Commissioner General of Excise A. Bodaragama said on Monday there were no actions or efforts being made to grant a new licence for the manufacture of alcoholic products.
Last week, SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana stated in Parliament that steps were hurriedly underway to grant a new licence to an unnamed producer.
However, Bodaragama refuted this comment and said no such licence was being issued and this could not be done without the knowledge of the Finance Minister and relevant officials.
Questions were also raised with regard to the alleged Rs. 80 billion lost annually by Government due to inefficiencies at the Department of Excise.
Bodaragama said that there was a degree of leakage, adding this was normal in any institution, but stated it wasn’t to the tune of Rs. 80 billion. He remarked that an intelligence unit had been established at the Department to strengthen operations.
Excise officials also revealed that steps were underway to introduce Compulsory Deposit Systems for purchases of glass bottles to combat littering. The Excise Department said the majority of bottles purchased in Sri Lanka were 180ml arrack flasks, which were often found dumped by roadsides.
They noted, however, that up to 80% of new bottles manufactured overall were now recollected by producers who had now put in place more effective mechanisms. Action was still underway together with the Ministry of Environment, CEA and local governments to strengthen collections, they said.
“The Compulsory Deposit value needs to be discussed with manufacturers and distributors. Beer cans are already being collected by manufacturers and have given rise to new industries and opportunities,” the Excise Department added.