Closure of liquor shops for an extra day for Vesak

28 April 2023 06:25 am – 0      – 84

 

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A decision taken to close liquor shops for an extra day in addition to the two standard holidays for Vesak this year would cause a staggering loss of Rs.337 million per day as revenue to the government, the Department of Excise said yesterday.

The Department of Excise yesterday announced that countrywide liquor shops are ordered to be closed for Vesak festival on May 4th, 5th and 6th.

Unlike in the previous years where the liquor sales were prohibited on the two standard holidays on the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day and the Day Following Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, all liquor shops had been ordered to be closed for an additional day this year, which would be on May 4th.

When contacted a senior official of the Department of Excise told the Daily Mirror the decision has been taken at the Monday’s Cabinet meeting following a proposal made by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.

The Excise Department being one of the three chief revenue generating arms of the government would earn about Rs.117 billion per annum as revenue to the state. Out of the 365 days of a year 18 standard holidays are usually announced as ‘dry days’ by the Excise Department, on which the sale of booze is prohibited.

These special holidays are the 12 full moon poya days, the Independence Day, Day Before Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day, Day After Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, World Temperance Day and the Christmas Day.

However, except for the standard Vesak holidays on May 5th and 6th the government has ordered the May 4th also to be a dry day this year, the sources said.

Thus, the approximate loss of revenue per single additional day if the alcohol sales are prohibited would be Rs.337 million, which is a staggering amount, the senior official said.

When contacted, Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Somaratne Vidhanapathirana told the Daily Mirror the decision to close countrywide liquor shops for an additional day for Vesak has been taken in the Cabinet meeting and he is unaware of the reason for that. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)

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