Nigeria Needs Coalition For Health Tax Policy – DGI Consult

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A strong coalition among health stakeholders has been touted as a necessary factor for a functional health ax policy in Nigeria.

This was revealed by the managing partner of Development Governance International (DGI) Consult, Dr. Gafar Alawode during a session to share the methodology, findings and key recommendations from a thorough health policy analysis conducted in collaboration with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Alawode emphasised the importance of establishing a strong, inclusive coalition and consensus in support of pro-health taxes. Alawode stressed the significance of developing a local database to monitor consumption patterns and provide evidence for decision-making on health tax design.

He emphasised the need to build a broad-based pro-health tax coalition, create a local consumption tracking database and gather evidence to inform health tax policy decisions. Alawode highlighted that the process of designing and implementing effective health tax policies is often more political than technical, underlining the importance of being prepared for misleading industry-driven narratives that seek to undermine health taxes.

He also underscored the necessity of maintaining a robust and accessible database for targeted products to monitor consumption levels and the impact of tax rates on prices and consumption, essential for making policy adjustments when needed.

Unit head at the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, World Health Organisation, Dr. Robert Marten mentioned the increasing importance of understanding the global political economy of health taxes. The study aimed to enhance the design, adoption and implementation of health taxes by exploring their political economy.

Chief of Party at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Local Health System Sustainability Project (LHSS), Dr. Bolanle Olusola-Faleye highlighted the potential for achieving up to 20 per cent health insurance coverage for the poor and vulnerable through revenue from health taxes. She emphasised the importance of earmarking health taxes for the health sector and demonstrating efficiency, absorptive capacity and accountability in implementation.

President of the Nigeria Cancer Society (NCS), Dr. Adamu Alhassan Umar noted the advocacy efforts to accelerate the adoption of health taxes for combating non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria.

Representative of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Mathew Osanekwu stated the agency’s support for policy formulation and measures for excise tax to establish a comprehensive framework guiding the implementation of excise taxes, including health taxes, in Nigeria.

Coordinator of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), Dr. Mustapha Lecky mentioned that the dialogue aligned with the coalition’s objectives of influencing health policies and advocacy agenda.

Preliminary findings from the health tax policy analysis conducted by DGI Consult, funded by the Alliance for Health Policy and System Research (AHPSR), were discussed at the event, with additional insights gathered from participants.

Racheal Abujah
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