COVID crisis pushes down liquor revenue by 51%

Panaji: The excise revenue collection has plunged 51 per cent in the first quarter of 2020-21 in Goa, as there has been a huge decline in demand for beer, Indian made foreign liquor, wine and Feni due to the COVID crisis. 

The state earned Rs 45.47 crore from excise on liquor in the April-June 2020 quarter compared to Rs 93.19 crore in the corresponding months of 2019, a  senior government official told ‘The Navhind Times’ on Wednesday.

The plunge in excise revenue collection is on the back of state liquor shops being under lockdown in April. 

However, the liquor trade saw easing of lockdown restrictions from May 4.

President of the All Goa Liquor Traders Association   Dattaprasad Naik attributed the decline in the liquor revenue to the slump in the tourism sector.

“The demand for liquor is tourism centric, and until tourism sector takes off and the local economy improves the consumption will not pick up,” he explained.

Naik maintained that liquor retailers are not even doing 10 per cent of the business they did in the pre-COVID pandemic days, claiming that retailers are taking a huge loss in the beer segment as the six-month shelf life on beers is expiring this month.

“Most of the local liquor retailers and dealers are facing huge losses on beers as they had purchased the beer stock in January on which the expiry date is the July-end,” Naik said.  

Several companies are offering buy-one-get-one free on beers but despite that dealers will end up with unsold stock, he said.

April and May are peak months for beer sales in the state but due to the pandemic the government lost out on excise revenue. 

The state depends on excise collection from liquor as a major source of revenue.

In 2019-20, the government earned Rs 487.69 crore from excise on liquor, recording an increase of 2 per cent over the previous year’s collection.

The government has set an excise target of Rs 548 crore for the current year.