President reviews 2016 Budget proposals
President Maithripala Sirisena met with the senior officials at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday to make a final review of the budget proposals for 2016 before it is presented in parliament today. The President discussed the draft budget proposals in detail with the relevant senior government leaders including the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake. Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrema, Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga and other officers also participated in the meeting. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will deliver the budget speech on November 20th in Parliament
Ahead of the unity Government’s new Budget today, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday said it would herald a new beginning for the country.
He also said Budget 2016 would be a watershed in the onward journey of the country.
Optimism and confidence was shared via a special statement after putting finishing touches to the Budget proposals to be presented in Parliament today.
A special discussion on the Budget proposals was also held yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of International Trade Malik Samarawickrama, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendaran and Prime Minister’s Advisor on Financial Matters R. Paskaralingam were in attendance.
Karunanayake asserted that everyone from the President and the Prime Minister to the ordinary masses could readily term this Budget as “our own Budget”.
Speaking further, the Minister said: “We inherited a crisis-ridden economy.
Reviving the economy is by no means an easy task. During the 100-day program, the economy was put back on the right track and as a result we could grant relief to the masses. The 2016 Budget is built on the foundation laid through the 100-day program and both development-oriented and relief-centred.
“When Budget is mentioned, people instantly think of relief they would get. The main thrust of the Budget is to ease the cost of living burden on the people while carrying forward the Government’s development initiatives. Our goal is to grant as much relief as possible to 75% to 80% of people oppressed by the former regime.
“This Budget has generated unprecedented enthusiasm and interest among people. This is evident from the overwhelming response we received from the people for our request for their proposals. We received 1,285 proposals. This is nearly a five-fold increase when compared with the proposals received for the last Budget.
“The other significant issue is that we expect to present a capital-based Budget. One of our key targets is to generate an income exceeding the recurrent expenditure. We have drawn our attention to a number of income generating avenues neglected over a period of time by the authorities due to their incompetence. Similarly, we exercise caution in exploring income avenues so as not to burden the people. On the whole, we present a people-friendly Budget that boosts local economy.
“This is only the beginning. We all should dedicate ourselves to develop the country. I assure you that this Budget will lay the foundation for the future economic prosperity of the country.”
The debate on the Second Reading of Budget 2016 will be conducted for nine days and the vote on the Second Reading will be taken in the afternoon of 2 December.
The Committee Stage or the Third Reading of the Budget commences on 3 December. The Committee Stage debate will be held for 15 days and the vote on the Third Reading is scheduled to be taken in the afternoon of 19 December.