By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday slammed the government saying the latter is planning to issue two special licenses for the mass production of liquor through unlawful means and not following the Excise law.
JVP Central Committee Member Wasantha Samarasinghe addressing a media briefing said that they have information on how the government is planning to sell two special liquor licenses for the large scale distilling of alcoholic beverages.
Samarasinghe said out of the two licenses, one would be granted to a person known to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the other to an entrepreneur, who is already in the liquor importing industry.
By giving away Excise license for mass scale liquor production without following a proper procedure could lead to a huge tax revenue loss from these businesses in the future, as the Excise Department has already incurred a loss of Rs.2.3 billion last year. The secondly mentioned entrepreneur presently owns a plant where he bottles the imported liquor to sell in the local market and possesses a license for the facility. But with the new license, the businessman could even start manufacturing his own liquor in the country and gain huge profits, Samarasinghe said.
The Excise Department has thus far issued 25 liquor manufacturing licenses in the country and only five of those companies would generate 95% of the department’s tax revenue to the government per annum, whilst the rest generate only 5% of the tax money.