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Coalition Asks FG To Impose 20% Tax On Sugary Beverages



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The National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition has tasked the Federal Government to impose a 20 percent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The coalition said taxing sugary beverages will save Nigerians from preventable diseases and obesity.

It noted that one in eight people worldwide grapples with obesity, with alarming statistics revealing that 30 per cent of Nigerians are overweight and 15 per cent are classified as obese.

Speaking at an awareness rally to commemorate the World Obesity Day on Saturday in Abuja, the representative of the coalition, Omei Bongos-Ikwue, said the fastest way to become obese is to drive sugary beverages.

World Obesity Day is observed globally on March 4 to end the growing global obesity crisis, and it is an opportune time for governments to reaffirm their commitment to tackling this global challenge and strive towards a healthier and more equitable future for all.

The World Obesity Atlas released by the World Obesity Federation showed that 79 per cent of adults overweight and obese will live in low middle-income countries by 2035, 88 per cent of children overweight and obese will be living in LMICs by 2035, and it is projected that the number of adults living with obesity will rise from 0.81 billion in 2020 to 1.53 billion in 2035.
The World Health Organisation underscores the global scale of the obesity crisis, with more than one billion people affected worldwide.

Bongos-Ikwue said, “The reason we are having an awareness on obesity, including abdominal obesity is because obesity leads to serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack. The fastest way to become obese is to consume sugary beverages. The issue with these drinks is that they go straight to the bloodstream and are stored as fat because the content of the drinks is heavily concentrated with sugar and the body can’t digest it all.

“It is also said that 12 types of cancer are related to the consumption of these products. So, what we are trying to do is to raise awareness and get the government’s attention that if these drinks are taxed properly, it will prohibit people from buying them.

“Eleven million people in Nigeria are living with diabetes and many of them cannot afford the drugs. So, we are saying tax sugary drinks so we can prevent people from things like diabetes, and heart disease, and in the end, you are saving yourself and the family.”

She added that obesity poses a significant threat to health and SSBs emerge as a primary source of added sugar in diet.

“We urge the government to implement higher taxes on sugary drinks. We demand at least 20 percent tax on all SSBs. The goal of this pro-health tax is to protect more Nigerians from the risks of obesity, alleviate the burden on the healthcare system, and promote a healthier society,” she said.



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