130 Billion loss made by misbehaved excise officers !
The government is losing 130 billion rupees due to the misbehaviour of certain officials of the Excise department, says the Liquor Licensees Association.
It was further revealed that the government only obtains roughly 170 billion rupees in tax revenue yearly despite having the potential to receive 300 billion rupees in annual tax revenue from the alcohol industry.
According to the reports of the Excise Department, the excise revenue in the months of January and February 2022 was 28.6 million rupees and excise revenue in the months of January and February this year is 25.1 million rupees. Accordingly, the association said that the excise revenue has decreased by 12.2% this year (2023).
Prasanna Withanage, the chief organizer, highlights that despite the production cost of a bottle of alcohol is 294 rupees, its maximum retail price reaches 2340 rupees. He further emphasizes that a significant portion of that amount should ideally contribute to the government as tax revenue. However, due to the involvement of crooked businessmen utilizing illegal practices to conduct their operations, this expected revenue cannot be obtained.
He further claimed that, due to the increase in the price of a bottle, the trade of alcohol has decreased significantly and the majority of the people have become accustomed to the use of illegal alcohol which is not legal.
According to the Media spokesman of the association, Dallas Fernando, as the liquor business has suffered a severe collapse, an independent tax commission should be appointed immediately to regulate the excise department.
Even though Banerjea alcohol raised the excise duty on liquor by 20 per cent, the overall excise revenue has fallen as the sale of legal liquor has declined, they point out.
Additionally, they claim that this tax revenue is decreasing due to the increase in the sale of illegal alcohol due to the increase in the price of alcohol. According to a survey by the World Health Organization, the use of illegal alcohol in Sri Lanka has increased by about 300%.
Ajith Udugama, President of the Liquor Licensing Association, Secretary Chaminda Kuruppuarachchi, Chief Organizer, Prasanna Vithanage, Media Spokesman Dallas Fernando Dravida, Tamil Media Spokesman T.Dharmendra Raj, President of the Matara branch, Supun Abhayakon and Gayan Navaratne participated in this event.