Government preparing to present “pro-growth” budget

Ravi KarunananaykeThe Government is preparing to present the budget for 2017 which the Finance Minister says will be pro-growth and will focus on the deficiencies of the last several years.

Finance Minister Mr. Ravi Karunanayake will present the third budget of the cohabitation government of President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday in Parliament.

“It will be a real over view and over look of all the sectors of the economy that is beneficial to the people in the short run and long run,” the Finance Minister said.

He said Sri Lanka’s economy faced over Rs 9.9 trillion in public debt and Rs 1.2 trillion debt off the balance sheet when the current government took office in January last year.

However, with strict financial discipline, the government was able to pay attention to the financial consolidation and to reduce the budget deficit.

Minister Karunanayake said that the government targets a fiscal deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2020 and it hopes to reduce it to 4.7 percent next year from a targeted 5.4 Percent in 2016.

The value of the GDP has increased to US$ 82.3 billion in 2015 from Rs.6,414 (US$ 56.7 billion in 2010.

Sri Lanka has a new phenomenon in its expenditure chain where a sizeable portion goes to social welfare and subsidies. Next year’s budget will allocate around Rs 380 billion on welfare and subsidies.

After the budget is presented in the Parliament on Thursday the debate on the second reading and the committee stage will continue till 10 December including on Saturdays. (Colombo Gazette)

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