Budget speech took 2.43 hours, exceeding the earlier planned 90-minute (shortest in history) speech by more than an hour.
Minister winds up budget speech.
SMS ads - 20 cents tax per message
Liquor tax to be introduced
Sale of imported cigarettes and cigars under new licence scheme
loan repayment tax of 20 cents for every Rs 1000 transaction enforced for three years.
Rs 1.9 trillion has to be paid as debt payments this year.
Fair price shops to be established with the joint support of the government and the private sector
MInister appeals to trade to pass the benefits of a series of reduced taxes on essential goods to consumers
Office of Missing Persons to start this year.
Concessions for companies who employ former war combatants in the North.
Improve livelihoods of those in war-affected areas with Rs 750 million allocation.
Special home for differently-abled women in the North
Child care service for public servants
Common payment system for public servants
National religious shrines and temples of archaeological significance for all religions to be renovated.
Emergency medical insurance for artistes
Racecourse building at Independence Square to be transformed to a design and handicrafts centre
6 banks, DFIBs and 3 state banks facing capital pressures.Bank of Ceylon and People's to raise debt and equity capital.
Capital Markets: Divest holdings in non strategic state enterprises
NBT imposed on liquor from midnight tonight
Police Crimes university to be established
HIV Aids unit to be established at National Hospital Colombo
Production tax on sweetened drinks at 50 cents per gramme of sugar content from midnight tonight
Import tax on sports shoes removed with effect at midnight tonight
100 new rural playgrounds
Post graduate institute for indigenous medicine
Budget speech now more than 90 minutes and crosses the planned 90 minute speech
Medical faculties at Moratuwa, Wayamba and Sabaragamuwa universities
English language trainng unit to be set up at Maharagam Teacher Training College
Rs. 325 billion allocated for education development
Five more technical institutes to be established in Badulla, Ratnapura and Anuradhapura with Swedish support In addition to already set up ones.
Student unable to enter local universities or pay to study abroad will provided vocational training.
National universities to have market oriented courses
Its no fault of A level students being unable to enter local universities. It is the fault of the system
PPP guidelines for several sectors to introduced
Foreigners to be allowed to acquire apartments below the 3rd floor in a condo
Tourist tuk tuks to be encouraged under Tourism Board tul-tuk scheme. Three wheeler drivers can registed for training as tourist guides
Street festivals and Sri Lanka food fests in New York, London and Mumbai next year
Domestic airports developed as PPPs for tourism and aero sports, hand gliding, parachuting and paragliding to be encouraged.
Some railway stations like Nanu Oya and Ella to be declared as archaelogical sites and encouraged for tourism
1% tax on OTAs in travel industry
All tourism providers to be registered by the authorities
Tourism: Home stays to be encouraged to meet shortfall of rooms
NBT removed on gem imports
Flower Council to be established to help horticulture industry
NBT (tax) on coconut products removed
Nautical tourism with standardisation and quality assurance to be established. Yacht sales to receive tax concessions
Product design engineering through megatronics development to be supported
Innovation to be encouraged with state support
Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act and Merchant Shipping Act to be changed
Sri Lanka Standards Institute and national quarantine to be upgraded to be on par with international standards
Moratuwa and Colombo universities and SLIIT to host AI, robotics, etc
Angel fund to be initiated in IT sector to help start-ups and incubators.
150 new ventures to be set up with at least 10 shareholders (each) infusing at least Rs. 10,000 as capital. Govt to provide Rs. 500 million.
Start-up loans schemes to be continued
Differenly able people and women entreprenuers to be given concessional loans
Enterprise Sri Lanka loans scheme to obtain loans for SME sector
Import and export development bank for loans for the SME sector. No collateral but loan based on project viability
Social security network to protect small entrepreneurs
Enterprise Sri Lanka to transform economy, lives
Priority for enterprise development in the economy
Fisheries harbours to be renovated
Govt. will bear 50 % of the cost of accessories for multi day fishing boats
Sum of Rs. 40,000 insurance payment per acre by the state for six varieties of vegetables
Rainwater harvesting to be encouraged in some districts with Rs 1 billion allocation
Virtual blue-green institute to be established
Coastal erosion and coastal pollution eradication for the benefit of tourism and fisheries industries
Telecom towers to be consolidated. A charge of Rs. 2 per call to be charged to the users of the towers.
Research centre to study species at Pinnawela zoo environment
Dehiwela and Pinnawala zoos to be transformed to open zoos and animal friendly.
Jogging tracks, exercise venues, roof gardens as part of the green economy to launched across the country
Environmentally friendly wrapping encouraged.
New vehicle taxes per day:
- motor cycle tax 17 cents
- private buses Rs 2.75
- car Rs 1.78
Vehicles without airbags banned
State buses too would be transformed to "green' vehicles. 50 electric buses to be launched.
Electric 3 wheelers will be encouraged
New luxury tax to be introduced for super--luxury vehicles
Import taxes on electric 3 wheelers and electric buses reduced while tax concessions for other categories too
By 2025 all state vehicles to transform to hybrid or electric vehicles
By 2040 all existing vehicles will be 'green'
Laws to allow flexi hours for workers soon
Blue-green economic programme to be initiated
Proposed to amend Rent Act, Shop and Office Act and change bankruptcy laws
Most laws are archaic just like the1869 Customs Ordinance which need to change
Budget targets a capital account surplus
Budget based on UN sustainable development targets and aimed at creating a green economy
"Green enterprise" the theme of the 2018 budget
The Finance Minister now begins to prepare the budget proposals after the economic review.
Labour market reforms to be considered
Vision 2020 economic reforms will be introduced where property rights will be ensured and capital market reforms introduced
Unemployment to be contained at 4 % (of workforce)
Budget deficit to be reduced to 3.5% of GDP in 2020
Government targets revenue at 20% of GDP
Last year's drought and climate change accounted for a loss of 1 per cent of GDP
Samaraweera praises the former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for good debt management and turning around the economy.
Finance Minister Samaraweera walks in and begins his maiden budget speech and probably the shortest speech in budget history. The speech is scheduled to end at 4.30 pm.
Disruption in the house after opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardene protests over alleged attempt to bar them to come to parliament in unorthodox transportation - bullock carts and push cycles.
Parliament opens for sittings. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in the chair, reads out announcements
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera seen walking in the corridors of Parliament to present the country's 72nd budget for the year 2018, at 3 pm