The Sri Lankan government targets an economic growth rate of 8.2 percent and a budget deficit of 4.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the next year, the Appropriation Bill for 2015 submitted yesterday for cabinet approval shows.
The Cabinet of ministers Thursday approved the Appropriation Bill for the Financial Year 2015 submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning.
The next year's budget will be prepared with the aim of maintaining the continuous development move for the next three years.
The General Treasury has conducted Budget discussions with Ministries, Provincial Councils and other stakeholders and accordingly budgetary provisions have been made taking into consideration of the total resources available in the medium term 2015-2017.
Priority has been given for timely completion of ongoing development activities and new development projects identified for implementation during the medium term, based on the priorities identified during the discussions.
Within the medium term 2015-2017, the government expects an estimated total of Rs.1.713 in revenues in 2015 and estimates Rs. 3.053 trillion in total government expenditure.
For this year the government targets a 7.8 percent economic growth and 5.2 percent of GDP budget deficit while expecting the inflation to remain in single digits at 6.0 percent.
The government aims to raise the economic growth to 8.3 percent in 2016 and to 8.4 percent in 2017 while reducing the budget deficit at 3.6 percent of GDP in 2016 and 3.0 percent in 2017. Inflation is expected to remain at 5.0 percent.
The government also aims to reduce the public debt within the 2015-2017 period from the 75 percent of GDP this year to 65 percent of GDP in 2017. The public debt is estimated to be 71 percent of GDP in 2015 and 68.0 percent in 2016.
Sri Lanka also plans to increase the public investment to 6.5 percent of GDP for the next three years from the current 6.0 percent.
The President has proposed to prepare the Budget 2015 within the Medium Term Budgetary Framework from 2015 - 2017 giving priority to increase access to basic infrastructure facilities such as health, education, roads and safe drinking water in districts which are below the national average in social development, basic infrastructure facilities and economic indices.
The government says it focuses on a Medium Term Budgetary Framework mainly to ensure development by creating more livelihood and employment opportunities, food security, energy security and environmental safety with particular emphasis on low income and poor families.