Consumer rights groups will be writing to President Maithripala Sirisena demanding that he provide reasons for as to why Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC was granted significant duty waivers to import beer.

The said relief in relation to the Customs import duty levy was granted by the Ministry of Finance in view of the company’s local factory being completely inundated a couple of months back due to the floods. The beer is thus imported now from several Asian countries at the rate of excise duty charged from local manufacturers.

The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) opined that they completely opposed and vehemently condemned the granting of such a duty waiver.
Chairman of the NMCRP, Ranjith Vithanage said that the provision of such a duty waiver was not only unfair to others but would also place an additional burden on the consumer.
If the duty waiver is continued to be given there will be a huge loss incurred by the Government, he pointed out.

“Previously, the Government even imposed Value Added Tax on roasted bread and bypass surgeries. MPs are provided with tax relief on their vehicles. On the other hand, betting and gaming centre bookkeepers do not pay tax to the Department of Inland Revenue. Elsewhere, we have also lodged a complaint at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption regarding the palm oil racket,” he noted.

Chief Executive Officer, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC, Suresh Shah was not available for comment.