Jan 24, 2021

14,000 liquor-serving outlets exempted from licence fee Featured

Hotels, restaurants and guesthouses have been exempted from paying the annual fee on liquor licences.The concession has been granted with no deadline set for the payment to resume, a senior Excise Department official said.

The waiver came after hotel owners made representations to the Excise Department and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), requesting the concession on the grounds that their businesses were severely affected by closures in view of COVID-19, the official told the Sunday Times.

The Excise Department had referred the matter to the Ministry of Finance which granted approval.

Three, four and five star hotels, boutique villas, heritage hotels and even those not approved by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will also be entitled to relief.

The Excise Department is projecting a revenue loss of Rs 400 million as a result of the concession.

More than 14,000 hotels, restaurants and clubs will be entitled to the concessions. They include hotels (6,712), restaurants serving liquor (6,534), boutique villas (865), beer bars (161), sports clubs (45) and guest houses (45).

The hotels had earlier told the SLTDA that the charging of the annual fee for liquor licences this year was unfair given that hotels had been closed for most of last year. They noted that the fee for renewing the licence was more than the revenue most hotels had earned throughout the entire duration of last year.