ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday October 7, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 19

President’s 2008 budget doubled

By Chandani Kirinde

The 2008 budgetary allocations for the Office of the President will be doubled to more than Rs 5.75 billion -- with about Rs. 1.43 billion of this going for a new category called ‘development activities’. The Appropriation Bill for next year gives few if any details of new “development activities”.

The money will come by way of Rs. 2.54 billion in recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure has been divided into two categories with Rs 1.77 billion for operational activities and Rs 1.43 billion for development activities. In 2007, the total amount allocated to the Office of the President was a little more than Rs 2.07 billion and there was no category called “development activities.’

Meanwhile more than Rs. 324.8 billion from next year’s budgetary allocations, more than one fifth of the total budget, will go for ministries coming under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. These include the Ministries of Defence, Nation Building, Finance and Planning, Plan Implementation and Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment. Of this amount, the ministries of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order will get over Rs 166.4 billion compared to Rs 139 billion last year. This includes allocations for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Police and Civil Security Departments.

The Finance and Planning Ministry and departments coming under it will get nearly Rs 100 billion, up from 51.48 billion last year while the Ministry of Nation Building which includes the Samurdhi and Upcountry Peasantry Rehabilitation Departments will get nearly Rs. 55 billion.

The Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment Ministry under which the Public Trustee Department as well as the Departments of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim Affairs come will get Rs 1.2 billion slightly up from the Rs 1.07 billion last year. The Ministry of Plan Implementation will get nearly Rs 182 million for 2008 up from around Rs 164 million in 2007. The recurrent expenditure for the Office of the Prime Minister is going up from Rs 123 million in 2007 to around Rs 143 million for 2008 but capital expenditure has come down from Rs 53.4 million this year to Rs 45.3 million for 2008.

The government has also allocated separate funds for the north and east provincial councils for 2008 with more Rs. 10 billion for the Eastern PC and Rs 9.8 billion for the Northern PC. Last year about Rs. 17.1 billion was allocated for the single North East PC.

The Government is seeking parliamentary approval to raise Rs 925 billion for next year as it has already got approval for Rs 591.3 billion for its estimated total budgetary expenditure of Rs 1,516 billion for 2008. The Appropriation Bill be presented to Parliament on Wednesday and the Budget on November 7.

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