Sale of foreign liquor without new Excise Dept. sticker banned

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The Excise Department has banned the sale of all brands of imported liquor without the new foolproof sticker introduced recently by the Department.

Accordingly, the possession, transportation, storing and the sale of imported liquor is illegal unless this new sticker is affixed on containers of foreign liquor.

The Excise Notice No: 4/2019 which was published under Gazette Extraordinary No: 2128/30 issued by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera in this regard under the Excise Ordinance on June 20, 2019, has been in force effective July 20th.

Accordingly, under the first phase, this regulation has been implemented on imported liquor (effective July 20th) and, it will be extended to foreign liquor that is manufactured here and local liquor as well in the near future. Thereafter all kinds of liquor local or foreign should have the special sticker which is introduced recently by the Excise Department on such bottles and cans.

There are 23 institutions that import liquor to this country.  Hereinafter, they should not release their imported stocks of foreign liquor to the market without fixing the foolproof sticker on such bottles or cans of liquor issued by the Excise Department.

There are two firms that import liquor for the duty-free shops at the Airport and this special sticker should be pasted on such bottles of liquor imported by these two companies before they are cleared from the Customs bonded warehouses.

The imported liquor will generally be sold at the Duty-Free shopping complex at the Sri Lanka Airport. Accordingly, in the future, any liquor which is liable for Excise duty could not be possessed, stored or sold at these Duty-Free shops without pasting the special sticker on them.

This new regulation would strive to prevent smuggling foreign liquor to the country and, the new measures would stop selling substandard liquor and adulterated liquor to the customers hereinafter.

There are 23 licensed alcohol manufacturing factories and 14 spirit distillery plants in Sri Lanka. At the same time, there are over 4000 licensed liquor sales outlets throughout the country. The income of the Excise Department would further be increased by the introduction of this new regulation and, it is ensured that the customers buy standard varieties of liquor which are produced under hygienic conditions and approved criteria.

The Excise Department will introduce a new Mobile Phone App soon to enable the consumers to verify the authenticity of the special sticker that is coming on every bottle they are going to buy hereinafter.  This special sticker is printed by a foreign company in a foolproof manner. A special committee comprising representatives from the Treasury, the Excise Department, and the Sri Lanka Customs has been appointed if it is required to alter the appearance and texture of this special sticker.

When this new sticker is introduced to foreign as well as local liquor alcohol, the Department of Excise expects to further increase its revenue. Its projection of income to be generated in 2019 is Rs.130 billion. The income of the department in 2016 was only Rs.120 billion.

Meanwhile, Commissioner General of the Excise Department, H.G. Sumanasinghe said that the revenue of the department has in 2019 so far exceeded Rs.67 billion.