The National Association of Nigerian Students in the South-West zone has condemned the Federal Government’s plan to introduce N10 per litre tax on carbonated drinks.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, recently announced the plan while saying it was a move to discourage excessive consumption of sugar in beverages which she said contributed to a number of health conditions including diabetes and obesity.
But the Coordinator of NANS in South-West, Olatunji Adegboye, said in a statement on Monday that imposing tax on soft drinks was not a way diabetes and other health-related ailment associated with consumption of sweetened beverages could be stopped.
Adegboye argued that the introduction of additional duty on the already taxed products showed the government was insensitive and was bereft of ideas to drive its internally generated revenue.
The students’ body described the planned duty as a deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to pile more miseries on the hapless citizens.
The NANS said instead of adding to the economic hardship Nigerians were being made to suffer through the planned duty, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), should look at how to reduce the cost of governance to free more funds for development.
The statement partly read, “Imposition of additional duty on carbonated drinks is anti-people, anti-democratic, and retrogressive. It contradicts the law of humanity and the law of God. It is not in any way constant with the spirit of fairness and starkly contravenes what President Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians while campaigning for our votes.
“For an administration whose major source of finance is foreign loans, one would expect those redundant appointees and underperforming ministers who have done nothing but eating national resources be removed so as to salvage precious billions of naira from further waste.
“Holistic means to reduce the cost of governance should also be proffered, adopted and implemented.
“The above will not only save the country trillions of Naira but also reinvigorate our economy and democracy.”