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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2061

“Beer is the gateway to other drugs,” - Dr. Kithalawaarachchi

By Manjari Peiris
Colombo, 16 November, (Asiantribune.com):

“I must emphasize the fact that beer is the gateway to other drugs and that there is no connection between tourism and alcohol use whatsoever,” asserted Dr. Samanatha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi.

He was countering the move the Minister of Finance who came forward to relax excise duty on canned beer.

Earlier, Minister of Finance and Media, Mangala Samaraweera responding to a question raised by JVP MP Sunil Handunnettti on the proposal to remove the Excise (Special Provisions) Duty applicable to canned beer, said that drinking beer is healthier than drinking sweetened soft drinks.

He further said that in many countries - 80 percent - drink beer and only a small percentage drink hard liquor. He mentioned that the situation in SL is the reverse and around 84 percent use hard liquor. His opinion was that nothing wrong in using beer.

The Minister also has stated that a recent survey conducted by the University of Colombo had proven that moonshine is one of the gravest problems in Sri Lanka. According to the survey, 49 percent of alcohol consumers are addicted to moonshine; hence the Minister was of the opinion that the public including the youth should be rescued from illicit liquor use such as moonshine.

Dr. Samanatha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi, Director of the Presidential Task Force on Tobacco/Alcohol and Other Drugs which is being directly functioned and monitored by the President of Sri Lanka vehemently condemned the budgetary move to reduce tax on soft liquor beer and to reduce its price.

He said it is very strange that the Finance Minister is promoting use of beer when the President of the government is firmly decided and trying his utmost to prevent tobacco and alcohol use in the country.

"We are working very close with the Police and the Divisional Secretariats of the entire country in regard to use of ‘kassippu’ use and we get records of them every three months. According to these observations, it is very clear that the usage of kassippu has significantly come down.

Also, I must emphasize the fact that beer is the gateway to other drugs and that there is no connection between tourism and alcohol use whatsoever.

Tourists visit a country for sightseeing only but not for drinking beer or hard drugs."

Affirming that they would not let the move to be implemented, Dr. Kithalawaarachchi said , "We have seen what harm such moves have wrought in other countries. Therefore, we will not allow such atmosphere to be perpetrated here," he added.

- Asian Tribune -

“Beer is the gateway to other drugs,” - Dr. Kithalawaarachchi
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