Annual Budget 2019 presented in Parliament today

5 March 2019 - 3515   - 0

04:17 PM
The Finance Minister completes his speech thanking officials and others.
04:17 PM
Tax on casinos increase to Rs. 2 million annually. Entrance fee increased to $50.
04:16 PM
Local arrack tax rate remains. Taxes on foreign liquor changed.
04:15 PM
Rush hour expressway charges increased from April
04:15 PM
Vehicle number plates: If one wants to personalise number plate, charge will be Rs 1. million.
04:13 PM
Air ticket sales tax to be increased to Rs 3,500
04:13 PM
3.5 % NBT in place of existing stamp duty for foreign payments by debit/credit cards from August.
04:12 PM
Cess on vehicles: Super luxury vehicles will be revised. Small vehicle tax will be increased marginally.
200 per cent cash margin for opening LCs will be removed.
04:11 PM
Cigarettes: Tobacco cess to be increased from June 1. NBT will be introduced for cigarettes.
Price of cigarettes will be increased by Rs.5 per stick.

04:08 PM
Debt relief to be given to 45,000 women in Kurunegala, Puttalam and many areas in the North.
04:07 PM
Rs. 100 million for toddy production and bottling facilities in the North.
04:06 PM
Rs. 400 million allocated for reconciliation awareness creation through the PM's office.
04:06 PM
To fast track development in the Northeast, Rs. 5 billion allocated for palmyrah development over 2 years.
04:04 PM
Rs. 200 million allocation for Madhu Shrine development.
04:04 PM
Economic development framework for the Northern Province.
04:03 PM
Solar power for temples upto Rs 300,000 allocated.
04:03 PM
Sri Lanka cultural values to be enhanced. Artistes to be provided with royalty payment in a systematic manner. Their income upto Rs 50,000 will be exempt from income tax.
04:01 PM
Rs. 50 million allocated for promotion of mangrove plantations
03:59 PM
Sri Lanka is a disaster prone country. Rs 1 billion allocated for state sponsored insurance scheme in this connection.
03:58 PM
Rs 1 billion for Colombo beautification programme.
03:58 PM
Bribery Commission to be strengthened with Rs 100 million allocation. Present anomalies to be rectified with Rs 12 million allocation.
03:56 PM
Rs 1 billion allocated to clean national parks.
03:55 PM
New beach clean up of plastics scheme to be launched.
03:55 PM
Social security schemes: Samurdhi movement to be reorganised with 600,000 beneficiaries to be added for which Rs 10 billion has been allocated. Beneficiaries can also withdraw Rs.30,000 from their accounts in Samurdhi banks for the first time.
03:50 PM
Govt. responsive to gender-based budgeting to increase women participation in the workforce.
03:49 PM
Security forces allowances have not been increased over the last 10 years. Army commando allowance to be increased by RS 5,000, rent allowance also increased and similar increases for Navy and Air Force.
03:45 PM
Pensioners: Normal pensioners payment increased by Rs 1,600, teachers by Rs. 4,600 and Ministry secretaries by Rs. 12,000.
585,000 pensioners will be benefited by this move.
03:42 PM
Rs 2,500 rupee allowance to be given to government workers.
03:39 PM
Rs 5 billion allocated to develop railway compartments and to be maintained by the private sector.
03:38 PM
250 buses to be added to SLTB fleet. 1000 luxury buses will be added to the private sector fleet. A loan facility will be given to bus owners to purchase these buses from Korea with a repayment that would include a 5 year grace period.
03:35 PM
Centralised bus exchange to be set up with Rs. 1.3 billion.
03:33 PM
New regulations from 2020 to assist differently abled persons entry/exit in buildings.
03:32 PM
Rs 750 million allocated to upgrade Bogambara prison as a public place.
03:30 PM
Aruwakkal project will solve solid waste issue in Colombo. This project will be extended to Kandy, etc.
03:24 PM
Free blood transfusion in 45 hospitals for kidney patients.
03:23 PM
NVQ certification will be given to Sri Lanka army. Sportsmen and women will be trained by the army in rural areas. Infrastructure facilities for this purpose will be improved at Rs 24 billion.
03:19 PM
Rs. 10,000 each will be given to those following nursing diploma courses.
03:19 PM
Nursing diplomas to be encouraged.
03:18 PM
IT, construction and tourism training centres in institutes that have not been fully utilised.
03:18 PM
AL qualified students who are able to enter universities will be given a loan with 2 years grace (repayment) and payback in 12 years. Rs 12 million allocated for this purpose.
03:16 PM
Cancer research unit to be established at the Sri Jayawardenapura University.
03:15 PM
Regulation for pre school education. Teachers to be trained at these institutions.
03:14 PM
Students who pass the ALs with distinctions will be sent to Harvard, Cambridge and MIT to further their education. 14 to be sent this year.
03:12 PM
A Levels: Those who pass with distinctions will receive a scholarship to complete their tertiary educattion through a fund called C Fund.
03:10 PM
Education: Rs 32 billion for improving education infrastructure facilities.
03:09 PM
Update minimum standards on sanitaryware by April 1.
03:09 PM
Three year residential visa for construction sector foreign workers.
03:07 PM
Entrance fee to national parks reduced by 50 per cent.
03:06 PM
Refurbishment support for hotels; reduction in cess levy
03:05 PM
Tourism: NBT on foreign currency receipts by hotels removed. Travel agents to remit in dollars.
03:03 PM
Revenue Intelligence Unit to be established to broaden revenue collection.

