United National Party MP Mangala Samaraweera assuming duties as Finance and Mass Media Minister
- Vote-on-account for first 4 months of 2019 to be presented to parliament today
- 55% of State expenditure under vote-on-account for debt repayment
- Fuel pricing formula revived; price to be revised today
The newly appointed Cabinet of Ministers of the United National Front (UNF) government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday passed a proposal for a vote-on-account for state expenditure in the first four months of 2019 and it will be presented to Parliament today for ratification.
It has been proposed to allocate Rs.1765 billion as State expenditure in the first four months of next year, out of which Rs.970 billion or 55 percent have been allocated for debt services—both capital and interest components.
Finance and Mass Media Ministry said Rs.480 billion have been allocated as recurrent expenditure and Rs.310 billion as capital expenditure.
UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera after assuming duties as Finance and Mass Media Ministry yesterday said the budget for the year 2019 will be presented to parliament in January.
Samaraweera said until that expenditure required for State sector salaries, pensions, fertilizer subsidy, school uniforms, Samurdi and other welfare activities will be covered under the vote-on-account.
He also said fuel prices will be revised today based on lower global oil prices bringing back the pricing formula.
Samaraweera further pointed out the political uncertainty triggered on October 26 has dealt a severe blow to the economy and his first priority would be to take necessary measures to bring the economy back to a sustainable footing.
The uncertainty has resulted in more than Rs.60 billion foreign outflows and the rupee has weakened about 4.1 percent since October 26. All three major international credit rating agencies have downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating on political uncertainty.
Meanwhile Samaraweera said the new government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has no issue working with the President Maithripala Sirisena as both have been lawfully elected by the people.
He also said the members of the previous Cabinet joining the new government will be given Cabinet positions later once such appointments are cleared by the courts.