A report presented by the Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Government income for the first quarter of 2017 records tax based collection of Rs. 415 billion amounting to 95% of the total income of Rs. 236 billion.
According to cabinet decision briefing notes released to the media Government first quarter income is 22% of the total estimated target for the financial year. However the collection has only reached 94% of the target income for the first quarter.
The cabinet paper presented by the Finance Ministry has noted that the income from Value added Tax and Nation Building tax has exceeded target amount while income tax collection has fallen short of target. The briefing note highlights that income from excise duty imposed on alcohol and cigarettes has dropped during the first quarter.
Last week Minister Samaraweera proposed to relax laws on liquor sales including lifting the ban on poya day sales. Speaking in Parliament during the a debate on the notifications made under Excise Ordinance the Minister argued that consumption of illicit liquor goes up when duty on liquor is increased. The Minister presented a Notification to reduce the distillery license fee from Rs.100 million to Rs 1 million. A proposal in Budget 2016, the distillery license fee was increased from Rs 100,000 to Rs.100 million and the license fee for liquor manufacturing was upped from Rs.50,000 to Rs.50 million.
Proposing to promote a switch from hard liquor to beer and wine to address the high percentage of illegal liquor consumption in the country, the minister said that banning liquor sales on Christmas day hurts tourism industry.