'Budget 2015, a future-oriented, inclusive program'
The 2015 Budget is a future-oriented inclusive budget. It is
inclusive, because the budget proposals cover vast sectors of the
economy and not only the business sector.
It is future oriented, because the decisions taken today look at the
scenario in 2020, said National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL)
President Sunil Wijesinha at a media briefing last week.
NCCSL President Sunil
He said that by 2020, the economy will transform to a new level and
businesses that are competitive today will not be competitive in the
same way and, therefore, labour skills that have a high demand today
will not remain the same.
The input-driven economy is gradually transforming to an
efficiency-driven economy and, therefore, the demand for labour and
skills will change. Sri Lanka needs skilled labour and every sector in
the economy experiences a shortage of skilled labour.
At the Budget consultative meetings, NCCSL officials pointed out this
issue and in this Budget steps were taken to address it. The NCCSL
welcomes the proposal to fast track 100,000 diploma and certificate
holders in employable fields which is in line with our recommendation,
Wijesinghe said. He said that Sri Lanka also needs a strong
manufacturing base. After 2008, countries hit by global recession such
as Germany which had a strong manufacturing base recovered faster.
Therefore, in the structural change of the economy we need to keep our
industrial base strong. We also welcome the proposed incentives to the
SME sector and broadly they are in line with NCCSL proposals.
Reduction of tax on small vehicles will be beneficial to small
industries to improve their delivery system. They had faced difficulties
in transport as vehicle prices were high in the past. Incentives given
to the SME sector will boost the supply side of the economy.
The increase in the State sector minimum salary and pension payments,
reduction of water and electricity bills for domestic consumption by 10%
and 25% will increase consumption and boost the demand side of the
"We observed that there has been a slow growth in the consumption
side of the economy in the recent past and consumption still stands as
one of the significant components of the growth trajectory of the
economy," he said.
However, the NCCSL cautioned against inflationary trends that can
emerge if there is an uninterrupted flow of imports into the economy
with the improvement of disposable income of the people through various
incentives introduced by the Budget.
Further there is a delayed effect on the supply side of the local
economy responding to the stimulus extended through the Budget if the
incentives are taken up effectively by SMEs.
Even though inflation stands at a moderate level at present, careful
management of the situation is of paramount importance, an NCCSL