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Govt assured to rethink on proposed tax on liquor

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Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday assured to ‘rethink’ on his government’s proposed hike on the liquor taxes in the state, after meeting the delegation of traders.

Sawant told reporters on Tuesday evening that he will be ‘rethinking’ on his proposal to hike taxes on liquor as proposed in the State Budget.

He had presented budget on February 6 which had proposed hike in the excise tax on various liquor brands including locally brewed feni. The proposal had evoked strong reaction.

All Goa Liquor Traders’ Association had met chief minister on Tuesday evening with the demand to restructure the taxes as some brands of the liquor were costing more in Goa compared to the other states.

Sawant said that the government is also considering to exempt tax on feni in the state.

Meanwhile, All Goa Liquor Traders’ Association President Dattaprasad Naik told reporters after meeting the chief minister that the government has also assured to exempt local brew ‘feni’ from the proposed taxes.

“With the imposition of proposed excise tax, some brands would have cost more in Goa compared to 75 per cent of other states,” Naik said.

He said that the chief minister was explained about the impact of proposed tax on the industry. “Chief minister has assured us to restructure the taxes in a way that will also help government to earn revenue and also won’t hike the price of liquor,” he stated.

Naik said that the chief minister has also assured to exempt ‘feni’ and ‘wine’ from the purview of the taxes.

Feni is brewed from cashew or coconut and is notified as heritage drink by Goa government.

Speaking further, Naik said that the state government’s proposed taxes would have increased the alcohol prices by almost eight percent in certain brands and “not upto 50 per cent as claimed in section of media.”

Sawant in the budget tabled on February 6 on the floor of the House had proposed taxes on liquor to mop up the revenue.

Several political parties including Goa Forward Party had expressed their oppose for imposition of tax on the liquor, specially Feni.

GFP has threatened to agitate against the price hike on Feni, if it is not withdrawn before Carnival festivities are over. The carnival will be celebrated in Goa from February 22 to 25.

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