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Government lost Rs. 27 bn in excise revenue – Excise Chief

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The Government has lost Rs.27 billion in excise revenue this year due to the current COVID situation, Excise Commissioner General M. J. Gunasiri told the Committee meeting on Public Accounts (COPA) held recently. The Commissioner General told the committee that although the expected revenue of the Excise Department this year is Rs.160 billion, it was difficult to achieve it in the current situation.

He stated the above at the COPA Committee held to inquire into the Auditor General’s Report for the year 2019 and the current performance of the Excise Department Under the Chairmanship of Prof. Tissa Vitharana, the Parliament Communication Division said.

Although the Excise Department, the Customs Department and the Inland Revenue Department had made recommendations at a COPA Committee meeting in 2019 to set up a computer system that would be interconnected, the Committee discussed at length that it had not yet been implemented.

While the Committee also emphasized the need to implement a computer software system to correct the process of calculating Excise Revenue of the Department, attention was also drawn to the fact that the project has not been implemented properly despite the allocation made by the Budget and Supplements for 2016 to 2018.The Director General of Excise informed the committee that work has already begun to install a computer system. The Committee directed the Excise Commissioner General to submit to the COPA Committee the time frame for the installation of this computer system with a defined plan before November 5.Delays in the provision of safety stickers for liquor bottles and liquor related products and the delay in the development of a secure sticker management system were also discussed at this meeting to increase Government revenue. Excise officials said that the process had been delayed due to factors such as the need to implement digital technology by major manufacturing companies and the prevailing COVID situation. The Chairman of the COPA Committee instructed the officials of the Excise Department to expedite this process.

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