At a meeting of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) chaired by MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa recently, it was revealed that the demand for liquor has decreased by about 30 per cent due to the recent price hike on liquor and the decrease in the income of the people.
This was disclosed by officials representing several institutions who were contacted online to discuss plans to increase government revenue and their current status. Accordingly, officials representing the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies, the Inland Revenue Department, the Sri Lanka Excise Department and the Sri Lanka Customs were contacted.
Officials said there were several problems encountered by the Sri Lanka Excise Department to achieve the target revenue due to the limited quantity of ethanol available for production of liquor and limited quantity of fuel including diesel that has hampered their distribution network. They also pointed out that the demand for alcohol has decreased by about 30 per cent due to the recent increase in its price and the overall economic hardship faced by the people. It was also mentioned that due to the ‘sudden price hike’ there is a tendency for an increase in the production of illicit liquor. The expected revenue of the Inland Revenue Department and its current situation were also discussed.
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa who was also present discussed how to change tax policies and improve tax administration. A detailed discussion was held on the estimated year-end revenue by the Excise Department. Minister Nalin Fernando, MPs Dr. Harsha de Silva, Anupa Pasqual and Kavinda Jayawardana also participated.