Despite initial concerns, the second reading of the 2023 Budget was passed yesterday with a majority of 37 votes in Parliament, where a total of 121 MPs voted in favour whilst 84 MPs voted against it.
A majority of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya MPS, and that of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the JVP, voted against. A fair share of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs, those of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress, Eelam People›s Democratic Party, United National Party, National Alliance as well as Duminda Dissanayake voted in favour. Tamil People’s National Alliance MP C.V. Vigneswaran abstained from voting, whilst Tamil National Alliance MPs were not present when the division was called in Parliament yesterday.
The division on the second reading of the 2023 Budget was called by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella after MPs debated the 2023 Appropriation Bill for seven days in Parliament. Day seven of the second reading debate got underway at 9.30 a.m. yesterday.
The 2023 Budget speech was delivered in Parliament by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister on 14 November.
The committee stage debates will be held for 13 days in Parliament from today.
The final vote on the 2023 Budget is scheduled on 8 December.
As per numbers, the Budget 2023 targets a revenue of Rs. 3.4 trillion up from an estimated Rs. 2 trillion this year. Revenue will be 11.3% of GDP up from 8.7% in 2022. The expenditure forecast is a staggering Rs. 5.8 trillion (19.2% of GDP), up from Rs. 4.4 trillion (18.6% of GDP) estimated for 2022. Salaries and wages account for Rs. 1 trillion and for payment of pensions Rs. 375 billion has been allocated.