Government assures 2017 budget will benefit the public

Ravi KarunananaykeThe Government says the forthcoming budget which will be presented on November 10 will be a people’s budget as it would incorporate ideas proposed by the people from all corners of the country.

The Ministry of Finance says it has already received over 2200 proposals from the public. This includes proposals from trade unions, trade chambers, corporate sectors, companies and individual firms.

Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that he had already visited several provinces to obtain first hand information directly from the public on their expectations and the needs to improve their livelihood.

The Minister visited Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Galle and several other districts. Further the minister also had discussions with trade union representatives and others who represent various sectors of the economy such as tourism, poultry industry, vehicle importers, trade and industry.

For the first time in the history of budget making the Finance Ministry has obtained the services of academics to have a systematic survey on the needs of the people.

Accordingly, teams of academics from ten national universities recently handed over their findings of the surveys conducted at Divisional Secretariat level island wide. These academics, with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance conducted systematic surveys on the economic needs of the people covering 332 DS divisions in the country with the aegis of respective Divisional Secretaries.

“The  budget with the incorporation of the proposals from the people and the Government policy of transforming the country  into a manufacturing economy will have many surprises, beneficial to all and the concessions given by way of price reduction of essential goods and services will continue unabated,” the Finance Minister said.

He said that all the proposals were studied before finalizing the budget as the Government has adopted an approach to make the budget a reality.

All these years  the previous governments have been in the habits of adopting top bottom approach for budget making which was also considered imperative  to maintain the Macro economic variables.

Karunanayake also said the Government has decided to discontinue the system of incremental budget allocation fro Ministries from this year and instead all Ministries have been allocated funds on Zero based budget proposals put forward by the Ministries in accordance with the Government’s national economic priority plans.

Accordingly, all Ministries had to submit their annual action plans before finalizing the allocations and they would be required to strictly adhere to and monitor implementation of the plan.

The Minister said that as Sri Lanka aspires to become a higher middle-income country, it would need to adjust its development model with the intention of having increased per capita income and lowering the fiscal deficit to 3.5 % of the GDP by year 2020.

Accordingly, the Minister said that the Government, through the forthcoming budget, will make available financial allocations to all line ministries based on their action plans  in order to achieve the government’s policy of generating one million job opportunities, enhancing income levels, developing rural economies, ensuring land ownership to rural and estate sectors, the middle class and Government employees and creating a wide and strong middle class without any restrictions. (Colombo Gazette)