Excise Department to muster Rs. 180 bn from liquor sales | Daily News

Excise Department to muster Rs. 180 bn from liquor sales

Commissioner General of Excise  J. Gunasiri
Commissioner General of Excise J. Gunasiri

The Department of Excise will net in a Rs. 180 billion revenue to the government treasury for 2022 said Commissioner General of Excise J. Gunasiri.

He said that despite the C-19 pandemic the department was able to provide Rs. 140 billion to the government last year and they were expecting to pass the Rs. 200 billion revenue mark this year but due to fuel issues resulting from the lack of raw material (ethanol) in transport the target had to be reduced. Drop in tourism also had a check on our profits.

Gunasiri said that the introduction of a sticker to each bottle at the point of production has allowed the department to increase revenue to the department as no company could issue stocks to individuals without paying the excise duty. In addition, regular raids carried out by offices have

also helped to swell our revenue. He however said that their officers are unable to curtail the rising ‘illegal drug’ sales which is reducing the sale of spirits.

“The excise act is over 100 years old and we need to urgently change this to meet the current requirements.” Currently Sri Lanka’s ‘beer’ brings in the highest export revenue around USD 22 million per year by exporting to 35 countries. He said that soon the Department of Excise will invest in a laboratory which will help them to have their own quality controls. “Armed with this we hope to issue an internationally accepted quality certificate which will also help to export more ‘hard liquor’ products and bring in more foreign exchange.” The Palmyrah Development Board is now in the process of reopening the Tikkam Distillery in the North and this will allow palmyrah based products to be exported as well. He also paid a growing tribute to the government

for imposing a import ban on ethanol which resulted in the local manufactures increasing their production and totally halting imports.

“This has also given a saving for manufactures. We have also observed that there is demand today as export product and we hope to introduce quality controls from our new laboratory to promote it as a export product.” Asked to comment on the move to issue ‘soft liquor license ‘to the hotels and restaurants engaged in the leisure sector he said that this was a good move as similar practices are done in Europe and popular tourist destinations in Asia as well.


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