World Bank urges FG to impose taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to improve PHC


The World Bank Group has called on the federal government to impose excise taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and sugary drinks to improve primary health care centers in Nigeria.

World Bank Group Nigeria Country Director Shubham Chaudhuri made the appeal on Friday in Abuja, during the special meeting of the National Health Council (NCH), hosted by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) .

The theme for 2021 is “The Road to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Applying Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic Towards Building a Resilient National Health System”.

The National Health Law of 2014 recognizes the NCH as the supreme decision-making body of the Nigerian health sector.

The responsibilities of the NCH include protecting, promoting, improving and maintaining the health of Nigerian citizens and formulating policies.

The Council is also responsible for ensuring the provision of basic health services to the Nigerian people.

Chaudhuri noted that taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks would reduce health risks and expand fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.

The country director said investing in stronger health systems for all would help tackle rising poverty and inequalities.

“This finding brings the imperative of universal health coverage (UHC) back to the forefront.

“If we want to improve health in Nigeria. We have to tax the things that kill us. The economic rationale for taxing these products is strong if we are to save lives and create a better and healthier Nigeria, ”he said.

He added that these health tax increases would have the added benefit of lowering future health care costs by curbing the growth of noncommunicable diseases that tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks can cause.

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