How a Sugar Tax Can Save Lives and Help Nigerian Families (NASR Coalition)

How a Sugar Tax Can Save Lives and Help Nigerian Families (NASR Coalition).


The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) Coalition has reaffirmed its position that levying taxes on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) and alcoholic drinks can significantly benefit underprivileged Nigerians.

Dr. Alhassan Umar, Co-Chairman of NASR, reiterated the coalition’s stance in a statement shared with newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.

The coalition has consistently advocated for substantial taxes on SSB products and alcoholic beverages, believing that such taxes would not only dissuade Nigerians from purchasing these items but also reduce the burden of diabetes, hypertension, and other non-communicable diseases associated with excessive sugar consumption.

In recent developments, the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee convened a stakeholder meeting involving trade associations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to discuss potential pathways for tax reforms aimed at bolstering Nigeria’s economic growth.

During the meeting, Committee Chairman, Taiwo Oyedele, stressed the committee’s objective to alleviate the tax burden on Nigerians by primarily targeting the wealthiest one percent of the population, rather than introducing new taxes. Oyedele asserted that this approach would be more effective and ultimately result in increased revenue.

He cited examples of other nations that had enacted similar tax policies, noting that they experienced higher rates of economic expansion and revenue generation. Oyedele reaffirmed the committee’s dedication to identifying locally derived solutions appropriate for Nigeria’s needs.

Mr. Runcie Chidebe, a NASR coalition member and the Executive Director of Project Pink Blue (PPB), echoed the coalition’s stance on the importance of sugary drink taxes in alleviating the burden on impoverished individuals. Chidebe emphasized that such taxes were not aimed at taxing the poor but rather at harmful products detrimental to health.

Chidebe highlighted that taxing SSBs would act as a deterrent to their consumption, reducing the risk of serious diseases among vulnerable communities. He stressed that the failure to implement SSB taxes would undermine public health practices, despite evidence indicating that their implementation leads to a healthier populace.

He said, “I am concerned on why we should not tax the poor; we must take tax policy steps to protect the vulnerable. Many of the poor have lower socioeconomic status and they are more prone to consume SSB, processed foods that place them at a higher risk of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

“The NASR coalition contends that not implementing the SSB tax is counterproductive to public and preventive health practices, especially since there is evidence that implementing SSB taxes results in a healthier population.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a report endorsing higher sugary drink taxes to foster healthier food environments, prevent non-communicable diseases, and reduce associated deaths.

The NASR coalition has recommended that revenue generated from sugary drink taxes be channelled towards health coverage to support Nigeria’s pursuit of universal healthcare goals. (NAN).



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