SSB Tax reporting: CAPPA trains Journalists on proper media advocacy, others

The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) recently trained Journalists from different media organizations to improve their capacity on specific issue and to enable them define a proper media advocacy that will not only see that the government of Nigeria increases this tax but also earmark it for public health.

At the Two-days training on Sugar Sweetened Beverages( SSB) Tax and Industry Monitoring held in Abuja, the Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi,explained that the training on policy and health issues surrounding (SSB) Tax in Nigeria was apt as they will continue to build the power of Journalists to speak up on behalf of the Nigerian public.

He said the training was also to make the media dig deep into issues from different angles and perspectives.

According to him, it will improve the media’s capacity on this specific issue adding that journalists is not only to interrogate these ideas and policies of government but to also sniff lives out of bad narratives that are making the rounds and causing Nigerians to turn against a policy they should be supporting.

In a paper presentation on Conducting Investigations into Health and SSB Tax issues, the Executive Director, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) Dayo Aiyetan explained that investigative journalism involves exposing to

the public matters that are concealed–either deliberately by someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents.

He highlighted the essential elements of Investigative Journalism which are; reporting that involves digging beyond the available information, it must produce new facts or information or treat existing information in a way that gives it more significance, it must be in the public interest and it must be multi sourced amongst others .

Also, the Public Health Professional, Francis Fagbule on why the focus on SSBs explained that SSBs are among the leading sources of free sugars, and they contain little-to-no added nutritional value.

He said individuals who consume SSBs do not compensate for the added calories by eating less food, which leads to weight gain and obesity.

He also revealed that studies show that SSBs may pose greater health risks, including the risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to sugar-containing solid foods.

On ways to pitch SSB Tax stories, Media expert ,Declan Okpalaeke said there is need to use country comparisons such as

“Nigeria spends about twice the amount South Africa and Algeria spend on sugary drinks and beverages.$4billion for Nigeria and $1b each for South Africa and Algeria

He harped on the need to use impacts from other countries such as “consumption of SSBs reduced by 42% in Philadelphis following the introduction of the SSB tax and sales of bottled water increased during the same period”.