No 100 percent tax waivers given to Beer Company: Finance Ministry

Finance-ministry

Oct 04, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry says there is no truth that a beer manufacturing company has been given concessions for imports which would result in a revenue loss of 6 billion rupees to the state.

In a statement the ministry said a beer manufacturing company in the country which was fully affected by the recent flood has been provided the opportunity to import beer with taxes and other levies applicable to that of locally produced beer.

Full statement is reproduced below.

A Beer manufacturing company in the country which was fully affected by the recent flood has been provided the opportunity to import beer with taxes and other levies applicable to that of locally produced beer. There is no truth in the reports that was spread that this manufacturing company has been given concession for imports which would making a revenue loss of Rs 6 billion to the state.

The manufacturing plant and machineries of the M/s Lion Brewery Company at Biyagama was completely damaged due to the recent flood in the area. This company which pays excise and other levies of over Rs 25 billion annually to the government had made a request to the treasury for a tax concession for up to a period of three months until the new plant and machineries are installed for it to commence its normal production.

This company was manufacturing beer locally which was subject to an excise duty of Rs 190 per litre for alcohol volume less than 5 percent and Rs 315 per litre for alcohol volume more than 5 percent. Their annual production exceeds 106 million litre and the amount of taxes paid to the Treasury in 2015 was Rs 25.7 billion.

Since their manufacturing plant was fully destroyed they were unable to manufacture beer locally and they could not afford to import and sell the goods at the current market price given the fact that the import duties alone exceed the market price. The company had made a request for a waiver on excise duty and other levies to import consignment required for a period of three months. As of now the all inclusive levies for import of Beer exceeds Rs 700 per litre in addition to CIF cost of Rs 100 per litre. Accordingly, the import cost will exceed the market price compelling the company to give up the production. This will also make revenue loss to the government to the tune of over Rs 5 billion within the period of three months if the company is unable to maintain its market share.

Therefore considering all these facets the government in order to match the market price, permitted the company to import beer, required for a period of three months and impose taxes and other levies equal to that of locally manufactured beer at the point of importation instead of import taxes and other levies. Therefore there is no truth in the news to the effect that the company has been given import concessions and a loss of revenue incurred to the government.