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A4H project advocates tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages



A4H project, Sugar Sweetened Beverages, SSB, Tax

Advocating for Health Project (A4H), a coalition of health experts, is advocating for the Government of Ghana to consider imposing a tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) to make them more expensive to deter people from consuming them.

According to the A4H, the SSB products have health complications but they are gradually becoming common on the streets of Ghana and the only way to stop people from consuming them was to make them more expensive.

According to Prof. Amos Laar, Principal Investigator-University of Ghana School of Public Health, a study conducted by the A4H project indicated that, 42% of students between the ages of 3 years and 10 years consume SSB daily putting their future and that of the country at high risk, thus there was the need for drastic and pragmatic mechanisms to deal with the situation.

Prof. Laar speaking at a sensitization seminar for journalists on the public health implication of SSB in Accra, organized by Ghana NCD Alliance, lamented that “these products are on display everywhere including shops, schools, churches, markets around banks and in hospitals, and they are killing the populace slowly and silently”.

He said research has shown that these sugary beverages are associated with dental caries, obesity, diabetes, stroke and many other non-communicable diseases.

Ghana is experiencing a surge in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) amidst food insecurity, micronutrient malnutrition, and infectious morbidities,” he warned.

The Ghana Demographic and Health Survey reports that the proportion of the adult population (female) that is overweight or obese in Ghana increased from 10% in 1993 to 40% in 2015.

High blood pressure, elevated fasting plasma glucose, dietary risk factors of NCDs, and high body mass index are among the top 10 risk factors that drive the most death and disability combined. It has been estimated that over one-third of all adult deaths are due to NCDs,” he cautioned.

Prof. Laar said the implication of these on the economy was enormous as it cost Ghana huge sums to treat diabetes related sickness yearly.

So, if we can change the way we eat and eat healthy diets we would be able to address diet-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, as well as obesity and save the country a lot of money”, he urged.

A4H project, Sugar Sweetened Beverages, SSB, Tax

He said Ghana cannot afford the epidemic proportions of the Non-Communicable Diseases levels as the health care system cannot take care of people who are sick, urging public health nutritionists to intensify the campaign to protect the health of the citizens.

The Ghana National Coordinator of NCD Alliance, Labram Musah, said the government should consider putting heavy taxes on these products to make them expensive.

People continuously consume these sugar sweetened beverages because they are not expensive, so putting taxes on them would increase their prices and that would deter people from consuming them in large quantities,” he stressed.

Musah hinted that the twist to the imposition of tax on SSBs is that manufactures in a bit to avoid paying extra tax could make their products safer for consumption by reducing the sugar content”.

He urged the citizens to adhere to health safety protocols and heed to the call to avoid intake of sugar sweetened beverages to remain healthy and productive.

Stressing the importance of the project, Musah said the A4H project will create a favourable environment and stakeholder buy-in for food-related fiscal policies including SSB tax in Ghana.

The A4H project is a collaboration between Academia led by the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Ghana led by Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA), Ghana Public Health Association (GPHA) and Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (GAND).


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