President Mahinda Rajapaksa, presenting his government’s eighth consecutive budget in Parliament yesterday, offered a
1,500 rupee monthly allowance for each state sector employee,
Rs. 1,000 million to ease the burden of drought battered farmers,
a 5,000 rupee monthly allowance for the July strikers over 65 years of age and
an import tax exemption for racing cars.
He invited Opposition parties to cooperate with the government to solve problems confronted by the people.
Summarising the macro economic vision of his government for the next two years, the President said that budget 2013 had been framed to ensure that the economy would bounce back at an average growth rate of 7.5 percent next year and eight percent thereafter.
"The underlying fiscal strategy will contribute to a budget deficit of 5.8 percent in 2013 and move towards a deficit of 4.5 percent by 2015, with public debt below 75 per cent of the GDP," President Rajapaksa said.
"I assure children and parents of this nation, through this August assembly, that this government under no circumstance will compromise its commitment to deepen the scope of free education."
Against this backdrop, the President said that the expenditure on education would be increased by 15 percent in 2013.
He proposed to exempt businesses having an annual turnover less than Rs. 12 million from the Nation Building Tax and Value Added Tax with effect from January 2013.
"I propose to raise the Airport Tax by US$ 10 and the Online Visa Fee by US $ 5 from January 2013. I also propose to update several administrative fees and charges which have not been updated for several years. I also propose to introduce amendments to the Finance Act requiring all regulatory agencies and government departments to transfer revenue in excess of the required establishment expenditure and a three month working capital requirement, to the Consolidated Fund, once in three months. "I propose to increase duties by 10-20 percent on all vehicles imported under concessional schemes," he said.
"I propose to allocate Rs. 300 million annually to grant a monthly living allowance of Rs 5,000 to July strikers who complete 65 years of age on January 1, 2013.
"I propose to increase the allowances given to public sector servants by a minimum of Rs 1,500 per month from next year. A Cost of Living allowance of Rs. 750 per month will be paid from January to all public servants. The balance will be provided by granting a further five percent of the basic salary subject to minimum of Rs 750 and a maximum of Rs 2,500 as an additional allowance, to all public servants. I propose to grant 50 percent of the proposed 5 percent increase from May 2013 and the balance from September. All those in staff categories will be given 50 percent from July and the balance from October 2013. I also propose to revise the service related allowances formulated for judges, university academic staff, medical practitioners, and specialised categories, recognising their special role within the affordable limits in the budget and capacity to sustain them over the medium term and grant 50 percent of the increase from January 2013 and the balance from July."
It is also proposed to increase the registration fees on betting businesses to Rs. 2 million and on gaming activities to Rs 100 million. "I also propose to impose a 5 percent tax on the turnover of a gaming business," he said.
In order to provide some relief to retired public servants, the President said it was proposed to grant a special allowance of Rs 750 per month to those who retired before 2004, and Rs 500 per month to those who retired from 2005 to 2006. "I propose to grant 50 percent of this increase from January 2013 and the balance from July 2013. I also propose to increase the cost of living allowance to all pensioners by Rs 500 per month from January 2013."
He proposed an allocation of Rs 200 million to finance the continuance of the interest free loan scheme for media personnel and artistes.
The second reading on the Appropriation Bill will commence today (9) and will continue until November 17 (seven allotted days). The second reading vote will be taken at 6.00 p.m. on November 17. The committee stage debate will begin on November 19 and continue until December 8 (16 allotted days). The third reading vote will be taken on December 8.
Rs. 1500 to be added as an allowance for state sector employees.
Rs. 1500 to be added as an allowance for state sector employees.
A National Wage Policy is to be formed by a new wage commission.
All persons above 65 years of age and have no permanent livelihood will receive a grant of Rs. 5000. Rs 300 million is to be allocated for this.
Tax on foreing liquor to be increased by 25%
Revenue license fees charged for motor vehicles to be increased by 10-20%.
President proposes to impose the nation building tax to supermarkets and high end businesses that have a revenue exceeding Rs 500 million per quarter.
Government is planning to reduce the number of house maids and increase the number of skilled workers sent for foreign employment.
Foreign employees who intend to build houses will receive a loan of Rs. 250,000 at an interest rate of 10%.
Rs 200 million is to be allocated for the well being of journalists and artistes.
Rs 300 million is to be allocated for the ICT sector and the number of Nena Sala centers are to be increased.
Allocations for the education sector has been increased by 15% and University lecturers' professional integrity will be improved and preserved, says President.
Rs 306 billion is to be allocated to the education sector which will amount to 4.1% of the Gross Domestic Production ( GDP).
Differently abled people should gain equal access to public buildings and facilities should be given for them to operate teller machines, says President.
Rs.125 billion is to be allocated to improve health services in the country.
Allocations to improve urban housing is to be increased by Rs 750 million.
Direct contribution from the local construction companies to foreign investments should be encouraged, says President.
Selling lands to foreigners for tourism purposes is to be banned.
Taxes are to be reduced for vehicles that are used for racing.
Rs. 60 million is to be allocated for the 2013 Deyata Kirula exhibition which will be held in the Polonnaruwa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts.
$ 5000 million is expected from the apparel sector as revenue.
President says that subsidies given for plantation companies will only be granted for those companies which have improved the living standards of estate workers and for those who maintain the quality of their products.
Subsidies given to small tea holders for one hectare is to be increased from Rs 300,000 to Rs. 350,000
Rs. 2000 million is to be allocated to develop fishing harbours.
One litre of fresh milk is to be purchased at Rs 50 and higher taxes are to be maintained for imported milk powder.
Permits are to be given to tap coconut trees to produce jaggery and other products.
President says that he intends to make Sri Lanka 50% self sufficient with big onions, dried chilies and potatoes.
One Kg of rice is to be purchased at a rate between Rs 32-35 and Rs 40 for those farmers who use organic fertilizer.
President proposes to invest Rs.126 billion to provide clean drinking water.
President proposes to allocate Rs.102 billion to develop the irrigation system.
A 50 Kg fertilizer bag is proposed to be given at a rate of Rs 400.
President proposes to allocate Rs 1000 million for drought affected farmers.
President proposes to terminate the interest and to delay the recovering of loans given to farmers until the Maha harvesting season arrives.
$ 2.5 billion is expected from tourism sector.
President proposes decreased taxes for all private investments.
President proposes a pair of shoes and a nuitritious meal for the children in rural areas.
President proposes increased allocations to improve living standards and nuitrition of children of lower income groups.
The trade deficit will drop to 4.5% in 2015, says President.
Prices of essential goods are stable, says President.
Import expenses have dropped from Rs 20 billion to Rs 18 billion.
President says that he intends to increase Sri Lanka's per capita income upto 4000 US $
President proposes relief to be given to the families of war heroes.
President proposes that Rs 1000 million should be allocated for the Ranaviru Seva Authority
President says that he intends to hold Provincial Elections in the North next year to strengthen the democratic process.
President extends his gratitude to the Speaker, Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition for successfully handling the 58 Commonwealth Meeting
The President arrives at Parliament to deliver the 2013 Budget.