Continued from Saturday
Public Security, Law and Order
Government has given a very high priority for public security. The institutions established for that purpose have been playing a significant role not only in ensuring public security but also in safeguarding the welfare of the people. It is expected to establish a community police service that works closely with the people to curb drugs and crimes. In addition to the already allocated Rs.7,885 for recruitment of police officers and to provide facilities for the community police service that is already in place, I propose to allocate a further Rs.500 million
Improvement of sanitary facilities of detainees in prisons
It has been reported that there are sanitation issues due to the congestion in prisons since the number of detainees has gone up and infrastructure facilities have not been improved. Therefore, in addition to the already allocated amount for the improvement of sanitary facilities of all prison inmates, I propose to allocate an additional Rs.200 million.
Providing facilities for senior citizens and persons with special needs
In spite of the severe curtailment of the revenue flows, we continued the implementing of welfare programs for the elderly. It is important to note that in spite of the challenges to revenue, the government did not resort to suspending these welfare programmes.
Therefore, in ensuring that the elderly are continuously protected while providing facilities for those with special needs, I propose to allocate Rs. 1,000 million.
Such funds will be utilized to establish the necessary facilities at village level facilitating the senior citizens a healthy and a happy lifestyle, while also improving the facilities required for those with special needs. 62
Securing Home Economy
The government implements a large number of social welfare and relief programs. Nearly 50 such programmes are in place. Given the number of programmes, I will not read out the full list. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning a few of them. Pensions, Samurdhi benefits, elders’ assistance, nutritional food allowances for school children, and the Suraksha student Insurance scheme are some of the main schemes. The annual expenditure on these programs is close to Rs.600,000 million.
With the Covid pandemic, increasing in global fuel prices, gas prices, shipping costs, and cost of production of goods and services have had an upward pressure on the prices of goods and services globally. As a result, prices of goods and services in the local market too have risen leading to a cost of living hike.
The expenditure on social welfare and relief programs is a significant portion compared to the total government expenditure. The time has now come to ensure if certain benefits, such as the Samurdhi, actually are provided to those who actually deserve such benefits. We must encourage the Samurdhi beneficiaries to rethink their consumption patterns and inculcate a savings and an investment culture. The society at large demands that we take a critical view of this matter.
Therefore, we are in a dire need of a suitable mechanism which has faith in the poor, develop a positive attitude about themselves, improve entrepreneurial skills, add good value to village-based products, improve quality, familiarize modern communication technology, connect with the market network, and transform to be empowered to stand on own two feet while being enriched and self-sufficient in nutritious food. It is in this context that the Home Economy Security Program which includes three-components will be introduced.
Accordingly, I propose to allocate Rs. 31,000 million to provide relief to people under this Home Economy Security Program. 63
Nutrition basket for pregnant mothers
The intellectual development of a child takes place mostly in the mother’s womb and in the early periods from birth. As such to ensure that nutritional requirements of both the baby and the mother, the Home Security Programme will give priority to ensuring nutrition needs of the new born children by supporting the lactating mothers.
Therefore, I propose to extend the provision of the nutrition basket for pregnant mothers which is valued at Rs.10,000 each for a period of 24 months from the current 10 months. Accordingly, apart from the existing allocation for this program, a further Rs. 1,000 million will be allocated.
Home Food Security Program – Relief Basket
Together with the nutrition of the mother and the baby, the nutrition of the family becomes significant. Therefore, an allocation of around Rs. 15,000 million will be made to implement a program identifying economically poor families at the GN Division level and provide them with a relief basket to alleviate the pressure of the cost of living hike.
Establishment of mini supermarket chain for women entrepreneurs – Home Shop
Up to now, we have allocated funds for programs designed to nourish the family, including the mother and the newborn child. Similarly, their need for economic empowerment should also be fulfilled. Therefore, we are implementing an island-wide new economic development program focused on women entrepreneurs.
