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Health Minister Proposes 20 % Tax on Sugary Beverages

Thursday 15th November, 2018-Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Hon. Molwyn Joseph is advocating for a 20% tax on sugary sweetened beverages, as government battles to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

There is no fixed date at this time by which government plans to impose the taxes, however; discussions on the possible tax hike have increased. Government believes higher taxes on sugary beverages will assist in reducing the high incidences of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases that are prevalent in society.

The importance of the tax hike was discussed at the Cabinet level on Wednesday. According to Cabinet spokesman, Minister Dean Jonas, more information will be revealed in due course. He agrees that public education will be an important component in the discussion.

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On Wednesday, in observance of World Diabetes Day, the health minister indicated that based on statistics, seven out of every ten deaths in Antigua and Barbuda are as a result of non-communicable diseases, which include diabetes. The minister emphasized the need for greater commitment on the part of Antiguans and Barbudans in significantly reducing the high number of people afflicted with the disease.

Minister Dean Jonas speaking to reporters at today’s post-cabinet press briefing said the high levels of sugar consumption must be addressed.

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