The ‘2018 Budget, Blue Green Enterprise Sri Lanka’ got underway in Parliament today with Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera delivering the Budget speech.
The Parliament session got underway with the arrival of the Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya and the placing of the mace. Minister Samaraweera commencing his opening address said the 2018 Budget is focused on sustainable development goals.
The Minister said the biggest challenge the government faced after taking over in January 2015 was the country’s economy and the debt burden while ensuring and maintaining peace and reconciliation highlighting equality. The Minister noted another issue the country faced last year was disaster situations as a result of climate change.
Minister Samaraweera commended Former Minister of Finance Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake for working towards lifting the country out of the present debt trap and arriving at timely and straightforward decisions. The Finance Minister noted the government has now begun uplifting the economy while state income that was poor has now been strengthened.
The Finance Minister set out economic targets through the 2018 Budget with the economic development target to be maintained at 5% while the Budget deficit will be maintained at 4.5% and inflation will be maintained at under 6%.
In the vehicular category the 2018 Budget proposed all vehicles used by state employees to be hybrid or electric by the year 2025. The Finance Minister also proposed the special luxury tax to be imposed on vehicles above 2500CC engine capacity while the tax on diesel three-wheelers will be increased by Rs.50,000.
The Minister noted that substandard vehicles will not be imported to the country while proposing that 50 electric buses will be purchased in future. A carbon tax will be imposed on new vehicles including cars, motorcycles, and buses.