Sri Lanka budget aims to boost agriculture, micro & small industries, in empowering the poor

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera presented his second national budget in parliament today aiming to rebuild the economy got hit by the 52-day political crisis last year.

Delivering the budget speech, Minister Samaraweera said a lot of the damage from the October 2018 political coup has been addressed and the economy has again been stabilized.

“We now have the opportunity to continue the work we had done to rebuild the economy,” he said presenting the budget themed “Enterprise Sri Lanka – Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor”.

According to the Minister, this year’s budget is about “creating a nation enriched by extending a helping hand to our people, to help themselves, while protecting and nurturing the poor and the weak, with a strong well targeted social safety net.”

Under the fundamental objective of empowering the people, Minister Samaraweera’s budget proposes to allocate a significant amount of resources to expand the government’s two major development programs Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka.

Gamperaliya program which aims to accelerate village development has been allocated Rs. 48 billion and the allocation for each electorate for 2019 has been increased from Rs. 200 million to Rs. 300 million.

The “Enterprise Sri Lanka” loan scheme launched Island-wide last year to create an entrepreneurial society, particularly amongst the youth, by providing access to capital at concessionary interest rates, based on projects that are presented to the banks has been further expanded and deepened.

Boosting the agriculture and related industries Rs. 2 billion has been allocated to support the “Nangwamu Lanka” Micro and Small Enterprise Development Program.

Government’s program of ensuring ’13 years of Education’ for every child will be further supported this year. As such, Rs. 32 billion has been allocated to improve the laboratories, classrooms, libraries, sanitary and water facilities, teachers’ quarters, etc.

The appropriation bill of 2019 has allocated Rs. 40 billion for increase in public sector salaries. As a result of this, the monthly salary of a lower grade government employee will increase from Rs. 11,730 in 2015 to Rs. 21,400 in 2020.

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