2019 Budget to be presented in Parliament

2019-03-05 at 06:28

The fifth Budget of the good governance government will be presented in Parliament today by Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera. Parliament is slated to convene at 1.30pm while Minister Mangala Samaraweera will begin delivering the Budget speech at 2pm.

The Ministry of Finance in a statement said Cabinet approval for the 2019 Budget; ‘focusing on empowering the people and nurturing the poor’ will be sought at this morning’s Cabinet meeting. The Appropriation Bill for the year 2019 was first presented in Parliament in October last year however due the Constitutional crisis the presentation of the 2019 Budget was delayed.

Following the re-instatement of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s Prime Minister on the 16th of December, the present administration re-commenced the process to present the Budget proposal. Due to time constraints, the government decided to present a ‘Vote on Account’ for the first four months of 2019.

Accordingly a ‘Vote on Account’ for the first four months of 2019 was presented in Parliament on the 21st of December. The ‘Vote on Account’ allocated Rs.1,765 billion for government expenditure for the first four months of the year 2019.

The ‘Vote on Account’ allocated Rs.480 billion for recurring expenditure and Rs.310 billion for capital expenditure. The Cabinet-approved 2019 Appropriation Bill was presented in Parliament once again on the 5th of February.

According to the 2019 Appropriation Bill, state expenditure has been set at Rs.4,550 billion. Total government revenue is expected to be approximately Rs.2,390 billion this year.

The Ministry of Finance announced that the government through the 2019 Budget has allocated Rs.2,200 billion for debt servicing. According to the Ministry the amount is the highest a government in the history of Sri Lanka is compelled to bear for debt servicing.

The recurrent expenditure includes Rs.1,425 billion while capital expenditure will be Rs.838 billion. According to the Appropriation Bill, the 2019 Budget deficit will be 4.8% of the GDP.

State revenue which was 11.5% of the GDP in 2014 is expected to be increased to 15% of the GDP this year. The Finance Ministry said the 2019 Budget is prepared under the Medium Term Fiscal Framework by adopting the performance based budgeting approach with the aim of strengthening the on-going fiscal consolidation programs.

The government is also aiming to achieve the target of increasing the state revenue to 17% and limiting the recurrent expenditure to 15 percent of the GDP in the year 2021. Through the 2019 Budget the largest allocation has been made for the Ministry of Defence which comes under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena.

The Ministry of Defence has been allocated Rs.393 billion for the year 2019. A total of Rs.14 billion has been allocated for the Office of the President, while the Prime Minister’s Office has been allocated Rs.1.6 billion rupees.

The Ministries of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs Ministry held by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have been allocated Rs.98 billion rupees. The government has made an allocation of Rs.183.8 billion for the Finance Ministry.

The Ministry of Health has been allocated Rs.187 billion, the Ministry of Highways Rs.176 billion, the Ministry of Education Rs.105 billion and the Ministry of Public Administration with Rs.263 billion.

The Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Governments has been set aside Rs.292 billion through the 2019 Budget. The debate on the second reading of the 2019 Budget will commence tomorrow.

Following six days of debating, the vote on the second reading is scheduled to be held on the 12th of March in Parliament. The third reading of the Budget or the Committee Stage Debate will commence on the 13th of March.

The final vote on the 2019 Budget proposal will be called on the 5th of April.