By Chioma Obinna
Stakeholders in the fight against Non-Communicable Diseases, NCDs has said that the introduction of N10 per litre excise duty on soft drinks would reduce the burden of diseases as well as increase government revenue.
Making the assertion in a press statement by the Board Chairman of ACUF, Dr Chiwuike Uba, Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation, ACUF, they lauded President Muhammadu Buhari on the introduction of sin tax, describing it as a welcome development and legislation that has been long-awaited.
The Foundation said the partial introduction of Sin Tax will not only lead to a drastic decline in the consumption of potentially harmful goods, especially Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, (SSBs), but an increase in government revenue and improvements in the population health.
“Nigeria really needs comprehensive Sin Tax legislation to cut consumption of potentially health-threatening products, increase revenues for health financing and/or improve the health of the population. We are hopeful that the federal government will charge 100 percent excise duties on sugar-sweetened beverages, tobacco, alcohol and other potentially health-threatening products.
“The partial introduction of Sin Tax will not only lead to a drastic decline in the consumption of potentially harmful goods especially SSBs, but an increase in government revenue and improvements in the population health.
“According to statistics, in 2019, Nigeria was the 7th-largest country with the highest consumption of soft drinks globally, with more than 49 servings of 8 ounces per capita per year. By the way, the market is projected to grow by 17.12 percent per year from 2021- 2026.
“Currently, more than 100 soft drink brands are made or bottled in Nigeria from about 15 bottling or drink manufacturers.
“Despite the established direct relationship between consumption of SSBs and increase in the prevalence of diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, cancer and associated deaths, the estimated average per capita consumption of soft drinks in Nigeria was approximately 57.02 litres in 2021.
“It was so because the price was affordable. An increase in the price will discourage high consumption and ultimately boost agriculture through increased consumption of organic fruits and fruit juice.”
“According to him, if the revenue generated from taxing these products is well spent, the Sin tax would become a victory for Nigeria’s health system, the poor and vulnerable who are already living below the poverty line and the country at large.