This programme is based on the experience gained from distributing essential food items to the village during the Covid pandemic. Accordingly, the need emerged for a mechanism which
• Meets the food requirements of the rural people
• Sells home-made edibles, groceries, and other products
• Integrates with the main supply chain by networking using information technology
• Ensures an uninterrupted supply and distribution even in the event of any disaster
I allocate around Rs. 15,000 million to this program to establish a mini supermarket network at the Grama Niladhari Division level.
Although public services operates incurring an enormous expense expecting an efficient and effective public service; owing to the rigid laws and regulations, and lengthy and outdated administrative methods and procedures, the public has to exert a lot of effort, time, and expense to connect with government agencies for their needs.
A client-centric public service – Digitisation
Therefore, to increase the productivity and efficiency of the public service, making it client-centric, and to digitize the public service, an in addition to the allocation of Rs. 3,500 million a further Rs.500 million will be provided.
Motorcycles for public officers
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In 2014, we launched a program to provide motorcycles aiming to increase the efficient provision of public services offered by the field officers. 146,381 field officers obtained motorcycles under this initiative and I am happy to see that they are still using these motorcycles to provide public services.
I have planned on reintroducing this program and implementing a system of transferring its benefits to the public servants. I propose to allocate Rs. 500 million for the activities necessary for this.
Elimination of Teachers’ and Principals’ salary anomalies
Given that the government through the Cabinet decision dated 30 August 2021 has agreed as a matter of policy to eliminate the Teacher –Principal salary anomalies, thereby ending the trade union activities, and therefore, for the expeditious implementation of such policy, I propose an additional Rs. 30,000 million be included for salary payments.
This is in addition to the current allocation of over Rs. 109,000 million on teachers’ and principals’ salaries.
Job confirmation for graduates
Steps will be taken to offer permanent appointments from January 2022 to over 53,000 graduates who are already recruited to the government service as trainees.
It is expected that around Rs. 27,600 million will be necessary for this and the entire provision will be allocated from the budget this year. Accordingly, Rs. 7,600 million will be allocated for this purpose in addition to the amount already allocated. 66
Compensation for the victims of political victimisation during 2015-2019
Measures will be taken to allocate Rs. 100 million as compensation to those who have been politically victimized during the period 2015-2019.
Eliminate pensioners’ pay anomalies
In response to the continuous requests to correct the pension anomalies, the Government has focused on creating an appropriate mechanism to correct the pension anomalies. Accordingly, Rs. 500 million will be allocated to undertake the initial action required.
Allocation under Special Financial Provisions
For maintenance of Buddhist temples and shrines
Our village based lie has been centered on the Temple since the ancient times. That is our rich heritage. However, many of our Buddhist temples and shrines, in extremely remote areas often lack even the basic needs and infrastructure. As such to support essential maintenance and construction of Buddhist temples and shrines located in extremely remote areas I propose to allocate Rs. 500 million.
Indemnity and compensation for persons who went missing at various periods
Budget allocations are made to compensate the disappearances of people during different eras owing to various reasons. I propose to allocate another Rs. 300 million in addition to the present provision to do justice to the families of such missing persons.
Government Contribution to Professional Associations
Professionals make a remarkable contribution to the development of the country. Their professional knowledge should be transferred to the new generation. It is their responsibility to liaise with international professional bodies and bring new global knowledge to the motherland.
I propose to include an allocation of Rs. 100 million to support professional associations.
7.1 Government revenue shows a downward trend as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, government revenue which was 21.9 percent during the period of 1950-1999, has plummeted to 16.3 percent during 2000-2009. After a gradual decline, government revenue further reduced to 9.2 percent in 2020 owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
7.2 When compared with peer countries, revenue of these countries are relatively higher than that of Sri Lanka. It is 20.2 percent in Malaysia, 20.6 percent in Thailand, 18.3 percent in India, and 17.6 percent in Singapore. In some emerging economies, government revenue is maintained at levels over 25 percent. For example, it is 29.4 percent in Brazil and 25.3 percent in China. Government revenue lost owing to the inefficiencies in our tax administration is also a significant portion. Therefore, we need to improve our tax compliance.
