Now, women can purchase alcohol in Sri Lanka: Government lifts ban on alcohol sales to women

Colombo, Jan 11: Sri Lanka has lifted a ban on selling alcohol to women and prohibiting women from working in places where alcohol is manufactured or sold, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Mass Media and Finance said on Thursday.

While the previous law was not always strictly enforced, many Sri Lankan women have welcomed the change.

Women took to social media to thank the government for its decision.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera signed an excise notification gazette extraordinary under the Excise Ordinance revoking the ban, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Amended the schedule in the Excise Notification No.666 of the Gazette Extraordinary of 1979 to now allow females over 18 years to purchase alcohol legally and also to be employed in licensed premises without prior approval from Excise Commissioner,” Samaraweera said.

According to a Sri Lankan law passed in the early 1950s, any alcoholic drink could not be sold to women and they were not allowed to work in any alcoholic manufacturing outlets or retail stores.

Under the new law, women will no longer require the approval of the Excise Commissioner in order to work or drink “in licensed premises”, including restaurants.

In Sri Lanka, a majority of women traditionally choose not to drink alcohol as they see it as contrary to Sri Lankan culture.

However, in 2016, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who runs an anti-alcohol campaign in the country, said that alcohol consumption among Sri Lankan women had increased “drastically” in recent years.

“We all are aware that drug abuse has become a pressing national issue,” he said at the time.

(With Inputs From Agencies)

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