2021 SL budget to be presented on Nov 17

Sri Lanka’s budget for 2021 will be presented to Parliament on November 17, said Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle, adding that it will contain fiscal consolidation measures aimed at reducing deficit.

He made the announcement while addressing the media at the Finance Ministry here on Wednesday, The Daily Financial Times reported.

The Treasury Secretary acknowledged that the budget deficit for 2020 would be 9 per cent but insisted that this was largely due to expenses that were carried over from the previous year and also Covid-19 related expenses.

However, he assured that the government was working to reduce the deficit to about 4 per cent over the next few years.

“Obviously we cannot reduce the deficit at once. But we hope to gradually reduce it from next year. One of the main reasons for the Budget deficit to increase to 9 per cent this year was unpaid bills by the State.

“Of the 242 billion LKR that was owed, 226 billion LKR has already been disbursed. Once these payments reach the rest of the economy, including banks, we are anticipating a resurgence of growth in the third and fourth quarters,” he added.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance, will present the Appropriation Bill to Parliament, reports the Colombo Page newspaper.

The government will present the budget based on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Vistas of Prosperity’ Policy Statement targeting people centric development, economic development and welfare for the people.

In addition the government will put forward proposals in the budget to revitalize the collapsed businesses and business sector, the Secretary added.