Jul 31, 2019

Sale of imported liquor without foolproof sticker banned

Liquor of foreign brands now cannot be sold within the country without the new foolproof ‘EDSL’ sticker introduced recently by the Excise Department, officials said yesterday. Since the formal announcement by a Gazette Extraordinary of June 20th, the Excise Department has banned the sale of all brands of imported liquor without the new foolproof ‘EDSL’ sticker.

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 20, Department officials said.

Under its first phase, this regulation has been implemented on imported foreign liquors effective from July 20. The new controls will shortly be also extended to foreign liquors that are manufactured here.

This foolproof sticker system which guarantees brand authenticity will later be extended to local liquor as well. Thereafter all kinds of liquor local or foreign should have the special sticker on all bottles and cans.

There are 23 institutions which import liquor to this country. Hereafter, they cannot release their imported stocks of foreign liquor to the market without fixing the foolproof sticker issued by the Excise Department. The two firms that import liquor for sale at duty free shops at entry points are now required affix the Department sticker on such bottles and cans before they are cleared from the Customs bonded warehouses. 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 the special sticker on them.

This new regulation is part of the Excise Department’s efforts to prevent smuggling of foreign liquor in to the country. Additionally, it will attempt to shield consumers from the sale of substandard liquor and adulterated liquor by retailers or wholesalers. 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 Excise Department hopes to raise its revenue earnings by this new regulation while ensuring that the customers could 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 consumers to verify the authenticity of the special sticker that is affixed to every bottle and can they buy in future. 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 have been appointed to take any decision for any alteration of the appearance and texture of this special sticker.

The Department of Excise expects its revenue to reach Rs.130 billion in 2019.

The income of the Department in 2016 was Rs.120 billion. Commissioner General of Excise, H.G.Sumanasinghe told news media that the revenue of the Department for this year has so far exceeded Rs.67 billion.