Budget 2017 will benefit all: Finance Minister

Ravi Karunanayake

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will present the third budget of the national unity government in Parliament tomorrow.

This will be the 70th Budget of an independent Sri Lanka.

Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said Budget 2017 would be a pro-growth budget that will focus on fixing the deficiencies of the last several years.

“It will be a real overview and will overlook all of the sectors of the economy that is beneficial to the people in the short run and long run,” the minister said in summary.

The minister said the economy he inherited was not easy to manage because of public debt exceeding Rs 9.9 trillion, in addition to a Rs. 1.2 trillion debt off the balance sheet.

However, with strict financial discipline, the government will be able to reduce the budget deficit, he said.

Minister Karunanayake said that the government was targetting a fiscal deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2020. He said the government had planned to reduce it to 4.7 percent the next year from a targeted 5.4 Percent in 2016.

The value of the GDP has increased to Rs. 11,183 Billion (US$ 82.3 ) in 2015 from Rs. 6,414 Billion (US$ 56.7B) in 2010, the Government Information Department said.

It said Sri Lanka’s expenditure chain had included a sizeable portion to social welfare and subsidies, and that next year’s budget would allocate around Rs. 380 billion to welfare and subsidies.

Once the Budget is presented in the Parliament tomorrow, the debate on the second reading and the committee stage will continue till December 10.

(Daily News)