Year-end budget will be a stimulus package: Bandula

The budget which will be presented to Parliament at the end of the year would take the form of a stimulus package aimed at reviewing the shattered economy, Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana said yesterday.

Minister Gunawardana who was responding to a question raised by Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa in the House said the government intends extending concessions provided on leasing and loans.

“We intend to continue the concessions given on loans and leasing further. Therefore, the year-end budget would take a form of a stimulus package,” the minister said.

“COVID-19 has affected the entire world and it has lost 3.9 trillion dollars as a result. The world has suffered the worst economic crisis since World War II. The global economic summit that was convened during World War II brought about the IMF and World Bank to help the nations. The world had not seen such results during the present crisis,” he added.

However, he said the setbacks prior to COVID-19 pandemic had pushed Sri Lanka towards economic turmoil. He said the Easter Sunday attacks and devaluation of the rupee during the last regime had also contributed to it.

Defending the government's decisions to impose controlled prices for coconuts, he said such a decision was made to prevent exploitation by mafia tradesmen. "Our intention is to save the producers, suppliers and consumers," he said in this regard.

Earlier Mr. Premadasa questioned on the steps the government intends taking with regard to reviving the economy and the sectors such as tourism. He questioned whether loan and leasing concessions would continue. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)

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