Colombo, Nov 9 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, on Thursday presented an environmental and foreign friendly budget for 2018, keeping in line with its international commitments on climate change.
The 2018 Budget, which is Samaraweera’s first after being sworn in as the Finance Minister in May, saw many tax reductions and proposals to strengthen several sectors including foreign direct investment, education, health, tourism and economic development.
Samaraweera said that the government aimed to pursue a ‘Blue Green development strategy’ which would generate growth by utilizing the island’s much under-utilized ocean resources and adopting new and sustainable technologies especially in agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing sectors which will reduce environmental risks and ecological imbalances.
While laying out many proposals, Samaraweera said that all vehicles in the country would be powered by non-fossil fuel sources by 2040 and all government vehicles would be converted to hybrid or electric vehicles by 2025.
“As such, the taxes on the importation of electric vehicles including electric three wheelers, cars and buses will be reduced,” he said.
In order to maintain a tourism friendly environment, Samaraweera said Sri Lanka would upgrade railway stations in key tourist locations, upgrade home stay facilities, promote eco tourism, and establish a tourist friendly tuk tuk programme for the safety of tourists.
Six forts would also be developed and along with the development of domestic airports in the north, south and east.
Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka would also introduce friendlier laws to register businesses in order to attract larger FDIs and establish a high tech innovation park in Pitipana in the Western province of the island country.
The final vote on the budget will be taken up in Parliament in December.