says budget before polls “inappropriate”
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said last week the presentation of
the Budget immediately prior to the Presidential polls was “inappropriate”.
“Presidential Candidates, who prepared their manifestos independent
of the government budgetary process, would require manoeuvrability
for their implementation. It may also be construed as being influenced
by considerations relating to the Presidential Election to be held
on November 17, although, in actual fact, this may not be the case,”
the chamber said in a statement.
Chamber also noted that countries such as India prohibit, by regulation
or by convention, the presentation of a national budget during the
period of the proclamation and holding of an election of national
The Chamber Committee also decided to urge the government to amend
the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act No. 3 of 2003 (FMRA),
to enable the provisions relating to a general election to be applied
to a Presidential Election, as well. The FMRA entails the release,
by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance to the public, of a
pre-election budgetary position report, containing information on
the fiscal position of the country, within three weeks of the publication
of the proclamation order requiring the holding of a General Election,
the statement said.
chamber is also holding a joint budget seminar in association with
the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, to analyse
and explain the implications of the budget proposals, at the Colombo
Plaza Hotel on November 11, three days after the November 8 budget.
It also welcomed the recent passing of the Tourism Act in parliament
which provides a pivotal role in the overall decision-making process
of the industry. “Very importantly, the Cess currently charged,
will largely fund the proposed Tourism Bureau, which will have majority
representation from the private sector,” the chamber said.
At the Committee Meeting of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the
stakeholders’ views on the Terminal Handling Charge (THC)
and Port Charges were discussed, with the participation of several
Stakeholders such as Port Users and Port Operators, represented
by the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council, The Ceylon Association
of Ships’ Agents (CASA), the Chamber’s Import Section
and the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (EASL). In view
of the diverse views expressed on ways to reduce the charges, the
Committee decided to urge the government to appoint a Port Regulator
who will have the requisite expertise and background knowledge to
make a fair determination.