The Budget 2010 to be presented in Parliament in June will include recurrent expenditure, capital expenditure and advance accounts for the period of July to December as well as the expenses of the public service and settlement of bills and loans being spent under the Vote-on-Account and the withdrawal of money from the consolidation fund.
The budget debate and the debate on the vote of separate ministries will be conducted in parliament after the presentation of the budget in June without any deviation from normal procedure, official sources said.
A senior Finance Ministry official said that the General Treasury has made arrangements to withdraw Rs.440 billion from the Consolidated Fund to meet the expenses of the public service for the period of April 22 and July 22. A sum of Rs. 362 billion appropriated by previous parliament for four months from January to April 2010 has already been spent. One third of the funds already approved by Parliament as supplementary estimates during the current financial year had been included on the Vote-on-Account, he said. He expressed the belief that the budget deficit target of 7.5 percent of GDP could be achieved as the expenditure would be similar to last year.
UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, told the Business Times that the whole procedure is against the Fiscal Management Responsibility law, which is in effect from 2003. He added that there was no legal provision for the President to allocate funds from the Consoidated Fund. He added that the President could only allocate money from the Consolidated Fund when an Appropriation Bill had been presented, and Parliament stood dissolved.
Parliamentary control of finance is a very important function. This will not happen when you have abstract amounts of money allocated to different ministries in this manner. New projects cannot be funded even under the 6-month budget. But under the present circumstances the government would even pass money for such ventures, he said.