President Bola Tinubu is taking significant steps to improve Nigeria’s healthcare sector by increasing the annual budget allocation to health by 10%. His special adviser on health, Salma Ibrahim-Anas, revealed this commitment during the GateField Health Summit held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
According to Ibrahim-Anas, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu firmly believes that earmarking 10% of the Nigerian budget for health will enhance the nation’s overall health outcomes. She emphasized that the President is a staunch advocate for health-related issues and is dedicated to establishing a robust healthcare system for Nigerian citizens.
The GateField summit focused on a pressing concern: the health impact of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) on Nigerians. The event advocated taxing companies producing these beverages to generate revenue for Nigeria’s struggling healthcare system. The goal is to support individuals who suffer from health conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other non-communicable diseases primarily attributed to SSB consumption.
Considering that over 13 million Nigerians are living with diabetes and 12 million with pre-diabetes, implementing a sugar tax and urging caution among SSB-producing companies could significantly benefit the health sector. The summit emphasized the importance of health financing, efficient governance, strong leadership structures, public health initiatives, increased pharmaceutical capacity, partnerships, technology integration, and accountability.
Despite Nigeria being the fourth highest consumer of soft drinks globally, the country joined more than 100 nations in implementing the SSB tax two years ago. However, the current tax of 10 naira per litre on SSB falls short of adequately covering the full scope of the tax’s intended impact.