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Mar 05, 2019

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to present this year’s budget today

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Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present this year’s budget in parliament this afternoon, with a likely focus on elections later this year. The budget was to be presented last November but was delayed due to political crisis in the country. 

Presidential elections are scheduled later this year and the budget will aim to give a further push to welfare programmes and improve investment climate. The economic growth during 2018 has dipped to record low of 3 percent. Finance ministry said the budget will target a deficit of 4.4 to 4.5 percent of GDP after provisionally reaching a gap of 5.3 percent last year. 

The United National Party (UNP)-led government could not present its budget as planned because President Maithripala Sirisena brought about a regime change on October 26 last year. The new government lasted only for 52 days. After the UNP was restored back to power, it presented a vote on account in parliament to allocate money for the first quarter of this year.

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