Colombo, Nov 13 (newsin.asia) – This is the 76th budget of an independent Sri Lanka. It is also the second budget of the incumbent government and the first presented by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
The annual state expenditure for next year will be Rs. 3,192 billion and the total revenue will be Rs. 2,284.
According to the minister, the budget deficit for the financial year 2022 is Rs. 1,628 billion which is 8.8 as a percentage.
Minister Basil Rajapaksa said the government will make every effort to reduce the budget deficit to 8.8% in 2022, 6.1% in 2024, and 4.8% in 2025. “We expect a balanced budget in 2028.”
Rs. 15,000 Mn to be allocated for relief packages to low-income families
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa says an allocation of around Rs. 15,000 million will be made to implement a program identifying low-income families at the Grama Niladhari Division level and to provide them with relief packages to alleviate the pressure of the soaring cost of living.
In addition, he proposed to extend the provision of the nutrition package for pregnant women, each valued at Rs.10,000 for a period of 24 months.
The minister proposed Rs. 400 million, Rs. 600 million and Rs. 1,500 million have been allocated for to provide relief to three school transport vehicle owners, three-wheeler owners, and private bus owners, respectively.
Additional Rs. 30,000m allocated to rectify teacher-principal 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, he said, delivering the 2022 Budget Speech.
Cigarette price to increase
Tax on cigarettes is proposed to be increased with immediate effect.
Accordingly, the current retail price of a stick of a cigarette will be moved up by Rs. 5.00.
The government expects a revenue of Rs. 8 billion through this initiative, he noted.
In addition, the excise tax is proposed to be increased with immediate effect. An additional revenue of Rs. 25 billion is expected through this tax increase.
Special Commodity Levy to be effective from next January 2022
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa today (November 12) put forward a proposal in Budget 2022 to implement the Special Commodity Levy with effect from January 01 next year.
Legal provisions for this tax have already been drafted, the lawmaker added.
Minister Rajapaksa delivered his inaugural budget speech in Parliament earlier today.
Rs. 1,000 Mn for facilities for senior citizens and special needs people
Delivering the budget speech, the minister said such funds will be utilized to establish the necessary facilities at village level, facilitating the senior citizens a healthy and happy lifestyle, while also improving the facilities required for those with special needs.
As per population projections, there is a need for a unique social safety programme to safeguard the rapidly ageing population, he stated further, proposing the establishment of a contributory pension scheme for senior citizens who do not receive pensions at present.
Fuel allowance for ministers, public servants to be slashed
Budget 2022 has put forward a proposal to reduce the fuel allowance provided to ministers and government officers by 5 litres per month and to cut down the telephone expenses of government institutions by 25 percent.
This was suggested by Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa in the budget speech, delivered in the Parliament today (November 12).
“I firmly believe that the public sector should also contribute to promoting national savings. For this, it is also required to reduce Recurrent Expenditure,” the lawmaker noted.
He also proposed to slash the provisions for electricity by 10 percent in order to encourage the shift to electricity generated through solar power.
Construction of new state institutions to be suspended for two years
Assets of many of these enterprises are underutilized, he said, urging his fellow ministers, their secretaries and heads of departments to provide leadership to utilize these assets to the maximum.
It is necessary to utilize the allocated capital expenditure for development activities that directly benefit the public, while productively using the existing office facilities, the finance minister emphasized.
He further proposed to include amendments to the Appropriation Bill preventing requests for Supplementary Estimates for 2022 by all Ministries.
Proposal to establish telecommunication network covering entire country
He said all schools across the island will be provided with Broadband internet connectivity using Fiber Optic technology.
Accordingly, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRCSL) will be given necessary financial and technological support for this purpose.
He pointed out that the shortcomings in telecommunications connectivity and internet access were underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Govt. to extend retirement age of public servants to 65 years
Delivering the budget speech in the parliament today (November 14), the minister noted that the average life expectancy has increased and that the ageing population of the country is on the rise.
As they are also able to engage in active service for a longer period of time, it is essential to make use of their experiences and maturity, he added, proposing to extend the age limit for public servants’ pension.
Annual Warrant for state expenditure to be made Quarterly Warrant
This budgetary proposal expects to encourage state institutions to preplan their procurements, salaries, allowances, loans services and maintenance expenditures for establishing financial discipline, the finance minister added.
Pension eligibility period for MPs to be extended
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has proposed to extend the minimum period a Member of Parliament must serve to be eligible for the pension to 10 years.
He made this remark delivering the Budget 2022 in the Parliament today (November 12).
At present, a parliamentarian must serve at least five consecutive years to be eligible for pension.