7.3 Despite the decline in the government revenue, government expenditure has increased. The unusual impact of the Covid pandemic has also contributed to this. Interest expenditures of the Government as a percentage of the government revenue is 71.4 percent in 2020. Salary payments as a percentage of government revenue increased to 57.8 percent in 2020. Recurrent expenditure increased to Rupees 2,548 billion in 2020. Government revenue has come to a level which is insufficient to cover the day-to-day recurrent expenditure. Therefore, deficit in the recurrent account, i.e. government revenue over recurrent expenditure, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product has increased by 0.6 percentage points from 1.1 percent during 2010-2014 to 1.7 percent during 2015-2019. This has increased to 7.9 percent in 2020.
7.4 Similarly, the deficit in the primary account (total revenue minus other expenditure, excluding interest payments) as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product was 1.5 percent in 2010, and has increased to 2.9 percent in 2015, and to 4.6 percent in 2020. This depicts the increase in government expenditure, excluding interest payments. Total debt stock increases as this expenditure gets added to the initial loan amount. Accordingly, our target is to record a surplus in the primary account by 2025.
7.5 Apart from the budget surplus recorded in 1954 and 1955, the country has been incurring a budget deficit continuously. This deficit has grown to 11.1 percent in 2020. Accordingly, the debt stock has also increased. In 2020, the total debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product increased to 101 percent.
7.6 As a result, we are now mindful of the requirement for Fiscal Consolidation. We will make every effort to reduce the budget deficit to 8.8 percent in 2022, 6.1 percent in 2024, and 4.8 percent in 2025. We expect a balanced budget in 2028. In order to reduce the budget deficit we need measures for, solid expenditure management, increasing government revenue, and restructuring loss-making public enterprises.
7.7 As soon as our Government was elected; we took measures to create a simple, transparent, and an effective tax system aiming at facilitating tax payers and an improved tax compliance. Through these tax revisions we expected to protect the small and medium scale entrepreneurs from the rigid taxes and debt traps and divert savings from reduced taxes to investments. However, our expectations met with challenges, owing to the Covid pandemic. Nevertheless, the tax revisions also became incentives cushioning the impact on the people from the pandemic.
7.8 I the following proposals are expected to strengthen the government’s financial position. Similarly, it is expected that these proposals will become helpful to rebuild the economy from the post Covid position.
I. A one-time tax surcharge of 25 percent is proposed to be imposed on persons or companies with taxable income over Rupees 2,000 million for the year of assessment 2020/2021. Rupees 100 billion is expected to be earned through this tax.
II. VAT on banks and financial service providers under supply of financial services by specified institutions is proposed to be increased to 18 percent from 15 percent. This tax should be paid monthly from 01 January 2022 to 31 December 2022. Furthermore, this tax should not be shifted to the customer. Rupees 14 billion is expected to be earned through this tax.
Social Security Contribution
Aiming to rebuild Sri Lanka economy affected by the Covid pandemic, a “Social Security Contribution” is proposed. This contribution will be charged at 2.5 percent on the annual threshold turnover exceeding Rupees 120 million. Rupees 140 billion is expected as revenue through this contribution. This will be effective from 01 April 2022.
Tax on Cigarettes
Tax on Cigarettes is proposed to be increased with immediate effect. As a result, the price of a cigarette will increase by Rupees five (5). Government expects a revenue of Rupees eight (8) billion through this initiative.
It is proposed to increase Excise tax with immediate effect. An additional revenue of Rupees 25 billion is expected through this tax increase.
7.13.1 It is proposed to impose a fee on vehicles meeting with accidents with the opportunity of reimbursing this fee from the insurance. Through this initiative, it is expected to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents.
7.13.2 In addition, it is proposed to impose a fee on vehicle modification, alteration, and refurbishment; and, subject to an amnesty period to pay fines, legally register illegal motor cars and motor cycles, if they are in condition suitable for road.
