New Liquor Licenses issued Only Based on Population and Tourism


Minister of State for Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya announced that new liquor licenses in the country will be issued based on factors such as population and tourist arrivals. This statement was made in response to reporters' questions regarding allegations that the government plans to transfer 55 of the 100 liquor licenses owned by Sathosa to other companies.

Minister Siyambalapitiya said  that the process of collecting taxes from liquor establishments has never been more systematic. He denied claims that the government intends to redistribute Sathosa's liquor licenses, stating that these licenses cannot be leased out even if requested.

The minister also highlighted measures to control the production of illegal liquor and the importance of consulting the Divisional Secretary and Police before issuing licenses in any area. He assured that no licenses would be granted in areas with reasonable objections.

Addressing historical data, he noted that in 2003, alcohol prices rose by 108% due to tax increases. He reiterated the government's commitment to reducing both illicit alcohol production and legal alcohol consumption, rejecting allegations of favoritism in the issuance of liquor licenses.

Minister Siyambalapitiya stated that the annual fee for all liquor licenses has been increased tenfold, with the current fee for the 'RB 04' permit set at Rs. 15 million.