The Government had to forego a staggering sum of Rs.784 million, in terms of tax revenue because the Department of Excise permitted thousands of litres of Ethanol to be sold to both the state and the private sector to manufacture Covid-19 disinfectants this year so far, as warranted by the global outbreak of the pandemic.
A senior official of the monitoring body of the Department of Excise told the Daily Mirror that a sum of 1.2 million (1,277,652) litres of Ethanol and Technical Alcohol (Methanol), which were sold to the state and private sector for the production of disinfectants had been subjected to the tax waiver.
The official said the tax waiver was implemented on two categories where the tax on Ethanol was completely waived off when it was being sold to state ministries, health authorities, departments and the three forces, whilst a nominal tax was imposed on the Ethanol being sold to state and private sector companies.
Excise Department statistics show, since the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic started to report from Sri Lanka, 181,632 litres of Ethanol sold to state sector ministries and three forces had been completely waived-off of tax, which is Rs.700 per litre.
Likewise, 16,800 litres of tax-free Ethanol had been sold to Sri Lanka Police and the Police Special Task Force, 13,182 litres to the three forces, 44,020 liters to health authorities and 107,680 litres to State Ministries and Departments.
However, a nominal tax of Rs.100 per litre had been imposed on 1.09 million (1,096,020) litres of Ethanol sold to public and private sector companies. Likewise, 520,000 litres of Ethanol had been sold to public companies and 576,020 litres of Ethanol with a nominal tax had been sold to private sector companies, the statistics showed.
The official said all these Ethanol had been sold by licensed ethanol trading companies in the country and some directly purchased from the two state sugar manufacturing mills.
The government introduced a control price for Ethanol being sold within the country, which is Rs.500 per litre and another sum of Rs.700 adds up to it as the Excise tax during regular times.
Edible Ethanol, which is strong in alcohol volume, is usually mixed with Technical Alcohol or Denatured Spirits (Methanol) which are used for industrial chemical production purposes less in strength.
The official said although numerous kinds of disinfectants or sanitisers are available in the market, the effective ones to fight the Covid-19 virus should be made with the following key ingredients of Ethanol, Technical Alcohol, water, glycerin and artificial colouring. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)