Soft liquor ‘stats’ Rajitha criticizes Mangala

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By 2017-11-14

Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday (13) criticized Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera's budget proposal to reduce the taxes imposed on soft liquor, saying that the statistics Samaraweera had used wqere quoted out of context.

During the debate on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill, Senaratne said that only 10 per cent of alcohol users in Sri Lanka consumed moonshine.

"Minister Samaraweera claimed that 49 per cent of alcohol users consumed moonshine. But I should say that his statistics is not true. According to the statistics I have, only 10 per cent of alcohol users consume moonshine," Senaratne stated.

Furthermore, he said that the number of Sri Lankan moonshine consumers is reducing as a result of the collaborative effect of the Police and other authorities.

He noted, "Alcohol is one of the main reasons for road accidents and suicide attempts happening in Sri Lanka. Also it should be taken into the account that the culture related to alcohol in Western countries is highly different to the culture in Asia. In the West, alcohol is a part of their food culture. But in Asia, the context is different. Because of these reasons we cannot take decisions on alcohol based on statistics in Western countries."

If we allow soft liquor like beer to enter into the market at a cheap price, it will be a motivation for youngsters to consume alcohol, Senaratne claimed. Therefore, I cannot accept the decision of the Minister of Finance to reduce the prices of soft liquor, he added.

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