Pakistan bears 4th highest burden of diabetic patients worldwide

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Staff Reporter

Pakistan has the 4th highest burden of type 2 diabetes worldwide with more than 19 million cases per year with increasing number of affected patients due to increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

General Secretary, Diabetic Association of Pakistan Professor Dr. Abdul Basit in a joint presser called the government to impose heavy federal excise duty (FED) on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to protect the increasing cohort of the population affected due to heavy consumption of sugar.

General Secretary, Diabetic Association of Pakistan Professor Dr. Abdul Basit said the high consumption of SSBs like sodas, juices and energy drinks by adults and children in Pakistan was one of the major causes of obesity and related non communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, some types of cancers, and even tooth decay.

The public and civil society organizations have resented that the government has imposed no tax on the sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) responsible for generating the major burden of non-communicable diseases.

General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) Sana Ullah Ghumman said the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has submitted a strong proposal to FBR for increasing federal excise duty (FED) on SSBs to minimum of 20 percent.

Ghumman underscored that by considering the importance of this policy change, SAPM Health Dr Faisal Sultan wrote a letter to Minister Finance requesting his personal attention for increasing FED on SSBs.

“All above organizations endorsed the proposal and wrote letters to policy makers at FBR and Ministry of Finance for increasing FED to 20 percent in the budget,” he added.

Sana Ullah Ghumman urged the Prime Minister and Finance Minister to reconsider their decision and urged the parliamentarians from the treasury benches and opposition parties for supporting this life saving policy of increasing FED on SSBs in the budget.

Chairperson Nation Development Organization Tahseen Fawad said we were active for the development of the nation, no nation could develop without a healthy lifestyle.

Former Commissioner for Income Tax, Hafeez Khan, Ghulam Abbas, vice-president of Pakistan Kidney Patients Association of Pakistan, Nureen Gelani, and Alia Habib, coordinator of Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance, were of the view that health was life and its protection should be the priority of the government.

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