The Zimbabwean government will introduce a levy of sugary beverages as it seeks to discourage citizens from consuming too much sugar, which has been blamed for causing some forms of cancer, a senior government official said Thursday.
Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Mthuli Ncube said the new measure is in response to growing concerns on the adverse effects of consumption of sugar, in particular, that contained in beverages.
He made the remarks while presenting the 2024 national budget to Parliament, adding such tax on beverages had been implemented in a number of countries.
“The consumption of high sugar content beverages is linked to increased risk of non-communicable diseases. It is, thus, necessary to discourage consumption of high sugar content beverages, hence, I propose to introduce a levy of 2 U.S. cents per gram of sugar contained in beverages, excluding water, with effect from 1 January 2024,” he said.
He added that funds derived from the levy would be ring-fenced for therapy and procurement of cancer equipment for diagnosis.
According to clinical oncologist Anna Mary Nyakabau, cancer is a major cause of morbidity in the country with over 5,000 new diagnoses and more than 1,500 deaths per year.