The Budget presented in Parliament for the balance six months of this year is development oriented. This was referred to by Acting Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama today.
The expected total income for this year is 817.8 Billion rupees. 729 Billion rupees will be secured from taxes while 88.8 Billion rupees is the non-tax estimated revenue. The revenue tax of 160.3 Billion rupees is the revenue tax from international trade. The expected target is 145.2 Billion rupees.
Meanwhile, the Government has decided not to make any changes to the Fertilizer subsidy granted on behalf of the Agriculture industry. Dr. Amunugama said that farmers totalling about two Million will benefit from this continued relief. 35 Billion rupees is allocated from this Budget for the purchase of Paddy at the guaranteed price. The allocation made to grant relief to low income families through the Samurdhi programme is 9.3 Billion rupees. Over 7.3 Billion is allocated on behalf of school children, while the amount set aside to improve the nutritional standards of expectant mothers, breast feeding mothers and children is 2.5 Billion rupees.
The Budget has drawn special attention to the displaced who have taken shelter in welfare camps. They number 25 thousand. 7.5 Billion rupees is allocated on behalf of their food and dry rations.
About 102.5 Billion rupees is set aside for social security via pensions for pensioners totalling about 450 thousand and for disabled soldiers. Priority has been given for the free health service. 13.3 Billion rupees has been proposed to ensure the purchase of drugs for the treatment of resident and outdoor patients.
A notable feature is the provision of 6.65 Billion rupees to the Railway service and the Sri Lanka Transport Board to improve the public transport service. Allocations have also been made to improve water and electricity supplies. Dr. Amunugama told the House that the Budget has also given priority for road development, improving facilities in the Tourism sector and Port development. The Budget deficit is 438.8 Billion rupees. He revealed of plans to bridge the deficit through local funds.