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Fool-proof liquor sticker improves income of Excise Dept by Rs. 10 billion

The Excise Department revenue has increased by Rs. 10 billion, as a result of the new fool-proof sticker initiated in July, Acting Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday.

“Although the consumption of alcohol has decreased by 20% to 30% due to the increase in the cost of living, about 65% of the expected excise revenue for this year has been achieved,” he said during an inspection visit to the Excise Department yesterday, whilst appreciating officials for their efforts taken to achieve the set targets amidst challenging economic situations.

The Excise Department warned that licenses of liquor traders who fail to comply with the relevant regulations of the fool-proof sticker scheme under the Excise Notification No. 01/2021, will be cancelled.

The fool-proof liquor sticker on locally manufactured alcohol was first proposed last year to be made mandatory from 1 January due to strong industry protests, it was pushed from 1 April to 1 July.

Noting that raising State revenue is a matter which should be done very carefully, he said the taxes must only be collected from the groups that are legally liable to pay tax and evade their responsibilities.

“We all know that there are many people who are legally liable to pay taxes but are not paying them. There are multiple factors for why we collect taxes. Some of the taxes have a broader social philosophy that goes beyond tax revenue.

Given the high taxes as well as the health disadvantages, we are expecting a drop in alcohol consumption in the future. No matter how much income you get, it will never be promoted,” Siyambalapitiya said.

He pointed out that of over 6.8 million families, 1.7 million families are dependent on Samurdhi, whilst 2.6 million are waiting for it.

“Therefore 90% food inflation is a concerning situation compared to the overall picture,” he added. Generally, the Government receives around 75% of the tax on alcohol and about 65% to 75% tax on cigarettes.

“All parties and Opposition parties in the Parliament have personally suggested increasing the tax on alcohol and cigarettes to 90%,” he added.

Minister Siyambalapitiya also said they were exploring how palmyra coconut and palm industries could be improved to a level of exports.Excise Commissioner General M.J. Gunasiri and a group of senior officials also participated.

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