Toddy tapping from coconut and palmyrah trees has been brought under license with amendments proposed to Section 15 of the Excise Ordinance (Chapter 52) by the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.
Cabinet approval has been granted for this amendment, the Ministry said in a public announcement on Tuesday.
However on Sunday, the Business Times reported exclusively that new regulations have been promulgated banning the extraction of toddy from the coconut tree. The report quoted amendments to the Excise (Amendment) Act, No. of 2017 which comes into operation on January 1, 2018 as saying that, “(b) no tree producing toddy, other than kithul tree shall be tapped”.
The amendment further said, “no toddy shall be drawn or lowered from any tree other than the kithul tree.” There was no reference to a license in this notification last week..
Tuesday’s statement said that though the license is required for toddy tapping under the Excise Ordinance it was later amended in 2013 by exempting Kithul, Palmyrah and Coconut trees from the licensing system. With this, the Department of Excise had faced difficulties in monitoring the volume of liquor produced from toddy by distilleries for the purpose of collecting excise duty.
“According to the new amendment, no toddy shall be drawn or lowered from Coconut or Palmyrah trees without a license issued by the Dept. of Excise or by the respective Divisional Secretaries. However, toddy tapping from the Kithul tree has been exempted from the provision of the licensing requirement,” the media release said.