President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance and Planning Minister will present Budget 2012 in Parliament tomorrow. The budget would be development-oriented with the aim of making Sri Lanka the “Wonder of Asia” by 2016, according to Government sources. This will be the 65th Budget to be presented since Independece. Budget 2012 will be the third Budget of the seventh Parliament. The Budget Estimates for 2012 will maintain the budget deficit at 6.2 percent of the GDP to ensure economic growth at 8 percent and the rate of annual inflation at 6 to 7 percent, Government sources told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
The total estimated expenditure for 2012 will be Rs. 2,220 billion, with an increase in Recurrent Expenditure from Rs. 1,029 billion in 2011 to Rs. 1,109 billion in 2012 and Capital Expenditure from Rs. 938 billion to Rs. 1,111 billion.
The total revenue will be Rs. 1,115 billion. Public Investment has increased from Rs. 453 billion in 2011 to Rs. 541 billion in 2012 to maintain the momentum in the growth rate of 8 percent.
According to the sources, the Government has laid emphasis on every sector in the Budget as it is development-oriented. Since Budget 2012 is aimed at economic development billions of rupees would be allocated for investment. Finance and Planning Ministry sources said the 2012 Budget has a series of proposals to help uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people and the development of the country as a whole.
The Budget will also introduce many fresh proposals and relief measures which would help increase the income level of people in the country.
Referring the salary increase for workers, the sources said that the President has granted 60-70 percent salary increases for public sector employees since 2005.
The Government had also taken steps to increase the number of public sector employees in the country to 1.2 million during this period.
According to the 2012 Appropriation Bill presented in Parliament by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne on October 18, the Government has allocated the highest amount, nearly Rs. 230 billion to the Defence and Urban Development Ministry.
The Appropriation Bill allocated Rs. 104 billion for the Economic Development Ministry, Rs. 124 billion for the Finance and Planning Ministry, over Rs. 144 billion for the Ports and Highways Ministry.
The allocations for the health and education sectors have been increased in the Bill. Over Rs. 73 billion has been allocated for the Health Ministry and Rs. 33 billion for the Education Ministry.
The sources said in preparing the Appropriation Bill, President Rajapaksa and Treasury officials had consulted each line Ministry and other stakeholders, mainly to formulate a realistic budget to divert resources for priority areas identified in the Mahinda Chinthana and phased out in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2012 – 2014. Priority has been given to complete ongoing development projects.
The debate on the Second Reading of the Budget will continue for seven days from November 22-30.
The Vote on the Second Reading will be on November 30 at 5.00pm.
The Committee stage debate will continue for 17 days from December 21. The Vote on the Third Reading is scheduled for December 21 at 5.00pm.
Source: Sunday Observer