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Five leading manufacturers seek licences to produce more brands of booze

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No business like liquor trade even during deadly pandemic

By Saman Indrajith

Controversy surrounds attempts by five leading liquor manufacturing companies in the country to secure new liquor producing licences, while the country is reeling from the effects of the deadly pandemic, Excise Trade Union sources say.

Five leading hard liquor manufacturing companies had applied for licences to produce new brews including wine and cider and the main regulatory body the Department of Excise had forwarded them to the Ministry of Finance for approval, union sources said.  

Excise Commissioner General M.J. Gunasena told the media over the weekend that although they had received applications for liquor production licences from five well-known manufacturers, they had not yet decided to issue permits.

The trade union leader said that even the Ministry of Finance had considered completing the ground work to process the licence applications for these liquor giants.

Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana made this revelation a fortnight ago about these attempts by the government to grant more liquor manufacturing licenses to several companies.

According to statistics tabled by the SJB MP in the House, Sri Lanka has about 24 licence holders producing liquor. However, the data showed that only five of these 24 companies are contributing 95% to the tax income generated from the country’s entire liquor industry.

The rest of the 19 producers either do not make ample profits or evade paying tax by not maintaining proper books.

Excise Spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Kapila Kumarasinghe or Secretary to the Ministry of Finance were not immediately available for comment.

 

 



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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