Panaji: The liquor traders in the State on Saturday demanded that the state government should stop giving any more licences to the retail sale of liquor in the state as the industry has reached a saturation point.
All Goa Liquor Traders’ Association President Dattaprasad Naik also said if the taxation proposed by Pramod Sawant led government in its recent budget is not withdrawn, the entire industry would collapse.
Speaking on Prime TV’s daily program “Prime Encounter”, Naik said that 2,000 licences for retail sale of liquor which are already granted for a population of 15 lakh in Goa is enough to suffice the requirement in the state.
“There is no space for more outlets in the state. The state government should stop giving fresh licences for next three years,” he said.
Naik stated that besides 2,000 retail outlets, there are 8,000-10,000 bars which sell liquor across the state.
He claimed that the liquor trading industry is increasing slipping out of hands of Goans due to faulty policies of the state government.
Pointing out that former chief minister Manohar Parrikar had amended State Excise Act making it mandatory for the fresh licence holder to have 25 year domicile certificate, Naik said that the rule should also be implemented during annual renewal of licences.
“When licences are taken up for renewal annually, the rule of 25 year of domicile in Goa should be made compulsory so as to weed out increasing take over of the industry by non-Goans,” he said.
Naik admitted that several Goan traders have “illegally” leased out their premises to non-Goans. “This was the trade which was exclusively with Goans, but slowly, its slipping out of hand. Now, 75 per cent of the people in this trade are Goans,” he commented.
Naik also said that the state government’s recent taxation proposed in the Budget will result in “collapse of the industry.”
“If you see the statistics, only 20 per cent of the liquor sold in Goa is consumed locally while rest 80 per cent is carried back home by tourists,” he said.
“The rate benefit that is offered by Goa on liquor, vanishes on many brands with the proposed taxation,” said Naik, who had met chief minister Pramod Sawant this week.
Sawant has assured to ‘rethink’ on the proposed tax on liquor.
Naik said that the slabs for low priced alcohol, which are proposed in the budget, should be revised while there should be status-quo on high-end liquor.
The association has also demanded that Goan brew ‘feni’ should be completely exempted from the tax on its MRP, which has been proposed in the budget.