ECONOMYNEXT – The government’s Excise Department has an outstanding LKR2.3bn to collect over the past five years, Parliament’s Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) was told yesterday.
A statement issued by Parliament yesterday said that on 07th December that the revenue outstanding to be collected by the Excise Department LKR. 2376.2 million by December 2019.
The total amount of tax arrears due to the Excise Department for more than 05 years is Rs. 479.9 million, by 31 December 2019 and its delay charges alone was Rs. 1896.3 million.
COPA Chair Prof Tissa Vitharana ordered immediate action to recover the dues and officials said legal measures are being taken to recover the funds.
The Committee found that the Excise Department had conducted 224,737 raids on illegal activities during the last 5 years, out of which 53,848 raids were carried out in 2017, 49278 raids in 2018 and 47391 raids in 2019 and that legal action has been taken against those allegedly responsible.
Vitharana drew attention to the fact that disciplinary inquiries regarding 48 officers who were suspended due to various reasons in the Excise Department as at 31st December 2019, have not been completed properly even though three years have elapsed.
The Chairman of the Committee instructed that the legal proceedings be completed expeditiously and the activities of the Excise Department be maintained efficiently. The Chairman further emphasized that necessary steps should be taken to fill the vacancies of senior and tertiary level posts in a proper manner which directly affects the mission of the Department and to submit a report on the current progress of these matters.
The Committee also paid special attention to the fact that the security sticker management process with a procurement cost of Rs. 1,597,559 by November 2020 was limited to imported liquor which was only 0.28% of the total revenue of the Excise Department. The Committee stressed that it is an essential program for the standardization of local liquor as well.
The Committee was chaired by Vitarana attended by State Ministers Dayasiri Jayasekara, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Shehan Semasinghe, and Members Tissa Attanayake, Dr Upul Galappaththi, Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance S.R Attygalle, Commissioner General of Excise A. Bodaragama and other officials.
(Colombo, December 9, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana