Commissioner General of Excise M.G. Gunasiri said some liquor licence holders are opposed to issuing liquor licences to supermarkets, because it affects their demand.

He said individuals with excise licences are creating a monopoly in the liquor market, inconveniencing consumers. He said while some licensed liquor store owners commit wrongdoing related to the liquor trade, such acts do not occur in supermarkets.

Therefore, Gunasiri said the Excise Department supports issuing liquor licences to supermarkets.

He was speaking during a Media briefing held on Monday (13) at Excise Department Headquarters.

Further, the Commissioner General said licences to sell liquor to supermarkets are issued in accordance with legal protocol. He was responding to a question from the Media about allegations made recently by the Liquor Licensing Association against the Excise Department regarding the issuance of liquor licences to supermarkets.

He denied the allegations and threatened legal action against them.

Gunasiri added that some liquor licence owners claim that Excise Department-approved liquor bottles are filled with illegal liquor and alcohol was being adulterated. He said the initiative launched to combat these dishonest acts had been successful, increasing his department’s revenue by 17 per cent.

He said excise revenue of Rs 121 billion in 2020 could be increased to Rs 140 billion in 2021, but that expected profits could be reduced in 2022 due to the present crisis.

There are approximately 1,200 licensed liquor stores islandwide, and the decrease in the number of licensed liquor stores in some parts of the country is increasing demand for illicit liquor.

By Thameenah Razeek