7.13.3 Similarly, it is proposed to release all vehicles seized at the Sri Lanka Customs owing to non-payment of applicable taxes and other reasons. Such release will be subject to the applicable taxes and fines.
7.13.4 It is expected to earn an additional income of Rupees four (4) billion from these proposals.
7.14.1 This government took several initiatives from the 2021 budget to simplify the tax administration and improve its efficiency. For this, it is proposed to further strengthen the Large Tax Payers Unit (LTU) and Upper Corporate Unit (UCU) to improve revenue collection from large tax payers.
7.14.2 Similarly, it is proposed to remove weaknesses in the digital revenue collection systems of the revenue collection bodies; Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) of the Department of Inland Revenue and Single Window System of the Sri Lanka Customs.
7.14.3 In addition, it is proposed to expedite the implementation of the digital revenue collection system of the Excise Department and simplify the excise licensing process.
7.14.4 Furthermore, it is proposed to introduce a mechanism to examine the accuracy of the tax documents when filing through the above systems, and allow, at every possibility, to present digital invoices and documents as valid documents.
Money earned by Perpetual Treasuries Limited
In order to examine, investigate, and report on the issuance of the Treasury bonds during the period 01 February 2015 to 31 March 2016, the former HE President appointed a tri-party Presidential Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chithrasiri.
As per the report of the aforementioned Presidential Commission of Inquiry, during the period 01 February 2016 to 31 March 2016, when selling Treasury bonds to the Employees Provident Fund, other statutory entities, and government institutions; Perpetual Treasuries Limited has made profit mainly through “price sensitive inside information” and “market manipulation”.
Therefore, this report identifies that Rupees 8.5 billion is received by wilfully violating the provisions of the code of conduct issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance No. 07 of 1937, to the primary dealers on best practices.
According to the recommendations of this Commission, and without hindering the legal actions taken by the Attorney General, it is proposed to transfer to the Treasury the Rupees 8.5 billion that the Perpetual Treasuries Limited has earned in violation of the Code of Conduct of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Leisure Licence Fee
It is proposed to issue a license under goods and service tax for the designated areas to be developed as special zones for leisure activities.
Licence issued by Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka issues licenses for telecommunication services, including, fixed phone operations, mobile phone operations, internet service providers, and satellite broadcasting operations. As those obtaining these licenses make a substantial investment on telecommunication services, it is proposed to issue these licenses through an auction. Furthermore, it is proposed to sell by auction the 5G frequencies to be included the information technology field.
Macroeconomic vision for a revival
In preparing this budget, I attempted to focus on the five main balance sheets required to open up our country locally and internationally in a manner that strengthens the national production economy.
1. Human Resource Development that targets people of our country (Human Resources Profile)
2. Environment conservation enriched by bio diversity
3. Balance of payments that includes our international trade and financial activities
4. Public Finance and National Budget that includes the government revenue and expenditure
5. Banks and financial activities
8.1 “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour“ focuses on an eco-friendly sustainable development enriched with biodiversity. As such, we resolve on organic agriculture in that respect. Vari Saubhagya, Surakimu Ganga, Integrated Road Investment Programme, Inclusive Connectivity and Development Project, Renewable Energy programme were proposed as development approaches in this budget. Proposals have been made for various sectors required for the National Production Economy that builds on those. Many proposals were presented on the protection of environment, food security, safe water and land, security of the people and national security.
Proposals were presented for an inclusive economic development with benefits for all provinces and people. Within the first two quarters of 2021 the country could achieve an 8 percent growth in the production economy. Although it was a growth amidst the recession in 2020, through the proposals that I have made, I anticipate an economic growth of more than 6 percent during five year period of 2022-2027. Together with the restoration of the supply of goods and services, the entire budget process is directed to reduce the rate of increase of the cost of living.
