According to a new study by National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR), Nigerians spend an estimated $4.5 billion on diabetes treatment alone each year.
Dr. Laz Ude Eze, Technical Advisor for the National Action on Sugar Reduction, stated this at a webinar for journalists, emphasizing that Nigeria is the world’s fourth-largest soft drink consumer.
In Nigeria, he claims, approximately 38 million gallons of soft drink are sold each year.
He urged the Federal Ministry of Health to start a public treatment program for sugar-related disorders including type 2 diabetes while ensuring that sugar-sweetened beverages include an obligatory warning label
The NASR Coalition therefore recommended the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as such will relieve burdensome healthcare costs and provide revenue toward health promotion.
According to him; “The Federal Ministry of Health should initiate a public awareness and education campaign on the health risks associated with excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, the cost of diabetes care and the management of other NCDs.
“The introduction to a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as part of a multi-pronged approach to tackle the rising rates of NCDs.
“The Coalition specifically calls on the Minister of Finance to introduce an exercise duty 20% on sugar-sweetened beverages such as carbonated sugary and energy drinks.
“Ultimately, the Coalition believes that the National Assembly should a tax on sugary drinks to provide a lasting solution.
“The Coalition of a fund for the prevention and treatment of NCDs and subsidizing health care costs with the treatment of sugar-linked type 2 diabetes. Financing for this tax will come from revenue obtained from the taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages” reads recommendations of the coalition in parts.
Dr. Ude Eze, further urged stakeholders institute measures to ensure that sugar-sweetened beverages carry mandatory nutritional information and health warning labels to ensure that consumers know the product’s sugar content and health risks.