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Sunday, 22 November 2015





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Government Gazette

Budget guarantees economic resurgence

The maiden Budget of the National Unity Government presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on November 20 called for key structural changes in the traditional budget, taking the country forward on an innovation- driven social market economy. Budget 2016 has instituted necessary legislative and regulatory framework to put this far-sighted vision into implementation.

70th Budget

The 70th Budget of the country, presented by Minister Karunanayake, will go down the annals of Sri Lankan legislative history as the maiden Budget presented by the first-ever national government of post-independent Sri Lanka to herald a new beginning for the country and to create a new economic and social order for the people.

Yet, another significance of the Budget was that it would go down in parliamentary history as being one of the most lengthy budget speeches delivered by a Finance Minister, which lasted nearly four and a half hours. However, the four and a half hour timeframe was also insufficient for the Minister to read out the full text of the Budget speech and he tabled some of the proposals without even reading them.

Consensual government

The presentation of the Budget was a historic occasion in parliament as the two main parties, the UNP and the SLFP which had previously presented separate budgets when they were in power, agreed to present a budget under a consensual government.

Commencing his budget speech, Minister Karunanayake outlined how effective the leadership and guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe provided the ideal formula to generate a budget seeking excellence on all fronts. The Budget was a continuation of the positive aspects of the interim budget presented by the Government on January 29 this year, to delivering further dividends through the adoption of prudent and cohesive economic policies.

It was after a long lapse that there was a complete change in the Budget which contained a comprehensive economic policy to transform the socio-economic and political fabric as articulated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Policy Statement in Parliament two weeks ago.

It was obvious the Budget was based on the policy statement delivered by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on November 5. Karunanayake stressed the need for economic reform to change the negative impact of the former UPFA government by rectifying economic and foreign policy failure. He alleged the economic policies of the previous regime were fundamentally flawed while mounting debt was about to take control of the economy.

Minister Karunanayake told the House that the derogatory 'hubs of crony capitalism' had disintegrated forever while the fearsome 'white van syndrome' had been extinguished and the 'most detestable family bandysim' eradicated.

He drew the attention of the House that today the average people of Sri Lanka were not only enjoying the fruits of economic dividends but also democratic freedom which was under a cloud during the previous regime. The Minister noted the era from 2005 to 2014 would go down in history as an era where the expectations of the people were at a zenith but where the delivery was below par.

Good governance and transparency

The Minister in his concluding remarks said the budget speech of the consensual unity government of Sri Lanka has revealed a new dimension in the national economic policy within the framework of good governance and transparency.

He noted that the government's objectives were based on futuristic policies to create an Upper Middle income economy guaranteeing economic resurgence thus upgrading Sri Lanka to a higher plateau. After the Minister concluded his Budget speech, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya invited Government and Opposition members for the traditional tea party which was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Second Reading on the Appropriation Bill commenced on November 21 and will continue until December 2 (nine allotted days). The vote on the Second Reading will take place on December 2 at 5.00pm. The committee stage debate will commence on December 3 and continue until December 19 (15 allotted days). The vote on the Third Reading will be taken on December 19 at 5pm.


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