The Finance Act 2021 introduced a new tax on non-alcoholic, sweetened carbonated drinks which have the potential to generate additional funding for the health sector. In view of this, PharmAccess Foundation in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch and the World Bank, with the support of DGI Consult hosted health sector stakeholders at its “Health Financing Policy Dialogue” to deliberate on the implementation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) taxation and its potential as a means for increasing healthcare financing in Nigeria.
The Health Financing Policy Dialogue which was held in Abuja on Thursday, July 28th 2022 hosted several dignitaries including the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe; the Director General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo; the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze; and First Lady of Kebbi State, Her Excellency Dr Zainab Bagudu amongst others.
The policy dialogue featured keynote remarks, goodwill messages, a presentation on the overview of the implementation of SSBs in other countries and two panel sessions. Participants thoroughly examined the challenges and opportunities of implementing the SSB tax and the strategies to ensure it is effectively utilized as an alternative source of health financing in Nigeria. The session also stimulated policy-reset conversations on earmarking pro-health taxes for the health sector. Also discussed are other innovative health financing mechanisms at the national and sub-national levels to ensure Nigerians have access to affordable, equitable and quality healthcare services.