End to ethanol tax evasion boosts Excise income by 120%

Friday, 20 March 2015 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent Stringent measures adopted by the Government have increased the Year Over Year excise income by 120% from Rs.3 billion to Rs.7 billion, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in Parliament yesterday revealing that there were tax violations in liquor production and the import of ethanol that were allowed during the Rajapaksa regime. “There are four Parliament members who own such distilleries and they continued production without paying the excise tax. With President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe prohibiting such tax violations, we were able to report an increase in excise tax income,” said Minister Karunanayake in response to a question raised by Opposition lawmaker Anura Dissanayake. Digging deeper into the issue of ethanol importation, Dissanayake said: “A few companies import ethanol for their distilleries. Former Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers and their wives own some of these companies. Most importantly, taxes were avoided by using the ethanol imported for perfumes for distilleries,” he said. According to Minister Karunanayake 158,581,975,250 litres of ethanol were imported in 2014 for the manufacture of perfume. In 2013 the ethanol imported for manufacturing perfume stood at 136,577,603,090. “If all these ethanol imports were used for perfume manufacturing, 20 million Sri Lankans should be able to bathe in perfume on a daily basis,” MP Dissanayake stated.