Thank you for being with us and participating in Sri Lanka's first ever Live Blog on the Budget for 2012. You will find below the live coverage of what took place at the reading of the budget on Monday November 21, 2011.
The debate on the second reading of the budget will take place at 9.30am tomorrow.
The President concluded the presentation of his 2nd budget reading.
The President praised the unity of the opposition UNP, and stated “I saw a very good sign today, when Ranil Wickremasinghe told them to stand, they all stood up together. This is very good,” he said.
The Budget deficit in 2012 is forecasted to be 490 million or 6.2 per-cent of GDP.
For government servants in the Executive Professions a ten per-cent increase in salaries is proposed; 5 per-cent in January and another 5 per cent in July. All government servants will receive a 10 per cent increase in salaries.
The President stated that a through investigation of the spirits being produced by sugar plantations would be carried out.
The President paused for a moment in the reading of his budget speech, it seemed that he had lost his place in a very thick document.
The President says a decision has been taken to stop the sale of land to private entities for development and to only give the land for a lease of 99 years. If the land is not used for a specific purpose within the space of a year the lease will be revoked.
The exchange rate is to be depreciated by three per cent to improve exports of the country.
A number of members of the house seem to have their heads bowed and are breathing deeply, they are likely contemplating the positive reforms by the budget.
The President promises to ensure that Sri Lanka is made into a sports-hub, by allocating funds for the improvement of sports facilities, not just in the main cities but all over the island.
The President says “failing an exam is not failing life”. Therefore even if students are unsuccessful at the GCE Ordinary level examination, a number of options are open to them.
500 Million is to be allocated for healthcare improvement.
The President promises to make Sri Lanka a hub for the legal profession, in the same vein that he has promised to make the country a knowledge hub and the “Wonder of Asia”.
He also promises that over 8000 families without electricity can hope to be “enlightened”, thanks to the coming budget.
The President is talking incessantly about the preservation and utilization of water resources. His plans for developing tourism and transport seem heavily depended on water resources.
Revenue taxes for busses and Lorries remain unchanged.
Looks like we can all hope to take up gardening in our free time; the President promises necessary home gardening tools under the new budget. And the heavy rain outside, at the moment, may indicate that the rain-gods are pleased with Sri Lanka’s attempts at going green.
Despite the many promises being made by the President in Parliament at the moment, a Daily Mirror Reader isn’t very convinced.
“Government sector employees will hardly get any benefit from this budget. They have already softened the blow by saying the budget is aimed at increasing productivity and thereby hoping to reduce cost of living. We all know this is another pipe dream and will never happen. They have plenty of money for tamashas in St Kitts but let’s see if they have money to increase salaries of government sector employees. I suspect some nonsensical story will be told for the gullible gallery to swallow hook-line-and-sinker.”
After the walk out of the UNP, things seem to have slowed down in the house and the president is continuing with the budget reading with few interruptions. He is at the moment explaining his plans for agricultural development in the country.
This just in: after a physical confrontation between Harin Fernando and Dilum Amunugama the UNP left the chambers.
More Pics of the clash
The President promises prisons reforms and a speedy hearing of judicial cases.
Looking bored and staring right ahead is Prime Minister D. M Jayaratne. Pushing his hair back and cleaning the sweat off his brow the Prime Minister seems affected by the earlier uproar in the house.
“It’s so easy these days with the opposition, this is why we need an opposition, to scream and cause unrest in the house in this manner” - the President says.
Despite the unrest in the house the President attempts to continue with the reading of the budget, calling on the members to sit down.
The speaker is trying to curb the unrest in the house, with little progress, while the President eggs on the opposition. Repeating the term “I am embarrassed by you people” to the opposition
An increase in nutritional products to families is also being promised.
The President promises and increase in welfare to low income families and this is to be extended to those that have been affected by the war in the North and East.
The President proposed that the welfare scheme for war heroes and their families to grant one lakh to the third child born in each family is to be extended to all those in the Sri Lanka Police in the 2012 Budget. Furthermore Rupees 750 is to be extended to the parents of war veterans.
The President emphasised the importance of not yielding to foreign pressure to solve the internal issues of the country. Reverting to a stance that has been part of the Rajapaksa government since the end of the war in 2009. The President takes every opportunity to bring up this fact, and the budget has sadly been no different
Addressing his brother the Speaker of the House Chamal Rajapaksa, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reminisced about his childhood and their joint ambition to make a difference in the world together.
The President Arrived in Parliament a few moments ago to begin presenting the Budget to Parliament
More images of President's arrival
The Budget will be presented to Parliament today; it is also considered the second reading of the Appropriation Bill. The second reading of the Budget will take place tomorrow.The Committee stage meeting is set to take place on December 1.
The Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA) has called on the government to grant them a Salary increase in the 2012 Budget. FUTA told the Daily Mirror earlier that it is hopeful of getting a of 20 per cent salary increase.
Meanwhile Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa stated that the budget in the coming year will focus on measures to reduce the cost of living, rather than increasing salaries.
“We are focusing more on increasing productivity and thereby reducing the cost of living. We believe this will be more effective than salary increases”-Basil Rajapaksa.
November 21, 2011
In approximately half an hour President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to arrive in Parliament to present the 65th budget of independent Sri Lanka and the third Budget of the present Parliament.
According to previous statements the budget for the coming year hopes to cut the deficit to 6.2 per cent of gross domestic product from 6.8 per cent in 2011 and maintain public investments at over 6.0 per cent of GDP.
The Central Bank has said in statements that it expects an economic growth rate of 8.5 per cent in comparison to the estimated 8.3 per cent this year.
The Daily Mirror team will keep you up to date as the latest news happens for the Budget 2012. A live blog will be ongoing with new insights, the views of interested parties and the little nuances of what is going on in parliament as it happens.
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