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Excise Duty Modification According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Bill 2022 promotes health

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The Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2022, according to Hajia Hamdaratu Dauda Wumbei, Chairperson of the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, will safeguard the public health by lowering consumption of products that are harmful to health.

She said that consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and sugar-sweetened beverages led to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

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The Chairman claimed that there were too many sugar-sweetened beverages on the market, which were to blame for childhood and teenage obesity and overweight.

She warned that if action is not taken today, children could develop NCDs in the future.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Hajia Wumbei stated that the Ghana NCD Alliance, in conjunction with the University of Ghana School of Public Health, Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Ghana Public Health Association, had organised the news conference.

The Excise Duty Amendment Bill, which Parliament enacted on the evening of March 31, 2023, was intended to be highlighted for its positive effects on health. Now, the Law is awaiting presidential approval.

The Bill, according to Hajia Wumbei, was intended to regulate the use of health-harming products through price hikes that would damage consumers’ purchasing power and result in a decrease in consumption rather than to ruin enterprises or create unemployment.

She assured the audience that the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics members were ready to assist industry participants with innovative recipes to satisfy consumer demand.

According to Annabel Yeboah-Nkrumah of the University of Ghana School of Public Health, the poor in society could not afford the high cost of treating NCDs, necessitating the need for prevention through higher taxes on the products that contribute to the condition.

“Ghanaians should focus on the impoverished and the lives that are lost due to their products rather than the industry players who are just concerned with their profit. Individuals are taking medications for the rest of their lives, which is impacting their families’ budgets, she said.

In order to safeguard their children against NCDs, she recommended parents to refrain from purchasing sugar-sweetened beverages for them.

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