Sugar Sweetened BeverageTax

Sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks) contribute to the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria, including type II diabetes, stroke and heart disease. A single soft drink bottle contains staggering amounts of sugar -- up to 12 cubes. Soft drinks are also a major contributing factor to tooth decay and obesity, a risk factor for a host of chronic diseases. A Euromonitor report lists Nigeria as the 4th highest consumer of soft drinks in the world.

NCDs have far-reaching economic effects. A significant cause of premature death in people under 40 years, NCDs have the chilling capacity to cut lives short in their prime. This is a setback to economic productivity. In Nigeria, the cost of diabetes care amounts to $4.5 billion per annum. These expenses come to nearly ₦37,000 a month -- more than half the average Nigerian’s monthly earnings. 

Many Nigerians who can afford to buy soft drinks cannot afford to treat the chronic diseases associated with drinking them.

A tax can discourage the consumption of sugary drinks and potentially prevent damaging health and economic effects. 

The coalition recognises that a tax would not be a complete solution in itself but rather one component of a comprehensive approach to preventing NCDs. 

Nonetheless, a fiscal intervention in the form of a tax can:

  • Protect people by creating an environment that encourages people to ditch sugary drinks for healthier alternatives.
  • Promote awareness of the health risks of drinking soft drinks by leading people to seek the reasons for a tax.
  • Provide much-needed revenue to subsidize diabetes treatment costs and control other NCDs.

A Call to Action: Tax, Mandate, Fund

Our coalition recommends that the Federal Government:

  1. Tax: Introduce a 20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as part of a multi-pronged approach to tackle the rising rates of NCDs. 
  2. Mandate: Make it mandatory for sugar-sweetened beverage packaging to carry health warning labels that let consumers know how much sugar a drink contains -- and the health risks associated with drinking it in excess.
  3. Fund: From tax revenue create a fund for the prevention and control of NCDs..

Members of the Coalition