over Rs 5 billion allocation to battle natural disasters | Sunday Observer

over Rs 5 billion allocation to battle natural disasters

8 October, 2017

The government will set a budgetary allocation of over Rs. 5 billion from next year as an immediate measure to mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters, a highly placed Government source told the Sunday Observer.

Accordingly, the government will allocate over Rs. 5.8 billion to the Ministry of Disaster Management to battle and reduce risks of such disasters.

Measures to mitigate damage and risk of natural disasters would be an important part of Budget 2018, which will be presented to Parliament by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, next month, he said. The need for a comprehensive mechanism to battle natural disasters has been stressed by the country’s international economic partners, including the World Bank.

World Bank, Country Director for Sri Lanka, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough recently said, “Sri Lanka is in the eye of the storm, in terms of natural disasters, now is the time to improve response mechanisms and disaster preparedness.”

The investment on risk mitigation processes for the next five to ten years would amount to several billions of dollars, she said.

The World Bank publication, ‘Fiscal Disaster Risk Assessment and Risk Financing Options for Sri Lanka’ has stated that on average, the long-term costs of housing, roads and relief sector specific losses per year is estimated at Rs. 50 billion. Of these, the highest expected losses are from floods, amounting to Rs. 32 billion.

The government plans to allocate Rs. 4,800 million as the capital expenditure to the Ministry of Disaster Management next year, as per the Appropriation Bill 2018.

This is a 73% hike in the capital expenditure, compared with Rs. 2,800 m allocated as capital expenditure in 2017, as per Budget Estimates of 2017.

Accordingly, numbers indicate an expected scale up of Rs. 2,000 million in 2018, compared to the amount allocated in 2017, which is likely to be utilized to establish mechanisms to mitigate disasters.

The Bill has allocated a total expenditure of Rs. 5,810 million to Ministry of Disaster Management, with Rs. 942 million recurrent expenditure and Rs.

4,868 million capital expenditure compared to its counterparts of Rs. 4,611 million total expenditure, Rs. 1,797 million recurrent expenditure and Rs. 2,814 million capital expenditure allocated in 2017.

This was a positive response by the Government to the prevailing weather conditions and the subsequent risk of disaster, especially in light of the reversal of projected 10% cut down in capital expenditure in 2018, indicated by Budget Estimates of 2017. Budget Estimates of 2017, further displayed that in 2017, total expenditure of Ministry of Disaster Management is Rs. 4.6 billion, which amounts to 0.1% of the total government expenditure.

As per budgetary estimates, 35% of the expenditure was allocated for disaster mitigation process, while a higher fraction of 46% was allocated for provision of disaster relief.