Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that Finance Ministry should increase the taxes on imported food containing excessive sugar, salt and oil to control rapid spread of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Sri Lanka.

He brought this proposal addressing the ceremony to celebrate the World Heart Day at the BMICH, Colombo. He also added that 30 percent of Sri Lankan deaths are due to heart diseases and annually, 6,000 Sri Lankans die from heart diseases. “All those diseases are caused because of the taste. Smoking and alcohol are still major requirements for some people,” he added.

According to Minister Senaratne, it is the duty of the Ministry’s NCD Unit to formulate a plan to reduce the NCDs to 65 percent within the next five years and the required funds will be allocated for this purpose by the Minister. “The Education Ministry should educate the people on the negative impacts of smoking, alcohol and unhealthy food trends, while the Sports Ministry should promote physical activities,” he said.

Minister Senaratne also pointed out that the Agricultural Ministry should cultivate green leaves and offer the products to the public at a concessionary prices. The physical fitness of public servants’ should be taken in to consideration when granting them promotions.