Sri Lanka’s 2012 budget was presented in parliament with the aim of achieving development targets in a people’s friendly manner and there was no pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on budget proposals, said Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama at a post budget press conference organized by the Information Department in Colombo on Wednesday.
He noted that the action taken to devalue the rupee was not a fulfillment of any IMF conditions to gain the 7th tranche of $2.6 billion IMF standby facility which has been delayed by the monetary agency.
He revealed that Sri Lanka will get the 7th tranche in the first quarter of next year and an IMF team will visit Sri Lanka for talks shortly, a development that was exclusively reported by the Business Times some weeks back.
There was no connection between the IMF’s decision and the devaluation of the rupee from the budget, he said. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are at a satisfactory level with more than US$7 billion and investor confidence on Sri Lanka is satisfactory and it is growing, he added.
Sri Lanka’s recurrent expenditure has been brought down to manageable levels although it has increased slightly compared to budget 2011. The gap between revenue and expenditure had been brought down to Rs.1.8 billion, he disclosed.
The total estimated expenditure for 2012 is to be Rs.2, 220 billion, necessitating an increase in Recurrent Expenditure from Rs.1, 029 billion in 2011 to Rs.1, 109 billion in 2012, and the Capital Expenditure from Rs.938 billion to Rs.1, 111 billion. The total revenue will be Rs.1, 115 billion. Public Investment has increased from Rs.453 billion in 2011 to Rs.497 billion in 2012 in order to maintain the momentum in the growth rate of eight percent, he revealed.
“The 2012 budget has provided several concessions such as the fertilizer subsidiary, Samurdhi benefits and many more. No benefit has been cut. The government has allocated Rs 40 billion on the fertilizer subsidiary while Rs 32 billion has been set apart for Samurdhi,” he said.