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Excise license fee revision on hold until President’s return

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State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has stated that a final decision on the revision of annual excise license fees will be made after further discussions, following objections from liquor distillers and associations.

He also mentioned that a conclusive decision will be taken following President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s return from Switzerland.

The government had previously decided to revise the Annual Excise License fees effective from January 12 this year and an Excise Ordinance was issued by the President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies.

Several license fees, including Distillery License, Toddy bottling, vinegar manufacturing, and annual Wholesale License for liquor, have been subject to adjustments, while the annual license fee for night clubs has been reduced.

The Distillery License fee, excluding Palmyrah arrack, was increased from Rs. 1 million to Rs. 25 million, and the License fee for Palmyrah arrack increased from Rs. 250,000 to Rs. 5 million.

Additionally, the License fee for bottling Toddy saw an increase from Rs. 1 million to Rs. 10 million, while the license fee for manufacturing vinegar went up from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 2.5 million.

The annual Wholesale License for liquor was hiked from Rs. 1 million to Rs. 5 million. However, the annual license fee for night clubs was decreased from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 250,000.

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Fuel price revision likely tonight?

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A fuel price revision is likely to take place tonight (04), as per sources.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) stated that although the fuel price was slated to be revised at the end of February, the price revision will possibly take place today.

The CPC amends the fuel prices monthly as per the pricing formula. Accordingly, the prices were last revised on January 31, where the prices of octane 92 petrol, octane 95 petrol, super diesel and kerosene were increased.

Against this backdrop, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an Extraordinary Gazette declaring all services connected to the supply of electricity and the supply or distribution of petroleum products and fuel as essential services with effect from 03 March 2024. 

Accordingly, the proclamation states that the services specified have been declared as Essential Public Service considering it necessary that the services provided by any Public Corporation or Government Department or Local Authority or Co-operative Society or any branch thereof being a Department or Corporation or Local Authority or Co-operative Society, which is engaged in provision of the services specified, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted.

In the meantime, the Fuel Distributors’ Association alleges that the CPC has taken steps to incur a usage fee of 35% of the monthly rebate amount received by the fuel distributors. President of the association Shelton Fernando claimed that through this action, it will not be possible for them to even meet the daily expenses for the distribution activities.(adaderana.lk)

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94th Battle of the Maroons ends in a draw (Pics)

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The 94th Battle of the Maroons between Ananda and Nalanda concluded in a draw at SSC grounds. 

Despite the draw, Ananda secured a first innings lead, having declared their first innings at 286 for 9 wickets in response to Nalanda’s first innings total of 277 for 8 wickets, which was declared on the first day.

In the second innings, Nalanda, batting at 120 for 3 wickets, maintained a cautious approach, and the match ended without either team pursuing a more aggressive strategy in their first innings.

Ananda’s all-rounder Kithma Withanaparhirana played a notable innings, scoring 76 runs in 92 balls with 11 fours and a six on the second day. 

However, the team fell short of a century, with number three batter Dinada Athalage contributing a significant knock of 71 runs in 165 balls with 9 fours.

Despite the draw, the match witnessed commendable performances from key players, with Nalanda skipper Sajitha Vithanage earning the Man of the Match award for his unbeaten century.

Both teams showcased sportsmanship in the annual encounter, and Nalanda retained the N.M. Perera Trophy, presented by former Nalandian legend Stanley Jayasinghe. 

The trophy has been a symbol of the prestigious Battle of the Maroons series.

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Term tests for Western province suspended

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The term tests for grade 10 and 11 in the Western province schools has been postponed after some of the question papers were shared on social media ahead of the examination.

A senior official said that the decision had been taken after complaints that several question papers had been leaked out before the examinations.

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