The Government’s fifth Budget that will be presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera today will be aimed at empowering the people and nurturing the poor apart from catering to the basic educational, health and livelihood requirements of the population.

Today’s Budget will widen the entrepreneurial and human resources empowerment programmes under the Enterprise Sri Lanka programme. It will also uplift the programme of nurturing the poor by ensuring the basic facilities needed.
Although the 2019 Budget was due to be presented on October 26 last year, it was unexpectedly delayed due to the political turmoil and instability which occurred in the country. As such, a Vote on Account had to be presented in Parliament to cover government expenditure for the first four months of 2019.
“Accordingly, a complete Budget for 2019 will be presented in Parliament today by the Finance Minister,” said State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne. This year’s Budget will include proposals to fast track public infrastructure facilities and widen income generating avenues of the people”, he said.
He said a large slice of government expenditure will go for debt servicing, government service salaries and allowances and pension payments.
Although a large slice of spending will include recurrent expenditure. There will be proposals towards the development of the road network, Education, Health, Law and Order, Agriculture and several other sectors.
A large portion of spending would be devoted to income generating sectors like Information Technology, Tourism, Small and Medium Scale Industrial and new innovations and research sectors.
The Budget will also encourage education, practical and vocational training sectors which will create new technology based job opportunities. Special emphasis would also be laid on creating new job opportunities for women who contribute towards the country’s workforce.
It would include the planning of women friendly work shifts, pro vision of maternity leave, transport and health facilities, and a higher wage structure and allowances.
He said there will be tax relief and other incentives for entrepreneurs and investors starting businesses and industrial ventures in the Northern, Eastern, Uva and North Central Provinces.
The Second Reading debate on Budget 2019 will be held from March 6 to 13. The Committee Stage debate will be from March 13 to April 5.
“The Third Reading and the voting will be held on April 5,” Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dissanayake said.