Millennium Post

Sri Lanka government presents interim budget

The new Sri Lankan government on Thursday presented the interim budget after amending the one by the previous regime, and tabled an ‘Urgent Bill’ to give legal effect to its budgetary proposals and implement the promises made in the manifesto.

The interim budget, overseen by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, was presented in the parliament to implement the government’s proposals as outlined in its election manifesto.

It offered a series of economic relief measures including waiving off farmers’ loan by 50 per cent.
As the parliament has already approved the 2015 Budget presented by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the new government tabled the ‘Urgent Bill’ to amend the ‘2015 Appropriation Act’ so that it could provide the relief that was promised to the people in the run up to the elections.

The proposed amendment will give a legal effect to the new government’s budgetary proposals.

“We believe in uplifting and developing the lives of every citizen of this country - not just a selected few,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in his budget speech. Karunanayake, in his speech, accused the Rajapaksa administration of being extravagant. He said the new government would save rupees 2.5 billion by cutting down on the number of Ministers.

The expenditure for the president’s office which was 10,4970 million rupees in 2014, has been estimated to be at 95,930 million rupees in 2015. The new government has inherited state debts concealed by previous regime currently stands at rupees 8.81 trillion.

This includes 15 million dollars borrowed for security purposes. Among the economic measures, Karunanayake announced a pay hike for public sector employees and imports tariff reduction on essential food commodities.

The farmer loans are to be waived off by 50 per cent while interest charged on gold loans waived off.
Karunanayake said Rajapaksa’s infrastructure development drive had caused losses due to borrowings at high cost.


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