Nov 08, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance will present the budget for the year 2013 today in the parliament.
The Cabinet of Ministers in September approved the 2013 Appropriation Bill with the estimated government expenditure of 2.52 trillion rupees (US$ 19.5 billion).
The Appropriation Bill will be presented to the parliament this afternoon for the second reading after publishing it in the government gazette .The first reading took place on October 09 after it was presented to the parliament for debate by the Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.
The second reading on the Appropriation Bill will commence on Friday 09 and continue till November 17 (seven allotted days). The vote on second reading will take place on November 17 at 6.00 p.m.
The committee stage debate will begin on November 19 and continue until December 8 in 16 allotted days including Saturdays. The final vote on the budget (third Reading) will take place on December 8.
The 2013 Appropriation Bill presented to the parliament to authorize the expenditure required during the 2013 financial year forecasts a 13.5 percent increase in spending from this year's estimate of 2.22 trillion rupees to 2.52 trillion rupees for next year.
A major chunk of the budget is allocated for the Defence and Urban Development Ministry with 289.5 billion rupees. The amount is an increase of nearly Rs. 60 billion from last year's allocations of 229.9 billion rupees. The government has considerably increased spending on urban development which comes under the Defense Ministry.
Allocations to the Education Ministry have been increased by 3.43 billion rupees from last year to 37.9 billion rupees while the Higher Education Ministry has been allocated 27.9 billion rupees, which is an increase of 4.1 billion rupees from 2012.
The total maximum borrowing for 2013 has been increased by 12.6 percent from 2012 to 1.3 trillion rupees.
The President and the General Treasury had consulted each line Ministry and other stakeholders in the preparation of the Appropriation Bill in order to formulate a realistic budget.
The government targets to maintain an economic growth rate of 7% while containing the annual inflation rate under 7%.