The government has incurred a revenue loss in excess of Rs.100 million from ethanol imported illegally into the country, the Ministry of Finance has revealed.

On Friday, the ministry stated that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has instructed authorities to initiate measures to recover from the relevant parties, losses incurred by the government as a result of importing ethanol illegally to the country.

The revenue loss for the government from ethanol imported illegally to the country and confiscated by the customs has exceeded Rs.100 million, it noted.

During 2013 and 2014, the number of liters of ethanol imported to the country in this manner was a staggering 1.39 million, the ministry further revealed.

Most of the ethanol stocks have been imported to the country from Thailand via Vietnam. The ethanol stocks had been imported after citing them as ‘chemicals,’ resulting in the revenue loss. The two illegal importers have been identified as Jayalath Pieris and M. Sashitharan.

According to the ministry, the Customs suspects that these two have on previous occasions too may have imported stocks of ethanol disguising them as chemicals.  There are only 27 licensed importers of ethanol in the country. The Excise Department states that 1, 35, 47,481 liters of ethanol had been legally imported to the country in 2013 to manufacture alcohol.