New liquor levy not till November
The new excise duty structure on liquor involving taxes based on the declared price of foreign liquor is likely to be notified from November while that of country spirit will be notified next month.
The state excise department has prepared the necessary directive for the final consent of the state government. The directive also sets a minimum sales target for retailers failing which they could lose their licence.
In a meeting with the state officials on August 24, foreign liquor manufacturers had expressed their difficulties in formulating the ex-distillery price (EDP) in Bengal in a short notice with the state initially planning to implement the new structure from September.
The state excise department is also in favour of implementing an annual minimum guaranteed quantity of sale from retail vends of foreign liquor and country spirit. A concept under discussion, this will offer retailers incentives if they can cross the target. If they miss the target, action can be taken including the non-grant of license.
“This will be a double blow if implemented. Sales are not encouraging right now and the prices have been jacked up by additional duty. The new duty structure could push up the prices of some popular brands. In this situation if we fail to achieve the target, the licence could be lost,”said a city-based retailer.