Pictures by Sulochana Gamage
8.2 Human Capital Development is considered as the centre of our economic development strategy. A huge investment made to vaccinate more than 75 percent of the population of this country and provide them with a booster dose needed to maintain their immunity to protect them from the Covid-19 virus was made because human resource development is of high priority. In line with that, I have paid special attention to land, water, food, housing, and healthy environment, as well as, skills-based education and sports facilities by covering the various facets of human resource development. We also focused on the task of building a prosperous family by nurturing religious and cultural endowments. I presented various proposals to create the environment needed to improve their economic activities, alleviate their economic hardships, and fulfil their changing ambitions and future expectations.
8.3 We must have a vision to build international trade, finance, and foreign exchange reserves in our country. We must admit that at present we are concerned about our foreign reserves and the debt stock. The previous government, that made us inherit it, should admit that. We are making efforts to manage this situation in the short run with the support of our friendly countries.
8.4 However, our goal should be to sustainably build our foreign reserves to a secure level. My goal is to increase our country’s official foreign reserves to USD 10,000 million by 2027. To achieve this, it is my intention to increase our total exports which is being diversified, to USD 19,000 million by 2022.
8.5 Increase in our exports to USD 10,028 million by October 2021 is encouraging. I have set a target of USD 11,900 million for the whole year. Similarly, expenditure on imports for the same period is USD 16,588 million. I have set a spending target of about USD 18,900 million for this year. Therefore, the trade deficit during this year would to be about USD 7,000 million. The cost of imports will be around USD 26,800 million by 2027. Therefore, I expect to stabilize the trade deficit at around the same level of the ongoing year.
8.6 In 2022, a trade surplus is expected amounting to around USD 1,000 million, including from tourism, ports, and IT export services and I have spelt out policies and measures in this budget speech to increase it to USD 8,000 million in 2027.
The net foreign remittances is expected to be around USD 6,850 million in 2021 and it is my expectation to increase it to reach USD 8,000 million by 2027.
8.7 Transactions such as dividends and interests that occur in the form of international current payments and receivables need to be maintained to match the promotion of foreign investments. However, due to restrictions in current account and the tendency towards commercial financing, our country has not become attractive for foreign investors and Sri Lankan enterprises and individuals that are based abroad. Therefore, the balance of transactions also incurs a deficit. The said deficit is approximately USD 2,000 million per annum.
8.8 The totality of what I have been explaining points to a deficit in the external current account. That is why the attention is directed towards the afore mentioned exports, tourism, information technology, and revenues from foreign employment in order to turn the present deficit of USD 1,100 million to a surplus of USD 6,000 million in the year 2027. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us to add a minimum surplus of USD 1,000 to the balance of payments each year within the period of next 5 years in handling the international trade of goods and services as well as international financing.
8.9 Balancing the government budget has become our primary responsibility while managing the enormous socio-economic challenges that have piled up from years of either the failure to provide sustainable solutions or viewing issues from a political biasness. It is a fact that every government since the independence has pursued a deficit budget policy. This deficit, which was about 6 percent of the national income in the 1960s, has exceeded 10 percent from time to time from 1978. During the period 2010-2018, this has been around 7 percent and again has exceeded 10 percent. We are now experiencing the consequences of these policies that have been in place for almost 70 years. Even among us as people’s representatives, the common political mentality is to conveniently evade the issue rather than take decisive action breaking away from the norm. We consider that the mandate, which the people gave us, is to build an economically strong country by moving away from the commonly tread path during our period in office.
8.10 Financial activities of the government will not improve by merely through the collection of taxes, and fees and charges. To create a sustainable financial discipline it is necessary to control the public expenditures prudently. We cannot delay building a culture of managing public finances with suitable measures to maintain expenditures at levels the government revenue can meet. As such, we must take action to prune our expenditures to match the revenue, having undertaken a continuous assessment of the process where the traditional approach is to match the finances to support the recurrent expenditures.
