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Friday, 10 November 2017 - 10:40
2018 Budget introduces a wide range of reforms
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The Budget 2018 is expected to keep the Budget Deficit in 2018 at 4.8% of the Gross Domestic Product.
 
While presenting the Budget, the Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said it is time Sri Lanka introduce required reforms to achieve an upper-middle income level.
 
Youth entrepreneurship, digital transformation, IT industry and education are among the top areas looked at through the Budget.
 
Samaraweera said that the government will drive a comprehensive “Multi-National Corporation Outreach” programme (MNC Outreach) to attract global Electronic and Electrical Machinery (EEM) players into the country to create value chain linkages or joint ventures with Sri Lankan EEM exporters.
 
The Finance Minister also said that Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank will be allowed to raise both debt and equity capital.
 
"In raising equity capital, the State will not relinquish the controlling ownership but is willing to allow the divestitures, provided that the depositors and the employees are given the option of becoming shareholders. However, in the interim, we will infuse Rs. 5 billion as equity to BoC in 2017 and a further Rs. 5 billion in 2018. We will also infuse Rs. 2.5 billion as capital into the Pradeshiya Sanwardana Bank in 2017", Mangala Samaraweera said.

Blue - Green development strategy
The Budget 2018 also proposes to introduce a carbon tax where the applicable rates for a motorcycle, car and a passenger bus will be around 17 Cents, Rs. 1.78 and Rs.2.74 per day, respectively.
 
It is expected to raise Rs. 2.5 billion through this tax and the funds will be channeled to protect the environment.
 
Incentives will also be provided to encourage the use of off-grid solar power in establishing electric car charging stations and in agriculture and agro-processing including drip irrigation, poultry, canning, plantation and, in the hotel industry.

 



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