Budget passed by two-thirds majority | Sunday Observer

Budget passed by two-thirds majority

The Third Reading of the Budget for the fiscal year 2018 was passed in Parliament by a majority of 99 votes, last evening. The Budget received 155 votes in favour and 56 against.

The UNP, the SLFP faction with the Government, the TNA, the CWC and the EPDP voted in favour, while the Joint Opposition and the JVP voted against the Budget. Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera presented Budget 2018 in Parliament on November 9. The Second Reading of the Budget was from November 10 to 16 and was passed by a majority of 93 votes. It received 151 votes for and 58 against.

The Third Reading of the Budget which commenced on November 17 continued until yesterday, December 9.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera addressing Parliament last evening at the conclusion of the 2018 budget vote stated that this is the first step in a journey to reverse the mindset and to empower Sri Lankans to take control of their own destiny.

Speaking further he said that the budget focuses on liberalization to unlock the barriers to greater investment, trade, and start-up enterprises. It also allocates resources to provide training and skill development for youth to equip them with the capabilities to take advantage of such opportunities. “We envisage the day when the farmer’s daughter becomes an agribiz-entrepreneur, when the fisherman’s son becomes a seafood exporter. Sri Lanka needs to go back to its roots of being a nation of entrepreneurs, a nation of traders. To do this we must be open to global trade, embrace competition, and take on the world and win,” the Minister said. Samaraweera also told Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka has been removed from the Global Impunity Index owning to the massive democratic changes made by the National Unity Government over the past three years.

He said at present Sri Lanka has turned into a free and more democratic country. The entire world has fully endorsed the significant transformation in the country.

Even the UNESCO’s main seminar for the International Day to End Impunity For Crimes against Journalists was held in Colombo on December 4. UNESCO held this seminar in Sri Lanka due to the initiatives were taken by the Government to restore democracy, he said. The Minister said the Government maintains a close rapport with private media institutions as well. Today, the private media is liberally criticising the President, Prime Minister and Government Ministers.

However, the Government would provide full media freedom for journalists to perform their duties. It will not give priority to any particular media organisation. “We are publishing advertisements even in some newspapers which vehemently criticize us.”

The Minister appreciated the joint efforts made by the State and private media institutions to combat dengue. This paved the way to control dengue to a great extent.