Indonesia Considers Sugary Drink Tax

Arfi Bambani
Packaged sweetened drinks
Packaged sweetened drinks - A civil society organization Center for Indonesia's Strategic Development Initiative (CISDI) encourages the implementation of excise on packaged sweetened beverage products (MBDK) to protect the public's right to be healthy. Sugary drinks are accused as a cause of high cardiovascular problems.

"We continue to encourage the implementation of the MBDK excise duty in Indonesia by the government which aims to protect the people's right to be healthy and also to encourage a supportive environment for people to be healthier," said CISDI Research Associate Gita Kusnadi in an online public discussion entitled "The Future of Controlling Packaged Sweetened Drinks (MBDK)" which was followed in Jakarta, Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

The current environment in Indonesia is not conducive to a healthy climate, especially to prevent obesity and overweight. This is known from the results of an online survey conducted by CISDI in May-June 2022. This survey involved 2,605 respondents aged at least 18 years from all provinces in Indonesia with the majority of respondents from Java.

"According to the respondents we reached, it turned out that they considered MBDK's products to be very affordable, even when compared to other non-sweetened products," he said.

The majority of respondents also saw that MBDK's products were easy to get because the shops selling MBDK's products were not far from where they lived.

The majority of respondents also agree that the MBDK excise tax is applied in Indonesia. Respondents also agreed to reduce MBDK consumption if the MBDK excise was imposed by 20 percent.

"Regarding the allocation for the use of income derived from excise, we found that 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that the income generated from excise was used to improve health services in Indonesia," he said.

Causes of Cardiovascular and Stroke

Director of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (P2PTM) Ministry of Health dr. Elvieda Sariwati said that excessive consumption of sugar, salt, and fat or commonly called GGL can cause cardiovascular disease and stroke.

"Cardiovascular and stroke are closely related to the intake of sugar and fat that we consume every day," said Sariwati in the same online public discussion.

She added, that high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity occupy the top five risk factors that cause the burden of disease in the world. In addition, the largest health financing is also occupied by cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke.

"The largest financing is also on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke," she said.

Sariwati said 28.7 percent of the population consumed sugar, salt, and fat (GGL) exceeding the recommended consumption limit. "We see that the highest consumption of salt is 53.5 percent and of course, this should be a concern for all," she said.

Sariwati also explained the prevalence of obesity and overweight in children in the last 10 years had doubled. She said that excessive consumption of GGL in children was due to the high consumption of packaged liquid tea.

Sugary Drinks Tax

Therefore, she encourages the need for regulations to limit the circulation of packaged sweetened drinks (MBDK) through an excise tax on sweetened drinks. "I think we totally agree on how we can regulate or apply an excise tax on sweetened drinks," she said.

Sariwati said that the ease of getting sweetened beverage products in packaging is not enough to reduce the consumption of these drinks. "We tell people to stop, but we still love, we still provide (sweetened drinks)," she said.

Therefore, she encourages the imposition of excise on food products that have a high health risk. She stated that her agency together and the Ministry of Finance were drafting a Government Regulation to impose excise duty on MBDK.

She gave an example that 61.27 percent of the population over the age of three has a habit of consuming sweet drinks more than once a day. It also encourages the availability of foods and beverages with low sugar, salt, and fat (GGL) in schools and workplaces. H

She asked for support from all parties to accelerate the issuance of regulations related to sweetened beverage products in this package. "Indeed, our target from the Ministry of Finance is this year the regulation will be completed and next year it will be implemented at the latest," she said.

Tag # packaged sweet drinks # excise on packaged sweetened beverage products # sugary drinks tax # indonesia taxing sugary drinks # indonesia health

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