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NDDCB opposes Excise-related Budget proposals

NDDCB opposes Excise-related Budget proposals

21 Nov 2023 | BY Sahan Tennekoon

  • Urges extensive stakeholder talks  
  • Notes that NDDCB is blamed whenever there is a hike in islandwide drug cases 


In the wake of several proposals being submitted by the Budget for 2024, to increase the Excise revenue, the National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB) stated that intensive stakeholder consultation is required before making such crucial changes.

Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (20), the NDDCB Chairman Shakya Nanayakkara said that the Government should not take any decision that could be harmful to citizens even though the Government’s revenue should be increased. He also claimed that most proposals presented by this Budget regarding the strategies of increasing the Excise revenue, are perplexing, and that many of those proposals will have bad effects. “Actually, we don’t have a mandate to work on Excise-related productions. But, liquor is the gateway to many other dangerous drugs. Therefore, we have some kind of responsibility to look into this matter. When looking at many proposals included in this Budget, we cannot either accept or endorse them,” he said. 

He further noted that the Finance Ministry and the other line institutions should consult the NDDCB and the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol before making such decisions. He also said that they have raised this issue several times during Parliamentary committee meetings also. “Even though everyone looks at the revenue increase, it is the NDDCB which is blamed at the end for the high number of drug related cases reported from all over the Island. Therefore, the authorities must be very attentive when making decisions which directly affect the interconnected social issues,” he said.

Presenting the Budget 2024, President and Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed a tax administration system for the Excise Department, encompassing the implementation of an online licencing system for a more consumer-friendly and efficient regulatory environment, the evaluation of the safety features and the introduction of a new Excise permit system.

Those policy proposals for the Excise Department in the Budget include the establishment of Sri Lanka Standardisation for maintaining the liquor quality, adjusting the licence fees based on the current demand, promoting investment in new alcohol products for foreign markets, permitting the sale of selected locally produced liquor in duty free shops and implementing the revenue administration system for the Excise Department by October 2024. 

Several attempts made to contact the State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya proved futile. 



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