A coalition of civil society groups under the aegis of the National Action on Sugar Reduction, has called on the National Assembly to further increase the tax imposed on the sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs).
According to the coalition, the increase will translate to real health gains for Nigerians suffering from diabetes and other related ailments.
The coalition made its position known at a courtesy call to the Chairman House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide at the National Assembly complex.
The Co-Chair, NASR Coalition, Dr. Adamu Alhassan Umar Thursday, said in a statement that the claim by the beverage industry that it was suffering loss as a result of the tax was not tenable.
According to him, during the beverage industry’s visit to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, the industry representatives were asked to name an example of a country where the industry has fallen into economic losses as a result of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, but they could not mention one.
He said: “They shot themselves in the foot by mentioning that Nigeria is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy soft drinks, which further indicates that the beverage industry is targeting the poor, leading them to buy more soft drinks.”
Abejide said that by evading taxation, the beverage industry had cheated the country for so long because the country had forfeited revenue that could have been earned from taxes.