The government believes it can raise up to $6 million a year in its sugary drinks tax as part of an expanded National Health Insurance program, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.
“There are two goals, one is to reduce consumption and improve the health status,” Sands said.
“Another goal is to raise revenue to pay for the damage created by the high fructose corn syrup or sugary beverages.
“You also use those funds for your educational awareness campaign because the money has to come from somewhere.
“How much do you think you can raise? We think maybe $4 million, $5 million, $6 million from that.
“That’s 10 cents or so on a can of soda probably.”
Sands was a guest on the Guardian Radio 96.9 talk show “The Revolution” with host Juan McCartney.
According to the minister, NHI would cost around $100 million a year.
In a policy paper released last week, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) said an expanded NHI will be funded through: government contribution; earmarked allocation of value-added tax (VAT) collected on private health insurance; funds from the risk equalization fund; direct contributions to the NHIA from employers and a sugary drinks tax.
The NHIA has proposed that the sugary drinks tax launch July 2019.
The paper said, “Jurisdictional research indicates that sin taxes on particularly unhealthy products, such as sugary drinks, alcohol and cigarettes are effective revenue sources and create an economic and social incentive to reduce consumption.
“Under our proposed plan, a sugary drinks tax structure will be developed for sugary drinks and potentially other unhealthy products.
“The funding generated by this tax will be earmarked and flow directly into health education and outreach programs.”
Education: College of The Bahamas, English