COL, infrastructure development, top priority in 2008 Budget -
The Government has identified the cost-of-living and infrastructure
development as key challenges and will give top priority to ease the
burden of people and expedite work on development projects, said Deputy
Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.
He was speaking on the Government's plans to raise revenue and its
Budget expenditure for 2008 at the Finance Ministry on Thursday.
Siyambalapitiya said eradicating terrorism and ushering peace to the
country is a priority of the Government and the Government will do its
utmost to put an end to the war, the major obstacle to develop the
"By no means do we intend to increase the expenditure on war and
undermine development and the burning issues of the people. The people's
safety and security will not be compromised and steps will be taken to
minimise terror attacks and ensure the maximum safety of people", the
Deputy Minister said.
He said the Budget will also focus on developing the Northern and
Eastern provinces which have been badly affected by a three-decade old
"Sectors have been identified and development programs will be
launched early next year", he said.
The Deputy Minister said the Cabinet has approved Rs. 1,516.3 billion
as the total Budget expenditure for 2008 which is a 15 percent increase
compared to the expenditure this year.
The total Budget expenditure for this year is Rs. 1,285 billion. The
recurrent expenditure for 2008 will be Rs. 726 billion, an increase of
17 percent while the capital expenditure will be Rs. 790 billion, a 14
percent increase compared to this year's expenditure.
Siyambalapitiya said expediting work on the Norochcholai coal power
plant, Upper Kotmale project, the Southern highway, Gama Neguma and Maga
Neguma programs and other major infrastructure programs will be given
priority in the Budget.
When asked about the comments of the main Opposition Leader on Mihin
Air and Lankaputhra Development Bank, he said the Government had not
acted contrary to the law and that he will make a statement at the next
"The UNP is having day dreams of defeating the Government during the
Budget debate. The Government is confident of victory and will present a
people friendly Budget", Siyambalapitiya said.