The Finance Ministry today claimed that there was no truth in the allegation made by Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena to the effect that this government has given approval to use rice as raw material for the production of alcohol.
While issuing a statement, the Ministry said it was in fact the approval to use rice for the production of alcohol was given by the previous government in 2006.
“This government has not given any approval to produce spirits making use of rice as a raw material to any distilleries. There are 14 distilleries in Sri Lanka and they use palmyra toddy, coconut toddy, molasses, maize and fruits to produce spirits. In 2006, the previous government had granted the approval to a liquor manufacturing company to produce spirits using rice as raw material. But, recently, in addition to rice, the particular company was granted permission to use maize as a raw material,” the statement said.
It further said, in the 2018 budget, it was proposed to levy excise duty on the raw materials used for the production of ethanol.
Accordingly, by the gazette extraordinary issued under the Excise Ordinance on November 9, 2017, a levy of Rs.5 to Rs.10 per litre has been imposed on the raw materials used for the production of spirits.