SSB tax: Fight for health of your congregation, CAPPA, others tell religious leaders

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and the Institute of Church and Society, have urged religious leaders to step into the ring and fight for the health of their congregation following the increasing burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria, rising costs of healthcare services, and its negative impacts on the country’s population.

In a press statement issued by the Media Officer CAPPA, Robert Egbe at the just concluded one-day workshop organised by the Institute in Ibadan, CAPPA Project Officer for the SSBs Opeyemi Ibitoye noted that it is time for the government to move Sugar Sweetened Beverage (SSB) tax to at least N130 to help Nigerians fight the scourge of preventable NCDs.

She said the current N10 which was introduced in 2021 is not effective but commended the federal government for putting it in place.

She said: “While we appreciate the government’s efforts to tackle this menace with the introduction of N10/litre”

Also, the Institute’s director Revd. Kolade Fadahunsi, reasoned that an effective SSB tax would help deliver food justice to Nigerians.

In his words: “As part of our social justice week, we have decided to partner with CAPPA to raise awareness on the dangers of SSBs using religious leaders who will get the message to the people.

“They will also be campaigning alongside CAPPA to demand an increase in the tax. This will also include our campaign against food wastage as we hope for food justice in Nigeria and the world at large.

At the workshop, religious leaders of all faiths from the Southwest and Kwara State, described the burden of diseases in Nigeria as enormous while affirming that the current SSB tax is too weak to discourage an unhealthy lifestyle choice.

In an intensive capacity and advocacy engagement, participants expressed displeasure at the state of health in Nigeria.

They urged the government to begin investments in preventive healthcare, including increasing the SSB tax to N150, adjusted for inflation, to have the desired pass-through effect.