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Choose health gains over industry profits – A4H Coalition rallies support for Excise Duty Amendment Bill

The Advocating for Health Coalition is rallying support for the passage of the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2022, which seeks to impose a 20% tax on health-harming commodities such as sugar-sweetened beverages.

According to the coalition, the health benefits of the tax are gargantuan and will save the lives of Ghanaians.


The coalition, during a press conference on April 6 commended the parliament of Ghana for voting for public health. They indicated that the public health gains of the bill far outweigh the claims being made by the industry.

According to the coalition, poor diets and eating habits are responsible for about 11 million deaths annually worldwide. The coalition expressed worry about the fact that many are eating a lot of unhealthy diets while avoiding healthy diets on a daily basis.

It attributed this to the wide availability, accessibility, and affordability of these unhealthy diets, especially sugar-sweetened beverages. “This has resulted in the rising rates of obesity, especially among children, as well as other diet-related NCDs”, they said.

Speaking to the press on behalf of the coalition, Mr. Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the Ghana NCD Alliance, said “Non-communicable diseases are projected to be Africa’s leading cause of death by 2030 if governments do not act urgently. Globally, NCDs are responsible for 41 million annual deaths, with 94,400 of these deaths occurring in Ghana alone.

“A joint survey by the Ghana Statistical Service, Ghana Health Service, and ICF International found Ghana’s obesity rate at 15.3%, while overweight stood at 24.8%. Today, 7 out of every 10 Ghanaian adults and 4.5 out of 11 children are obese (Global Obesity Observatory, 2023),” he added.

Economically, a team of Ghanaian researchers (Lartey et al. 2020) found that the average healthcare cost per admission for adults of healthy weight is $35, whereas for adults with overweight, it is $78, and for adults with obesity, it is $132. The study further estimated that 60% of the average total costs per person expended are borne by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),” he added.

This means that the government is paying huge sums of money for the treatment and care of obesity and its related diseases when lives and money could be saved with preventive tax policies on sugar-sweetened beverages, tobacco, and alcohol.

As the healthcare costs and deaths linked to these health-harming products keep increasing, this is the right intervention to protect young people, promote health outcomes, and guarantee sustainable financing for public health service delivery.

The coalition calls on the President of Ghana to sign the bill with urgency to concretize his current position as a global leader and an advocate for Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: A4H Coalition

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