In a bid to safeguard the lives of Nigerians, the House of Representatives has considered a motion to formulate a tax policy on Sugary beverages in Nigeria.
The House of Representatives Pilgrimage Committee Chairman Hon. Abubakar Naralaba had recently argued in the House plenary that sugary beverages are harmful to the health of Nigerians and that citizens have the right to be protected from that harm.
While Nigeria was found to be the fourth largest consumer of sugary beverages in the world, the motion proposed a special tax of 5 to 10 percent on sugary beverages.
As set out in the motion, the tax is intended to be aimed at discouraging the consumption of sugary beverages and preventing adverse health effects such as type 2 diabetes.
The motion also included a proposal to make beverage packaging mandatory to highlight the health risks of consuming sugary beverages.
After the application was read out, a member of parliament representing the federal constituencies of Ukwa Ost / Ukwa West in the House of Representatives, Mr Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, applied for a change in the share of excise duty on the grounds that the costs would be borne by consumers.
After the meeting, Omei Bongos, representative of the National Action for Sugar Reduction, NASR, spoke with journalist, congratulating the House on the decision and calling for awareness to highlight the negative effects on the healthy consumption of sugary beverages.
Bongos said: “This is a good step forward for healthy eating in Nigeria, but there is still a lot to be done, there is a need to raise awareness to highlight the negative health effects of consuming sugary beverages.
“A tax will be part of a comprehensive package of measures aimed at combating noncommunicable diseases, noncommunicable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”
NASR is an association of non-governmental organizations that advocate guidelines to combat the health risks associated with the use of sugary beverages.
In addition, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Diabetes Association, who is also co-chair of the NASR coalition, Comrade Bernard Enyia, said, “As a diabetes victim, I have come to realize that sugary drinks cause problems for people with diabetes.
“This harm includes complications and premature death for which all manufacturers and sellers of these products are responsible.
“The ‘5-10%’ special tax will force manufacturers of these beverages to react quickly and encourage citizens to make healthier choices. The tax revenue can be used to reduce the burden of NCD if a response is made to prevent and control it ”.
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