Importation of Ethanol into the country is made by liquor manufacturing firms under the supervision of the excise department based on its usage for the manufacture of liquor. Sri Lanka has number of liquor manufacturing firms and their usage of ethanol is constantly being supervised by the officers of the Excise Dept who are attached to respective firms. Accordingly, issuing of ethanol licences by the Import and Export Controller General on the recommendation of the Commissioner General of Excise Dept is a day to day administrative process and the Government or the Minister of Finance has no direct relevance to it.
The ex-President had recently said that the Finance Minister has told Parliament that the Yahapalana government has issued 28 fresh licences to import ethanol into the country. This statement by him who is also a former Finance Minister is misleading and its a distortion of facts.
In the year 2014 the Controller General of Imports and Exports, on the recommendation of Excise Dept had issued 104 ethanol licences to liquor manufacturing companies whereby 15 million Liters of ethanol had been imported in to the country. Ethanol is also imported by Universities and the other industrial sectors for Research and industrial purposes. Accordingly in the first six months of the year 54 ethanol licences have been issued by the authorities of which only 38 licences were for the liquor manufacturers and others were issued to various other industries and universities.
During the past regime due to the nepotism and cronyism corruption was rampant and the henchmen were allowed to import ethanol in an illegal manner depriving the government of its due revenue. As a result the monthly revenue from ethanol imports was mere 3400 million rupees during the last year.
The Minister of Finance said that since the new government under the policy of good governance brought an end to the corruption and nepotism, the government’s monthly revenue from the ethanol import went up by three fold to Rs 9500 million by March 2015.
"All these years this money which was due to the state by way of tax collection was siphoned off by the henchmen of the previous regime who plundered the wealth of the State thus depriving the govt. of its due revenue" Finance Minister said.
The Minister further said that since the government revenue is on the increase now, the government has been able to allocate more money for the well being of the masses and the development activities