Sept 30, Colombo: The government of Sri Lanka has increased the funds allocated for the education and higher education sectors and defense and urban development in the 2013 budget.
The cabinet last week approved the 2013 Appropriation Bill with the estimated government expenditure for 2013 of 2.52 trillion rupees (US$ 19.5 billion).
According to government sources, allocations to the education and higher education sectors have been increased by nearly 14 percent in the budgetary estimates to be presented to the parliament on October 4th.
Allocations to the Education Ministry has been increased by Rs. 3.43 billion from last year to Rs. 37.9 billion while the Higher Education Ministry has been allocated Rs. 27.9 billion, which is an increase of Rs 4.1 billion from 2012.
However, the largest allocation in the 2013 budget is to the Defence and Urban Development Ministry with nearly Rs. 290 billion. The amount is an increase of nearly Rs. 60 billion from last year's allocations of Rs. 229.9 billion. The government has considerably increased spending on urban development which comes under the Defense Ministry.
The allocations made to the President's Office have also increased from around Rs. 6.1 billion in 2012 to over Rs 7.4 billion for next year.
Meanwhile, the President, who, in his capacity as the Finance Minister prepares the budget, will continue to receive suggestions and proposals from different sectors to prepare the 2013 budget.
He is expected to meet the representatives of the chambers of commerce on Thursday to discuss a wide array of proposals put forward by them to strengthen country's industries and businesses.
Chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, Asoka Hettigoda has told the state-run radio SLBC that the proposals that have been already forwarded by the Chamber to the government will also be discussed on Thursday.
The President met with the women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka's Small and Medium Enterprises sector last Friday in order to solicit their views and proposals for the 2013 budget preparations.