Minister of Finance Mangala Samaaweera last week said in Parliament that Sri Lanka needs to relook at the country’s existing liquor laws, especially pertaining to beer and wine.
In that regard he had proposed making beer and wine more accessible by making laws regarding those beverages more lenient as a counter-measure to discourage people from opting for illicit or hard liquors which are considered harmful.
It is reported that Samaraweera’s proposal would curb the illicit liquor trade in Sri Lanka which is rampant, amounting to over 60% of the total liquor consumption.
Accordingly, the objective of the exercise would be to encourage the consumers in the illicit category to shift to consuming beer which is a relatively healthier option as it is produced in keeping with proper standards as opposed to ‘moonshine’ or toddy which are the most common alternatives.
Experts also pointed out that the suggestion by the minister to not close liquor outlets on poya days and Christmas could be deemed progressive in a sense it aligns with the government’s vision to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.