

He added that the sustainability of the tax will reduce the burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country.

The minister stated this on Wednesday in Abuja, while speaking at the National Conference on SSBs organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Corporate Accountability Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) .

Represented by the Director, Public Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the minister said statistics has shown effective reduction on SSBs consumption in countries where tax is in force.

Speaking further on the conference themed: “Towards Sustainable Pathway for Pro-Health Tax in Nigeria”, Pate revealed that Nigeria is amongst the countries with 77 percent of the global 41 million death casued by NCDs.

He said they the federal government is committed to attaining the global best practice as recommended by the World Health Organisation of at least, 20% of the final retail price on all SSBs as the current 10 naira per liter price fails to achieve this.

On his part, the Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) Akinbode Oluwafemi expressed concern that more than 30% of all deaths in Nigeria are linked to Non-Communicable Diseases.

In his words “According to a World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report, the risk of premature death from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, respiratory diseases, and diabetes among Nigerians aged 30 to 69-year-olds is 22%.

“As of 2020, there were more than 21 million overweight and 12 million obese ‘persons in the Nigerian population aged 15 years or more, accounting for an age adjusted prevalence of about 20% and 12% respectively”.

He urged the Federal Government through all necessary mechanism must retain the SSB tax in the next fiscal policy and increase to at least #50 while working with all stakeholders to find the most effective minimum tax rate that will help the government in achieving its goal.

Also, a member of the House of Representative, Hon Amos Gwamna Magaji assured that the 10th Assembly is committed in promoting the health and well-being of Nigerians.

He added that they are robbing minds with various stakeholders to address health related challenges in the country.

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