The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged the Federal Government to commit to addressing the growing crisis of obesity in Nigeria by implementing the stipulated taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs).
CAPPA in a statement issued by its Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, to commemorate the 2023 World Obesity Day, buttressed the need for the public health community, policymakers, and other critical stakeholders to come together to advance solutions to the predictable and preventable health crisis.
Research has shown that SSB taxes have been successful in reducing consumption and improving health outcomes in over 50 countries across the world, and it can help to reduce health inequalities by disproportionately reducing consumption among low-income and minority populations who are more likely to suffer from obesity and related diseases.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, CAPPA’s Executive Director said one of the main contributors to the obesity epidemic is the consumption of SSBs. “These drinks are high in calories and sugar with little to no nutritional value to consumers. They are widely available and heavily marketed, particularly to children and teenagers. These unhealthy products are major contributors to the high rates of obesity and related diseases in our country.”
“As the world creates awareness today, we call on the government of Nigeria to rise to its responsibility of ensuring the welfare of Nigerians by taking necessary policy steps towards the reduction in the consumption of SSBs”.
“Alongside behavioural change, the government must institute proven public health policies for the good of the people and to reverse the ugly trend of avoidable deaths associated with obesity.” Oluwafemi said.
He added that the existing N10 per litre tax on SSBs in Nigeria is not enough, stressing that “while it was retained in the yet to be signed Finance Bill, it must also be immediately increased to meet global best practices and optimum efficiency.”
CAPPA believes that by reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, the government can help to prevent chronic diseases, which are more prevalent in low-income communities.
The SSB tax is not about punishing people for their choices. It’s about creating a healthier environment that encourages people to make better choices for themselves and their families.
“The commemoration of World Obesity Day should galvanize us as a nation to recommit ourselves to the fight against obesity through improved awareness and pro-people public health reforms. Delay is dangerous,” he insisted.