The World Bank has called on the Federal Government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and sugar-sweetened beverages to improve primary healthcare.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, made this call in Abuja during the special National Council on Health meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Health on Friday.
He said, “If we want to improve healthcare in Nigeria, we need to tax the things that are killing us.
“The economic rationale for taxing these products is strong if we want to save lives and make a better and healthier Nigeria.”
Chaudhuri noted that taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages would reduce the health risks associated with their consumption and expand fiscal space for universal health coverage post-COVID-19.
The country director stated that investing in stronger health system for all would contribute to tackling rising poverty and inequality.
He added that health tax increases would have the additional advantage of reducing future healthcare costs by curbing the growth of non-communicable diseases that tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages cause.
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