President to unveil UPFA govt’s eighth budget

Sri Lanka Parliament

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will present Independent Sri Lanka’s 66th budget in Parliament today.

President Rajapaksa who assumed office as the fifth Executive President on November 17, 2005, presented his first budget the same year. This will be the eighth budget presented by President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance and Planning Minister.

Budget 2013 is expected to contain fiscal proposals that will accelerate the post – war development drive and consolidate the firm economic foundation laid by the seven previous budgets presented by the President, Finance Ministry sources said.

The country achieved several long term economic

benefits as a result of the prudent fiscal policies laid down in the previous budgets presented by President Rajapaksa.

It is specially significant that the country has achieved an eight percent economic growth rate two years in a row for the first time.

Sources said Budget 2013 would be development oriented and SME friendly and would take the country another step closer to its coveted goal of being the ‘Wonder of Asia’.

Budget 2013 has laid emphasis on priorities identified under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2013-2015 and for the completion of development programmes in progress.

This will be a realistic budget in a bid to achieve socio-economic targets of the country. As Sri Lanka heads forward to become the Wonder of Asia, top corporate and business personalities, both home and aboard, are confident that Sri Lanka is poised to become a regional hub in the fields of aviation, ports, energy, knowledge and tourism, the sources added.

Containing the annual inflation rate under seven percent is the remarkable achievement of the government. It has been able to maintain the inflation rate at single digit level for the last 43 months. they said.

The budget aims at bringing down the deficit from 6.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product to 6.1 percent. It is also expected to maintain an eight percent economic growth rate next year. State investments will be maintained at 6.5 percent of the GDP, government sources told the Daily News.

All previous budgets presented by the UPFA government targeted poverty alleviation. As a result, the poverty rate has been brought down to 8.5 percent from the earlier 28 percent. The unemployment rate too has been brought down to less than five percent.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance and Planning Minister and the General Treasury had consulted each line ministry and other stakeholders prior to to preparing the Appropriation Bill 2013 to formulate a realistic budget.

Economic analysts and top corporate and business personalities anticipate a business and investor-friendly budget. Budget 2013 is also aimed at rapid economic development and the government has taken policy decisions to protect local industries and local entrepreneurs.

The second reading on the Appropriation Bill will commence on November 9 and continue until November 17 (seven allotted days). The second reading will take place on November 17 at 6.00pm. The committee stage debate will begin on November 19 and continue until December 8 (16 allotted days). The third reading vote will be taken on December 8.


Courtesy: Daily News