ISLAMABAD: The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) have met in the upcoming budget (2021-22).
According to a recent letter from the IDF to the government received here, the IDF would like to express its concern about the high number of people with diabetes in Pakistan (currently estimated at 19.4 million, although this is considered a conservative estimate) and the many others at high risk of developing diabetes.
More than a third of adults in Pakistan are either obese or overweight and therefore at increased risk for diabetes and other health problems.
On May 31, the Federal Revenue Office (FBR) will submit its proposals for the upcoming budget to the Ministry of Finance.
“The IDF would like to suggest that the government give serious thought to financial policies that can help reduce the harmful consumption of goods and encourage citizens to make healthier choices. In particular, we recommend that you give serious thought to increasing the taxation of sugary beverages (SSB). ”
The IDF supports the call by the Diabetic Association of Pakistan to increase the excise duty on SSB to 20 percent and to expand the category beyond its current definition to include juices, energy drinks, flavored milk, iced tea and other beverages sweetened with sugar.
Taxation to reduce the consumption of SSB has proven to be an extremely effective tool in reducing the burden of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The increasing availability of ultra-processed and sugary foods, decreased physical activity and higher incomes that often come with higher consumption of unhealthy foods are important factors and key areas where policy interventions can make a difference.
The IDF strongly recommends considering taxing SSB to encourage healthier habits that are financially beneficial to the individual as it reduces spending on unhealthy and socially beneficial expenses in terms of savings from lower health care costs and lost productivity become.
A recent study of SSB consumption trends in Pakistan shows that carbonated beverages have become an essential part of the Pakistani diet, with SSB accounting for up to 70 percent of the soft drink consumed.
The IDF sincerely hopes that the government will seriously consider our call to take action to prevent diabetes by responding positively to the Diabetic Association of Pakistan’s proposal to increase excise duties on a wide range of sugary beverages, added her.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021