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Govt. says no licence issued for rice liquor production


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  • Finance Ministry says licence was issued under Rajapaksa administration, rejects allegations

 The Finance Ministry yesterday said licence to use rice as a raw material to manufacture liquor was issued by the previous Government under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and rejected allegations that any such steps were taken by the current administration.  

“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 palmyrah toddy, coconut toddy, molasses, maize, and fruits to produce spirits,” a statement released by the Finance Ministry said. The Finance Ministry said that in 2006, the previous Government had given approval to one liquor manufacturing company to produce spirits using rice as a raw material. But, recently, in addition to rice, the particular company was granted permission to use maize as a raw material, it added. Budget 2018 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 9 November, a levy of Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 per litre has been imposed on the raw materials used for the production of spirits. “There is no truth in the allegation made by MP Bandula Gunawardena to the effect that this Government has given approval to use rice as a raw material for the production of alcohol. It is in fact the approval to use rice for the production of alcohol was given by the previous Government in 2006,” the statement noted.


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