Uganda’s 2016/17 national budget announced an increase in taxes imposed on chocolates and confectioneries. The 26.3 trillion budget which was read to the public last week, will generate 70 percent of its income from local taxes. This revelation may not put a smile on the country’s taxpayers, but could be a vital step in reducing obesity and diabetes in Uganda. That’s b’se chocolates and confectioneries are to become a little bit more expensive.
Candy bars, cakes, Swiss rolls, chocolates are replacing natural foods in the diets of most Ugandans. Employees have to grab quick meals in short lunch breaks while others opt to have their lunch on the job, for students, the 30 minutes of break time mean a trip to the canteen where a great deal of edibles sold are confectioneries.
According to the World Obesity Federation, a survey conducted in 2011 showed that 4.2% of women aged 15-49 were obese while 0.6% of Ugandan men in the same age bracket were obese. A series of research studies have established a direct link between excessive consumption of chocolates and confectioneries to diabetes and obesity.
Consuming chocolates and confectioneries for three months of a school term or a week on the job surely qualifies as “excessive”. With the Uganda government dedicated to fighting obesity and diabetes, the tax increase may be key in this fight.
The producers of chocolates and confectioneries may not take on these taxes themselves but instead pass them onto the consumers by increasing the prices of the product. Hopefully it’s this price increase that will discourage many from consuming chocolates and confectioneries, and will be a vital step toward the reduction of diabetes and obesity in Uganda.