The Tea Board is planning to slap on an addition one rupee cess on made teas, to bridge the gap with its increasing budgets.

The Tea Board is planning to slap on an addition one rupee cess on made teas, to bridge the gap with its increasing budgets. The Tea Board is planning to slap on an addition one rupee cess on made teas, to bridge the gap with its increasing budgets.

However, initial indications from the industry has been negative, Sri Lanka Tea Board Charman Niraj De Mel told Lanka Business Online on Tuesday.

A Rs. 2.50 cess is currently slapped on every kilo of made teas, with the monies going to fund the Tea Board, the Tea Research Institute (TRI) and over half of it going back to the private sector for brand promotion.

In 2003, with tea production just short of 300 million kilos, the cess brought in less than Rs. 750 million.

De Mel says the current cess intake is not adequate to support the budgets of the Tea Board, the TRI and to carry out viable brand promotions internationally.

The initial budget for 2004 alone, De Mel says exceeded Rs. 900 million, with a revised budget still around Rs. 850 million.

A final decision on revising the cess will be made after formally consulting with sector stakeholders and the Ministry.

The cess on made tea was last revised up by fifty Sri Lankan cents, back in 1998.

-LBO Newsdesk: lboemail@vanguardlanka.com