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Liquor licences: Future SJB Govt. will only suspend the newly issued

Liquor licences: Future SJB Govt. will only suspend the newly issued

17 May 2024 | BY Sahan Tennekoon

A future Government of the incumbent main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), will suspend all the newly-issued liquor licences but will not hold issuing licences completely as claimed by the media, said the SJB National Organiser and Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake.

Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (16), Attanayake also said that the SJB’s stance on the excise sector has been completely misinterpreted by certain parties, especially on social media platforms. He said that the SJB’s intention is to prevent soliciting bribes for MPs and other individuals under the guise of issuing new excise licences to boost revenue. 

He also noted that many who receive these licences would sell them to a third party, and that therefore, this would not have any positive impact on the country’s economy at all. He also said that a future SJB Government would streamline the liquor licence issuing process and issue licences only according to the existing laws. 

When questioned as to whether any SJB MP has also received such licences from the Government and what action would be taken if so, Attanayake said that as the Party’s National Organiser, he is not aware of any such MPs, claiming that the Party would look into the matter in the days to come.

He made these remarks in the midst of certain media reports being circulated that the SJB is going to close down liquor shops in the future. However, SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that all the controversial licences issued for wine stores and liquor outlets recently, will be cancelled under a SJB-led Government. Stating that there is a need for a temperance movement in the country, he said that liquor licences will only be issued in a systematic manner, focused on the development of the tourism sector.

The Commissioner General of Excise M.J. Gunasiri was unavailable for comment.

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