Sri Lanka President re-orders discriminatory ban on women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had ordered the finance ministry to re-impose a discriminatory decades old ban on selling liquor to women, reversing a process of giving females equal status in society.

"I have ordered the finance ministry to immediately halt the circular permitting the sale of alcohol to women and extending the opening time of alcohol sales outlets from 8.00 to 10.00 pm," President Sirisena had said in a speech in Agalawatte.

Sri Lanka’s male-dominant society has placed the discriminatory restriction on women in 1979, ironically according to reports, as the country moved to end many trade and economic controls and protectionism that had pushed up unemployment to 20 percent.

While ordering the re-imposition of the discriminatory ban on women, President Sirisena had ironically claimed that he was committed to building a society based on democracy, freedom, justice and good behaviour.

Liberty advocates say Sri Lanka’s constitution is lacking in absolute guarantees of equality, which would make it impossible for the elected ruling class to impose discriminatory controls or laws on society.

Sri Lanka’s rulers had also encouraged the consumption of hard liquor by keeping taxes on beer un-necessarily high.

President Sirisena also opposed the reduction of beer taxes.

The current administration had displayed a tendency to use its coercive powers in interventionist style to re-engineer society.

Taxes on tobacco and alcohol have been raised to prohibitive levels, encouraging smuggling and moonshine industries.

The current budget slapped a tax on sugary drinks, following a dangerously interventionist trend that has started in Europe. (Colombo/Jan15/2018)





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