Beer tax: Rajitha to demand revisit

27 November 2017 07:20 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said he would submit a report to the Cabinet tomorrow (28) demanding a revisit to the tax reduction on beer by the budget 2018 as the facts and figures quoted in the budget proposals justifying the tax reduction on beer were factually incorrect.

Minister Senaratne, who is also a Co-Cabinet Spokesman stressed that there was no evidence to prove that beer consumption would reduce the consumption of hard liquor and sale of illicit liquor like kasippu.

He also said that the Colombo University had not done a study on the issue as quoted in the budget speech.

Minister Senaratne said the kasippu consumption according to available statistics was less than 6% among alcohol users in Sri Lanka and not 49% as quoted from the Dunusinghe’s study.

He also added he would demand a withdrawal of the tax reduction on beer from the budget proposals.

In the budget speech, it was stated that 49% of alcohol users in Sri Lanka consume illicit alcohol quoting a research (sic) reportedly carried out by the Colombo University.

But the University says it has not published any report to that effect, as mentioned by the Minister of Finance.

“After the Alcohol and Drug Information Center (ADIC) contacted the author of the referred article Mr. Priyanga Dunusinghe, a lecturer at the Department of Economics, he had admitted that it was his personal research and not a research conducted by the University,” Minister Senaratne added.

“I will try to convince my Cabinet colleagues that it is unwise and illogical to make tax proposals based on incorrect statistics and private studies.

“Besides, the Yahapalana Government and President Maithripala Sirisena are committed to putting an end to the use of tobacco and alcohol in Sri Lanka. That is why this Government, the Health Ministry and President Sirisena get accolades and honours from all over the world for our efforts to control the use of tobacco and alcohol.

“The sharp reduction of tax on beer does not help our objective. I urge the Government, therefore, to withdraw the tax reduction on beer,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ADIC in a statement said that it was pathetic that Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a senior Cabinet Member quoting a personal research as a research of the University of Colombo and other Senior Cabinet Ministers repeating the same facts clueless.

“The aforesaid research has not yet been published in any scientific journal, report or presented in any accepted conference. The Finance Minister has justified his arguments on reducing beer prices based on the publication of this study paper in a two Sinhala and English newspapers just before the budget speech on November 9 in Parliament,” the ADIC said.

“The next most important fact is that the research is not conducted using primary data, which is the most suitable approach to finding the prevalence and trends in alcohol use in a country. But this study was done analysing secondary data from Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES), where he has made an assumption of poor, manual labourers and farmers, who use alcohol, drink only kasippu.

“According to the published facts, all low-income households, farmers and labourers in the country use alcohol, assumed to use kasippu, generalising 49% of the population who use alcohol in the country are kasippu users.

“If this is true, 195,965,246 litres (195 mn) of kasippu should be locally produced. (In 2015, annual total production quantities of alcohol companies include- 112, 092, 935 litres of beer, 63,072,311 litres of arrack. This is not practical at all,” it said.

“The most amusing fact is the using the of this particular research in policy reforms, when there are numerous scientifically proved research findings, revealing facts contradicting the facts of this article,” the ADIC said in its statement. (Sandun A Jayasekera)

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  Comments - 24

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  • nick Monday, 27 November 2017 07:09 AM

    isnt it more businss for u when these bebaddos get sick needed more medical attention which can bring u commission via DM Android App

    nisansala Monday, 27 November 2017 02:15 PM

    rate lamai gana thithala beer mila wadi karanna.

    Rasika Monday, 27 November 2017 02:21 PM

    Definitely reduction of tax on beer will increase the more and more problems in families, in comunities and as well as in our country.govenrment should withdraw the tax reduction on beer if they really concern on health nutrition education economy and happiness of the people in Sri Lanka.

    Freddy Yong Tuesday, 28 November 2017 01:53 PM

    Nisansala Nangi - adu kalath, wadi kalath bona aka bonawa. So lets just say 'what the hell' have a beer, shall we.

