Sri Lanka's 2000 budget details

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 February 2000, 18:51 GMT]
Sri Lankan Government has increased its defence expenditure in this year's budget by 11.5 percent, to 52.43 billion Rupees, while about 10 billion rupees have been cut from total expenditure.

The defence expenditure was 47.352 billion rupees in 1998 and 44.999 billion rupees in 1999. However, these sums were later raised considerably through supplementary estimates.

The police are also to get a salary increase according to the budget presented today in the parliament by President Kumaratunga.

Pension payments will be increased by 400 rupees for those receiving less than 4000 rupees monthly, and licence fees on televisions and radios have been scrapped.

In the de-centralised budget, parliamentarians representing the north-east will be allocated 250 million rupees more this year.

The leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe welcomed the President's move to present the budget in Parliament herself, as the minister of finance. However, he urged her to also be present in the house during debates on the proposed budget.

He said the budget was a burden for ordinary people as the government had already increased prices of diesel, kerosene and liquid petroleum gas.

Last Monday, the government increased the price of diesel and Kerosene by 23 and 49 percent per liter respectively.

The Passport fee has also been increased in the budget.

Security was tightened in parliament for the President's visit and opposition members complained to the speaker about members of the Presidential Security Division searching inside the parliament building.

(One US dollar is approximately Rupees 72.15)

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