Proper plan to achieve targets vital, says Dr. Harsha | Sunday Observer

Proper plan to achieve targets vital, says Dr. Harsha

Dr. Harsha de Silva. Pic: Hirantha Gunathilake
Dr. Harsha de Silva. Pic: Hirantha Gunathilake

Budget 2019 is a development oriented income and expenditure statement and it is a continuation of the previous year’s proposals for inclusive growth and socio-economic development. However, having a piece of paper will not ensure the desired results and a proper action plan focussed on achieving the end results is needed, Non Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Dr. Harsha de Silva said.

“The preparation of the Budget was a difficult task as we were under many constraints. We needed the IMF program back on track and to do this we had to keep to certain undertakings. The budget was prepared within the framework of the IMF program and keeping the nation’s sustainability in mind. The repayment of debt was one of the key issues we had to grapple with,” he told the Budget seminar organised by the Chartered Management Accountants (CMA) in Colombo last week.

“It is necessary to increase tax revenue which is 8 to 10 percent of the GDP. It should be at 22 percent of the GDP to sustain growth. It is also important to increase the direct taxation. We have to increase the revenue that the state brings in to accelerate growth and achieve holistic development,” he said.

Emphasising the fact that the country needs to cut down on wasteful expenses, Dr. de Silva said that there should be fundamental reforms to take the country forward.

“We run at a twin deficit and there is a huge debt burden which we have to repay within the next five years. Therefore, managing the country is not an easy task any more and proactive policies are needed to move into a different structural growth path. Discipline and responsibility towards national duties are necessary for this,” he said.

The economy is set to perform better in the trade sector. However, it is necessary to re-orient the country keeping welfare politics at a manageable level. “We have to move from being a nation that makes simple products to a country that produces complex products for the global market to remain competitive in the long run. The government’s initiatives such as Enterprise Sri Lanka will help support the country to perform well in many sectors and especially, the loan facility of Rs. 1.1 million that will be provided for higher education will enable students to gain better qualifications to enter the job market where there are many vacancies, he said.