Parliament approved amendments to the Excise Ordnance on Thursday prohibiting the tapping of coconut and palmyrah trees without obtaining licences and allowed tapping only the kithul tree for toddy without a licence.
The new law will come into effect from 1 April 2018.
Moving to the second reading debate on the Bill, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne held that the Government was committed to reducing the use of alcohol every step of the way, making use of issuing licences.
“We will monitor toddy production and control it making use of this new licence. But we need to clarify that the Government is not trying to popularise or increase the use of alcohol by giving licences,” he said.
According to the WHO Status Report on Alcohol, the per person use of spirit, which stood at 2.2 litres between 2003 and 2005, increased to 3.7 litres from 2008-2010.