July 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said he has instructed the relevant sections to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) on cigarettes and completely remove the private hospital charges from the tax.
President Sirisena made this announcement addressing the 104th anniversary ceremony of the Sri Lanka Temperance Council held at BMICH on Saturday (23).
Speaking at the event, President Sirisena stressed that he will take every possible measure to protect future generations from tobacco and drugs that destroy human life.
The President said he has given instructions at the National Security Council to establish special units in the Army, Navy, and Air Force as well as in Special Forces and intelligence Services, in addition to police and the Excise Authority to obtain information on illegal drugs and conduct raids.
He said strengthening the Treasury with the money from the tobacco and alcohol sales is not the current government's policy but building a healthy nation with healthy people free from the ill effects of drinking and smoking is the government's goal.
A special list of proposals prepared by the Temperance Movement based on the organization's own studies and information emerged from the seminars and discussions with other drug prevention and rehabilitation organizations, was presented to the President at the event.
Chairman of the Temperance Council and chief Prelate of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samaggri Dharma Maha Sabha Ven. Ittepane Dhammalankara Thera and Maha Sangha and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera also participated in the event.