Local News from Sri Lanka: The Excise Department announced yesterday that the liquor licenses obtained during the years 2017 and 2018 will be subject to cancelation if procedural conditions under the Excise Ordinance have not been met.
This follows the initiative taken by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who gave Excise Commissioner-General H.G.Sumanasinghe two weeks to investigate and report back to him on how the Excise Department issued liquor permits without his permission in 2017 and 2018, a press release from the Finance Ministry said. The protocol so far followed in issuing liquor permits by the Excise Department was to obtain the permission of the subject minister or to advise the subject minister in this respect.
The Ministry communique reported that 10 new permits for liquor were issued by the Excise Department in 2017 and 74 new permits for liquor in 2018. However, as needed under the provisions of the Excise Ordinance, the Ministry said, the consent of the subject minister was not acquired nor was he notified of these new permit issuances. The subject minister has the authority under the Excise Ordinance to decide whether to issue, renew or cancel any permit or permit for liquor at any moment the minister chooses to do so.
The Ministry communication also adds that news reports released by certain electronic and print media that four fresh permits were granted by the Excise Department to set up distillery facilities are totally incorrect. The Commissioner-General reiterates that during this year there have been no such fresh licenses granted for distillery facilities.