Rs. 40 b revenue generating liquor sticker delayed further

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A foolproof liquor labelling system proposed by the authorities a couple of years ago that was finally set to come into effect this month has again been postponed further, The Morning Business learns.

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Speaking to us, Excise Department Deputy Commissioner for Supply Chain Regulation and IT R.M. Rathnayake stated that the implementation of a sticker system for local liquor products has been postponed until August, despite the previously decided date of implementation being this month.

He said: “Both the digital print and the sticker are anticipated to be commenced by 15 August onwards for local products.” 

According to the Excise Department, this Sticker Management System Project has been decided to be implemented for all imported and local liquor products, and it consists of two main components – the sticker and the sticker management system.

The sticker is a paper-based, self-adhesive label intended to be affixed on alcohol packages such as bottles, tetra packs, cans, and kegs. The sticker management system, on the other hand, is a web portal that can be used by the manufacturer of a particular alcohol product in replacement of the sticker, and allows management of the manufacturer’s inventory with the Excise Department. 

“Certain companies have requested the typical adhesive label, and other alcohol producers have requested the digital inventory management system,” Rathnayake said, implying that the Excise Department is bound to provide either the foolproof sticker or the digital sticker, as per the requirement of the local alcohol manufacturer in question.

Further explaining this sticker management system, he said that a Quick Response Code (QR Code) would be printed on alcohol product packages for which a sticker cannot be pasted, due to the fact that certain companies have a level of mass production that renders the typical sticker method impractical. 

Accordingly, the management solution basically prevents products being duplicated by manufacturers, protects genuine importers, ensures taxes are paid while managing the tax system, and ensures consumer protection from counterfeit products.

Rathnayake said: “There is also an app for this digital management system, through which it can be identified whether the product is authentic.” Thus, the mobile app shows the consumer whether the product they are about to purchase is original or duplicated. 

The delay in implementing this initiative has taken place due to Covid-19, said the Deputy Commissioner. He elaborated that the officers of the Indian company assigned in this regard were infected with Covid-19. Thereafter, flights were halted for Indian nationals due to the identified Indian variant of the virus, while the equipment that would be used for this process needed to be brought to the country as well.

The Government expects to gain an excise tax revenue of  Rs. 40 billion per annum under this sticker system, as it contributes in tackling the non-payment of tax on alcohol products.

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