Dec 10, Colombo: The impact of the imposition of the Tobacco and Alcohol Act on Sri Lanka's upward trend in alcohol consumption is yet to be measured. But ironically, the alcohol that the government wants to oust from society has become a source of considerable income for government coffers.
The excise tax this year has passed last year's tax income of Rs. 16.1 billion, reaching 17 billion within the first ten months. Excise tax income was just over six billion at the beginning of the new millennium.
Sri Lankans consumed over 37 million litres of hard liquor and 39 million litres of soft liquor within the first ten months of this year, according to Excise Department figures.
Sri Lankan illicit liquor brewers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers together paid more than Rs. 90 million to the government in fines within the first ten months of the year. They were apprehended in more than 43,500 roundups launched by the Sri Lanka Police and the Excise Department.
Despite the Tobacco and Alcohol Act, Sri Lankans this year are to pass easily the figures from last year, when officials made 45,993 detections, collecting 91.22 million rupees in fines from illicit liquor and over one million rupees in fines from drugs.
According to Excise Department statistics, Sri Lankansí consumption of alcohol has increased rapidly over the past several years.
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