Govt. will do its best to eradicate drug menace: President

Published : 8:50 am  September 23, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Sandun A Jayasekera
President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday the government would make every effort to eradicate the drug menace even if it meant the strengthening of the existing laws relating to drugs and tobacco use.

He said the government would create an environment to allow Excise Officers to operate with confidence in the areas of drug and illicit liquor control with confidence and enforce the powers vested in them without fear or favour.

The President said this when addressing the 64th anniversary celebrations of the Association of Chief Excise Inspectors and Excise Guards held at the New Town Hall, Colombo yesterday.

He said we have a weakness in our society in not admiring people who do a great service to the country. “The new Government will implement a programme to encourage and admire officials like Excise Inspectors who render a valuable service to society,” the President said.

“The objective of the new government is to maintain the proper functioning of state institutions like the Excise Department, the Department of Inland Revenue and the Sri Lanka Customs, which generate a huge income to the State in a corruption free and transparent manner,” the President said.

The President said his government which was committed to the eradication of drugs would not include the revenue collected from the alcohol trade by the Department of Excise as state revenue in the annual budget and requested Excise Officers to fulfil their duties in a satisfactory manner to safeguard our future generations from the drug menace and build a healthy nation.

“We all know the duties and functions of the Excise Department. The total revenue from excise tax was Rs.3,400 million in 2014 but in the first nine months of 2015 alone it has risen to Rs.9,600 million — an increase of more than Rs.6,000 million last year. This is alarming and exposes the amount of alcohol Sri Lankans consumed in the first nine months of this year. If our target is to discourage, control or reduce the consumption of alcohol, we must find the factors behind the excessive consumption of alcohol by Sri Lankans,” President Sirisena emphasized. “The consumption of alcohol has evolved down the ages. All religions preach against alcoholism and teach the negative effects of excessive use of alcohol. Humans have consumed alcohol from the pre-historic times. There are two types of drugs and alcohol in every country which are legal and illegal drugs and alcohol.