The ‘2018 Budget, Blue Green Enterprise Sri Lanka’ got underway in Parliament today with Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera delivering the Budget speech.
The Parliament session got underway with the arrival of the Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya and the placing of the mace.
Minister Samaraweera commencing his opening address said the 2018 Budget is focused on sustainable development goals.
The Minister said the biggest challenge the government faced after taking over in January 2015 was the country’s economy and the debt burden while ensuring and maintaining peace and reconciliation highlighting equality.
The Minister noted another issue the country faced last year was disaster situations as a result of climate change.
Minister Samaraweera commended Former Minister of Finance Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake for working towards lifting the country out of the present debt trap and arriving at timely and straightforward decisions.
The Finance Minister noted the government has now begun uplifting the economy while state income that was poor has now been strengthened.
* Budget deficit 4.5%, economic development target 5%, inflation to be maintained at under 6%.
* Vehicles of state employees to be hybrid or electric by 2025.
* Special luxury tax to be imposed on vehicles above 2500CC engine capacity.
* Tax on diesel three-wheelers to be increased by Rs.50000.
* Carbon tax to be imposed on motorbikes, cars & buses.
* Rs.10 production tax to be imposed on polythene products.
* Rs.1,500m to be allocated to establish green areas in Pradeshiya Sabha.
* Import tax on electric vehicles to be reduced by Rs.1m.
* Startup loan system to continue after 2018.
* Rs.750 million allocated to provide relief for interest payments.
* Rs.3 billion to be invested for local startups.
* Colombo, Moratuwa unis & SLIIT to conduct courses on robotics.
* Rs.250 million to be allocated for the tea industry. Rs.25 million to be allocated for the coconut research institute.
* Three-wheeler Regulatory Authority to be established. Meters to be made mandatory for all three-wheelers.
* VAT refund scheme for foreign passport holders to be implemented. One-stop-shop for business registration to be introduced.
* Rs.325 billion allocated for the youth of the country.
* Number of students eligible for Mahapola Scholarship increased to 3,000.
* Rs.1,250 million allocated for medical faculties to be established at Moratuwa, Sabaragamuwa & Wayamba Universities.
* A production tax of 50 cents per gram of sugar to be imposed on soft drinks and sweetened beverages from midnight today.
* All bank transactions to be charged 20 cents for every Rs.1,000 from the 2018/04/01.