8.11 The timely disbursement of welfare expenditure, maintenance expenditure, and development expenditure has become a constant challenge amidst interest, salaries, pensions, loan installments, repayment priorities approved by this Parliament. Owing to lags and leads in terms of both revenue and borrowings, the Treasury is often unable to obtain the required finances in time for release to fulfill the cash requirements. As a result, public finance management has become an issue, leading to unsettled supplier bills while the development and the quality of public service plummets.
8.12 We need to change this trajectory. The budget deficit which had been talked about for 72 years has become the central issue in the entire economic process. I outlined above a number of ways in which we must approach a public budget management that can balance government revenue and expenditure, and I must inform this House that I have not underestimated the difficulties in implementation. We need to face the reality. Therefore, my vision is to manage the overall budget to reduce the budget deficit from the 10 percent of national income level at present to 1.5 percent by 2027. We need to strengthen tax administration so that government revenue, which is 9 percent of national income at present, can increase to 18 percent by 2027. It is in this context that I have introduced an economic development model that provides growth opportunities for both individuals and business, while expanding the tax base together with an increase in the tax compliance among individuals and businesses.
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8.13 As I mentioned before, in addition to encouraging personal savings, the government also needs to save through its budget management, and the aim is to increase budget savings to 5 percent by reducing recurrent expenditure, which is about 16 percent as a percentage of national income at present to 13 percent by 2027. The decisive year here is 2024. It is because this is the year in which the surplus in the current account is expected to grow. I expect the full cooperation of both the Members of Parliament and public officials in getting to this point.
8.14 Therefore, the development expenditure which is currently about 3.5 percent of the national income can be increased to 6 percent by 2024 and it is expected to increase to around 7 percent by 2027. It is expected that such increase in the public investment is possible due to the expected savings derived from the budget. As a result, I believe that public debt, which is currently around 102 percent, can be reduced to 74 percent. My expectation is to reduce foreign debt as a percentage of national income from 36.5 percent to 13.6 percent. This includes the a further reduction of the stock of International Sovereign bonds to USD 8,000 million through sustainable financing as proposed in the these budgetary reforms which include changing the composition of foreign loans through sustainable financing.
8.15 My budget vision presented is a challenging path which, I believe all of us must take together. It is a more disciplined path of public finance control different from the deficit budget path. Getting used to it can be difficult at first. But I firmly believe that this is a path that will strengthen the country, the nation, and the economy.
8.16 We need to celebrate the victories we achieved in the operations of our banks and financial institutions in the last 72 years. I like to recognize the establishment of Employees Provident Fund in 1957, People’s Bank in 1961, nationalization of Bank of Ceylon, National Insurance Corporation in 1960s, National Savings Bank in 1971 as revolutionary changes in banking and financial sector in our country. Rural areas of the country could access banking and financial facilities because these institutions opened a branch network targeting rural areas. If not for the state Banks and entities, Private Banks and Insurance Companies would never tread there.
However, during the last few decades, state banks and insurance companies, were financing institutions in petroleum, electricity, chemical fertilizers in particular, which were more inclined towards financing the government budget. Therefore, a significant progress has not shown in financing for the development of enterprises and technology, housing and agriculture or ordinary depositors. Similarly, the government’s pledge loan scheme which is granted on concessionary rates to purchase the agricultural harvest of the farmers has turned out to be a financial tool in the hands of big businessmen.
8.17 State banks and financial institutions such as State Investment and Mortgage Bank, Housing Development and Finance Corporation, Sri Lanka National Savings Bank, Regional Development Bank have not transformed to development financing. Except for Samurdhi Bank system, no other micro-financing institution has become productive to the rural economy. Cooperative Rural Bank system needs to be strengthened. Operations of financing and leasing companies are also in the same state. Financing companies like ETI, the Finance Company have fallen apart. This adversely affects the entire finance sector. Credit Information Bureau has become an impediment for small and medium scale enterprises. With the privatization of National Development Bank, the development banking system was effectively done away with. At the 2021 budget, Hon. Prime Minister pointed out the need of a development bank which is a collaboration of the afore said state banks that works for the small and medium scale enterprises.