New Customs Act towards developing appeals process.
03:02 PM
IT industry to attract Arts graduates to be employed and trained in this sector particularly for those unemployed.
03:01 PM
Bingiriya, Wagawatte industrial zones: Rs 500 million allocated.
03:00 PM
Capital Markets: Scripless Sri Lanka development bonds will be offered.
03:00 PM
Financing start-ups: Limited liability financing will begin this year.
02:59 PM
Enterprise Innovation project to be set up to assist innovation for a period of 3 years.
02:59 PM
10 per cent of all HS codes which are sensitive items will not be subject to a phasing out of para tariffs.
02:57 PM
Export cess to be phased out and  para tariffs to be removed.
02:56 PM
Housing loans for Sri Lankan migrant workers of 15 years duration with 2 years grace period.
02:53 PM
Newly married couples to be offered Rs 10 million loan at 6 per cent interest.
02:53 PM
Wadduwa, Ragama, Yakkala housing schemes to be completed this year.
02:52 PM
North and East 15,000 houses to be built.
02:51 PM
Dompe identified for a Rs 50 million programme to train women who are in prison, in crafts.
02:50 PM
Drugs: Ambepussa and Weerawila have been identified to rehabilite drug addicts.
02:49 PM
Most prisoners involved in drugs. It is not drug lords who are imprisoned but drug addicts and small time drug pedlers. We need to go after the drug lords.
02:47 PM
Rs. 5000 to be provided to disabled people and the poor.
02:45 PM
Labour laws to be changed to allow women to work from home.
02:44 PM
We need to encourage more women to be on the boards of listed companies.
02:44 PM
The number of women in business is limited. We need to promote more women.
02:42 PM
Child care centres to be established in offices across Sri Lanka with over 250 officers.
02:41 PM
Across Sri Lanka, a large numner of persons don't have access to proper toilet facilities.
02:40 PM
Rs. 4 billion to be allocated towards sanitary facilities for low income groups.
02:38 PM
In Monaragala, 25,000 -people are without proper toilet facilities.
02:38 PM
Around 100,000 people in the Hambantota district without sanitary facilities.
02:36 PM
Primary school children will be given a free glass of milk.
02:36 PM
14 per cent increase in fish exports with a sharp rise in earnings.
Rs 1.3 billion allocated for fishing ports development.
02:34 PM
Rs 1 billion allocated for small and micro industrial development.
02:33 PM
Plantation workers are facing issues regarding their wages. the SL Tea Board will provide immediate relief following discussions.
02:31 PM
Cinnamon industry training institute to receive Rs 75 million for upgrading.
02:30 PM
Coconut industry licencing scheme to be eased.
02:29 PM
Rs. 800 million allocated for replanting and planting of rubber.
02:28 PM
Storage facilities set up in Dambulla for the agriculture sector. Private sector to be invited to invest. 
02:26 PM
Religious places will be provided with assistance of Rs 1 million and/or Rs. 500,000.
02:24 PM
Enterprise Sri Lanka programme of Rs. 60 billion has already been released to the public. A fund for this purpose will be set up at the Central Bank for the purpose of the loans. 
02:21 PM
Gamperiya programme of Rs 48 billion has been allocated. This programme had been stopped during the 52 day political crisis but has been restarted.
02:19 PM
This year's theme of the budget is enterprise sri lanka - strengthening the public sector and protesting the poor.
02:18 PM
Trade barriers will be removed.
Anti dumping laws will be introduced.
Trade adjustment proposals will be introduced
02:13 PM
The economy we were handed over in 2015 was like a 'ticking time bomb'.
02:12 PM
After a long period of a depreciating rupee, the local currency has appreciated against the US dollar.
02:10 PM
The Minister referred to the stability in the economy and noted its growth.
World market prices of oil have dropped
Due to last year's crisis (52 day political impasse), benefits obtained from the economy wer stalled.
02:05 PM
Minister starts his budget speech.
02:04 PM
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera walks into the chamber to present the budget accompanied by traditional clapping with members from all sides of the House. 
01:39 PM
Stock market trends

The All Share Index was marginally up by 0.21 per cent to 5,766.15 while the S&P was up 0.62 per cent to 2,884.69 at the Colombo stock market, a few minutes before the presentation of the budget. No unusual trends were seen or any 'budget day jitters". 

Turnover as at 1.34 pm was Rs. 545,111 on a volume of 8.25 million shares. - ENDS -
12:57 PM
Sri Lanka's budget for 2019 will be presented by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera at 2 pm today in Parliament.

The budget is said to contain several populist measures with an eye on elections this year.  - ENDS- 

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