    Unchikun Monday, 27 November 2017 07:52 AM

    In civilized countries, it is common to have a beer or wine at meal time. I think you should revisit "Moonshine".

    sampath Monday, 27 November 2017 02:17 PM

    It’s disgusting to see the comments made by beer industry which appear as general public.

    Kadiya Monday, 27 November 2017 07:47 PM

    True Unchikun, but the problem is that beer has not been banned, you can still guzzle a beer at the old price!

    sathees Monday, 27 November 2017 08:07 AM

    Anyone is against the beer tax deduction is to be investigated for any connection with Bond scam King!

    newta Monday, 27 November 2017 11:39 AM

    Financial mismanagement is a norm in Siri-Lankan governnentssss....FMs have prepared good budgets sipping cool beer. ex:Ronni,GL,CBK...

    shey Monday, 27 November 2017 03:35 PM

    Vise versa people who are supporting beer tax reduction must be from " Beer Industry "

    Ravi Monday, 27 November 2017 08:37 AM

    Are you the president of this country ? You better resolve your ministry issues first with out interfering other ministry issues.Reduction in beer and wines definitely a good move for the tourism sector.

    venu Monday, 27 November 2017 02:34 PM

    do we want to increase availability of wine and beer for the 2 million tourist ? without considering 21 million people... the policies should formulated for majority not thinking of minority like tourist

    Dee117 Monday, 27 November 2017 09:30 AM

    I think the fact that cardiac surgeons at the NHSL have stopped doing heart surgeries at the hospital because of its poor state, and that it can cause infections to patients, is a far more important and pertinent issue to the minister of health. This is all eyewash.

    Lord Wolfstein Monday, 27 November 2017 10:06 AM

    In this country a huge amount of Kasippu is produced mostly with the support of politicians. These now fear for their benefice after the beer tax cut. If only 6% of alcohol consumers drink Kassipu, then everyone have to drink at least 100,000 liters a year.

    kingBarnet@pakisland.lk Monday, 27 November 2017 10:38 AM

    Preventive idea that no research can prove. Pity no preventive measures for financial management of the Siri Lankan governmentsssssssssssssssss.......................

    Jamalji Monday, 27 November 2017 10:54 AM

    Being a person who was convicted over a govt.property and had not brought up his children well should not suggest a matter that would bring more harm to country. Please visit taverns and restaurant after 6 pm. Addicts are seen in licit dens. He does not want the long life of Sri Lankans.

    Sambo Monday, 27 November 2017 10:57 AM

    I just cant understand what's happening in this country. Who Rajitha to revise the price of beer and wine which was decided in the 2018 budget. Why are we opening hotels instead convert all these to "BAWANA" centres. Forget tourism. What about stopping the corruption in this country. It's worse than cancer. You people to close your nakedness bring these types of subjects.

    MP Monday, 27 November 2017 11:31 AM

    First of all why don't you take against private hospital laboratories charging huge fees for lab tests? You are always saying that you would look into the matter, but it never happens. Talk only - no action!

    Sachin Seneviratne Monday, 27 November 2017 11:39 AM

    We can see from media daily how many liters of Kassippu raided by police Then How it could be 6% . as Mr Lord Wolfstein said.Then Mr.R.S. is entertaining Kassippu producers Isn't It

    Venu Monday, 27 November 2017 02:40 PM

    the Tax reduction of beer was not proceeded based on scientific data. Ministry of finance not consider the existing purchasing power and inflation to formulate this policy. this is totally manipulated by beer industry. reflects beer industry necessary from this budget proposal.

    patriot Monday, 27 November 2017 03:13 PM

    More kasippu more illicit income.

    TJ Monday, 27 November 2017 06:14 PM

    Not only for beer, even the taxes on wine should be reduced. Srilanka is the most expensive place to consume wine.

    Nana Tuesday, 28 November 2017 09:31 AM

    Then they will drink Liquor and get Drunk (Unlike Beer with it not usually get drunk, unless consume 3 Bottles)

    Nana Tuesday, 28 November 2017 09:38 AM

    Cheap Beer always make hard Liquor


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