ADIC warns of 2024 Budget implications on alcohol and cannabis industries
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) has expressed its concerns on the 2024 Budget and implications on alcohol and cannabis industries.
According to the data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, every 8 out of 10 deaths in Sri Lanka are categorised as preventable deaths.
Tobacco and alcohol use have been identified as two major risk factors which are responsible for these preventable deaths, where approximately 40-50 deaths per day occur due to alcohol use.
Currently, alcohol is clearly a large burden to the country’s economy. In the year 2022, the excise revenue from alcohol tax was Rs. 165.2 billion.
Yet, the ‘Investment Case for Alcohol Control in Sri Lanka’, conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that the health and economic loss incurred on the Government due to alcohol use is Rs. 237 billion.
Moreover, the citizens of our country spend Rs. 590 million per day on beer and arrack and Rs. 380 million per day on cigarettes, which results in a large overall economic burden.
Amidst this situation, a massive amount of money that can be earned as tax revenue to the Government from alcohol and tobacco companies is being lost due to the lack of a rational tax policy for alcohol and tobacco products.
In addition, many people are being faced with various health issues resulting from the usage of substances such as cannabis.
As recognised by the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists, several consequences of cannabis use include; adverse impact on cognitive functions of youth, increased risk of mental illnesses, and effects on the neuro development of the foetus.
In the 2024 Budget, many recommendations were presented that will likely lead to an increase in the initiation rate of alcohol use, and a rise in alcohol consumption and related consequences among the public, ADIC claimed.
It raises significant concern on the fact that the Government appointed a parliamentary committee to eradicate the drug issue in the country, while the 2024 Budget includes several proposals to increase the availability and overall usage of alcohol. H
However, the Government is hiding behind the claim that these proposals are aimed at reducing the prevalence of illicit alcohol, ADIC added.