Creating a future for the Country
Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara described the 2024 Budget proposals as one which envisaged strategies to make development and economic growth inclusive, and a beneficent process to the people. There was widespread belief that this Budget will not have any positive proposals.
However, the President presented a Budget which will create a future for the country, making all those allegations false. This is a Budget that changes the country positively in the long term. This Budget does not contain any fairy tales. There is a country-building program in this document. Some solutions have been given to the economic problems of the people at this time. A certain amount of relief has been given to government service, pensioners, farmers, subsidized people, students and students in any field of vocational training. This is not a Budget aimed at elections. No matter what we do, the Opposition abuses them because it is doing hypocritical politics.
MP Premnath C. Dolawatte, commenting on the Budget 2024 said this can be called a kind of a concessional Budget. In particular, the CoL allowance of government employees has been increased by Rs.10,000. Allowance for elderly persons has also been increased. A proposal has been made to give full ownership of the flats to the people living in those Colombo flats. Steps have been taken to increase the construction of new universities. A number of such positive points have been presented in this year’s Budget.
The people specially need some relief under the sustainable economic program. This has been proposed in this year’s Budget. The Government has given some kind of relief to the people including State employees, while taking measures to continue strengthening the economy. In this process, the country can moved forward under a sustainable program.
One hand gives while the other takes
MP G.L. Peiris said that government employees will get an allowance of Rs10,000 from April next year. The arrears of the allowance during the period between January and April, will be received from October next year. VAT of 18% has already been charged. What the Government is doing is giving from one hand and taking from the other. From today, due to the VAT, transportation, food, and health expenses are increasing. Electricity has been disconnected for 788,000 families. Their electricity has been disconnected because they cannot bear such high expenses.
A deceptive Budget
MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said this is a deceptive Budget. So many proposals have been introduced, but it does not mention how to find funds to implement these programs? It is necessary to impose taxes or apply for loans to find money. Otherwise we need to print the money and it is also a kind of borrowing.
No new solutions to existing crises
National People’s Power (NPP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said its following the same old method, as this Budget is also based on seeking loans and selling State assets, He alleged that Government had increased the loan borrowing limit by a further Rs. 3,400 billion than what was initially proposed. Budget 2024 has not provided any new solutions to the existing crisis in the country, he added.
Will support only positive proposals
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa MP commenting on Budget 2024 presented by President Ranil Wickremasinghe, said they are ready to extend the fullest support for the implementation of all positive proposals and cannot extend support for the proposals they cannot agree with.
“We have not yet deeply examined the proposals and it takes some time before making any comments,” he said.
He added that he didn’t make any contribution to the Budget preparation process and had no idea whether other members of his party participated in the Budget preparation process.
Proposals sans Plans for implementation is useless
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Colombo District MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Budget 2024 proposals presented by President Ranil Wickremasinghe has clearly shown us that the Presidential Election will definitely be held next year.
The President has already prepared for the election and given some relief to the public through the Budget, targeting the election. “Rs 10,000 allowance granted for the public servants would come into effect from April 2024. So, most probably, the election would be held between April and October next year.” said the MP.
Proposals can be made, but there should be a proper plan to implement those proposals. Proposals without Plans is useless. So it seems that Budget 2024 has totally targeted the election.
A retail Budget to appease IMF
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said the Budget speech started on the basis of Buddhism. However, it is an insult to Buddhism once this document is carefully analysed. This is a ploy to deceive the people of the nation. This is a retail Budget presented by the President, because the income targets of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could not be completed and they are unable to obtain the second IMF tranche.
Before talking about the program to strengthen the lives and livelihoods of the working people in this Budget, the Government should consider how many proposals of Budget 2023 have been implemented. The Government has failed to implement a large number of proposals promised in Budget 2023.
Builds a stable monetary economy in the long-term
State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the Opposition is still traditional. The Opposition is still thinking about the financial management of the normal country. But we should not forget that our country had fallen into a very deep abyss. We are living in a country where the economy has been negative for about two years. Everyone was having a hard time. People are under the impression that no new tax burden will be imposed. The Government has to manage all these sides. We want to maintain our primary service positively. We also cannot control the Budget deficit as we need. There is a limit. The debts we take affects the Budget deficit. We take loans locally and from abroad. Foreign debt is being restructured. Therefore, we have strict restrictions on foreign loans. We get local loans by getting money from Treasury bills when needed. We can’t print money now.
Our expectation is to fulfil the needs of the people in the short term and build a stable monetary economy in the long-term. We have not had a political problem, but an economic problem for about a year and a half. There is an income pattern in this country. We have to adjust our expenses to match that income. We have a long-term sustainable economic program. That is why we are taking steps not to expand the public service furthermore.
Preparation for a long-term stable economy
MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse said the country has received the result of efforts made to bring a country that had collapsed to normal status within a period of about a year. Accordingly, henceforth the Budget proposals have been presented with the aim of establishing a stable economy, apart from political objectives. We can see the Budget presented by the President as a preparation for a long-term stable economy. We cannot do everything in two years. The basic foundation for that was laid today. Proposals have been presented in this Budget for the complete transformation of Education, which is essential for the country. The Budget has also taken steps to give priority to the country’s Educational reforms from pre-childhood education to higher education.
Best Budget presented at a crucial time
Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranathunga said that no one expected such a Budget. This is the best Budget presented in the crucial time. The President also invited the Opposition to present, if there are better alternatives for this Budget. It can be seen in the debate to be held in the future. The decisions taken by the Government were not popular decisions. We were able to maintain a proper system conducive for applying for loans from the IMF.
Moving forward in a stable way
Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self Employment and Business Development State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said there was a serious economic crisis in this country. We are now gradually recovering from it. We have to move forward in a stable way. The Opposition’s allegations have been resolved on a certain level through this. The people will get some benefits from this Budget.