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JVP irate over non-collection of taxes from distillery company

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A distillery company linked to Perpetual Treasuries head Arjun Aloysius has skipped paying tax money estimated at Rs. 50.6 million, the Opposition held yesterday in Parliament.

JVP lawmaker Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa, joining the Committee Stage Program of Budget 2019, held that the Ministry of Finance has failed to collect the respective excise tax from the distillery in question for over four years.

Demanding to know what prevents the Government from collecting the dues from the distillery, the JVP lawmaker charged the Government for not taking action, despite several rounds of investigations being conducted on the distillery and the excise tax due.

In response, the State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne held that no special favouritism applies on Arjun Aloysius and his distillery. “There could be legal reasons for not collecting the tax. Government do struggle to collect tax from businesses. No special treatment for Aloysius,” he confirmed.

However, the JVP lawmaker, bringing up a recent toddy tapping permit issuance to the limelight, held the Excise Department was sought for a proposal to get a toddy tapping permit for 70,000 coconut trees in Beruwala. “Six MPs and Ministers have influenced the Excise Department to issue the permit. Of those 70,000 trees, the permit for 38,000 trees had been sought by a company belonging to Arjun Aloysius. As per the recommendations of the Coconut Development Board, only 69 trees are permitted in a single acre. So, 70,000 trees mean it is a land over 1000 acres,” he said.

“Only 1 ½ litre of toddy can be tapped per day from a tree. This is actually an attempt to produce artificial toddy using the permit. Knowing this, the Excise Department has stopped issuing the permit,” added Dr. Jayatissa. (AH)



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