8.18 In the meantime, the fees levied by banks and financial institutions on clients for various transactions including savings have become complex. A need has emerged to make those fees equal. Therefore, I propose that Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Finance should start wide ranging reforms in these sectors taking the report of the Presidential Commission on ETI also into consideration.
9.0 During the so called “Virtuous” and the regimes of “Good Governance” the path that the country was heading was never beneficial. His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is fearlessly committed to change that direction for the sake of the future of this country.
9.1 We have embarked on a journey to build the country initiating with the introduction of organic agriculture and an economy of renewable energy to move away from the traditional route we have been on. The infrastructure facilities that we provide, not only benefits the construction sector, but also facilitates the market connectivity, health and public services and the education sector to develop. Enrichment of biodiversity and environment conservation generates sustainability. The budget of the country, balance of payments and banks and finance sectors should together contribute to it. Human Resource Development should be targeted to build a stable social economy. I believe that the path for establishing an independent sovereign state is through such an approach.
9.2 Many developing countries have now become prosperous nations. Scholars and businessmen of our country migrated for employment in those countries. Those countries became prosperous not only because of the physical infrastructure such as modern airports and ports, expressways and apartments. But because the economies of those countries were strong.
Their institutions like banks, ports, customs and Inland Revenue developed in tandem with through the utilization of technological advancements.
Those countries achieved a trade surplus by exporting value added industrial and technological products instead of exporting primary raw materials. Instead of maintaining deficit budgets for more than 70 years, they increased the government revenue exceeding the expenditure and created a saving within the budget.
9.3 These countries also were willing to allow their public and private entities to become profitable by allowing professional management’s operational freedom without getting obsessed with the ownership, resulting in these entities and the countries becoming prosperous. They established facilities to draw students from foreign countries. Having developed the health facilities to high standards, these countries were able to attract the foreigners including ours to these medical facilities. Banks and financial institutions were turned from being primary commercial banks that maintain deposits and loan accounts to financial institutions equipped with a range of fully-fledged instruments.
9.4 The Budgetary framework that I presented to make our country a prosperous land can be made a turning point only though embarking on a development route of similar to those “prosperous countries”. That is why the support and approval of is required of all the Members of this House, upon whom this responsibility is bestowed.
9.5 It is my utmost duty to thank all of you before concluding my budget speech.
- I respectfully thank Venerable Chief Prelates and all venerable sirs, Religious leaders of Hindu, Catholic and Islam religions for the blessings extended for the preparation of the budget.
- I wish to extend my gratitude first to His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa for giving me this opportunity to formulate a futuristic people’s budget at this challenging hour.
- I wish to thank to our exemplary leader Hon. Prime Minister for all the noble guidance given.
- I would like to extend my gratitude to Hon. Speaker for making available all the facilities and support to present my maiden budget speech.
- Hon. Ministers, Hon. State Ministers, Hon. Members of Parliament, your unstinted support is much appreciated.
- I place my respectful thanks to Secretary to His Excellency the President, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and the entire staff of the Ministry of Finance, All Secretaries to Ministries and State Ministries, Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries, Heads of Departments and Government Institutions and the entire public service.
- I thank the Secretary General of Parliament and his entire staff.
- I also thank Hon. Governors and former Members of Provincial Councils, Representatives of Local Government agencies for the critical support they extended.
- I respectfully thank all the private sector chambers of commerce, civil organizations, trade unions, representatives of professional bodies for their active engagement in formulating the budget.
- I thank all the citizens including rural community leaders.
- I thank all the constituent parties of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and all the organizations therein.
- In addition to all of this, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow countrymen who patiently waited for the presentation of the budget having endured the toughest of times during the Covid pandemic.
In conclusion of my budget speech I would like to quote a thought from Mahagamasekera one of our greatest literary figures.
All gather here
Let us come together
Let us make this world a better place than it is now.
May the Triple Gem Bless you all!