Lawmakers on Budget 2023 | Page 3 | Sunday Observer

Lawmakers on Budget 2023

20 November, 2022

A cross section of the Government and Opposition lawmakers expressed their views on the Budget 2023 presented to Parliament by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance Minister on Monday (14).

State Minister of Finance Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said this is the most difficult Budget presented to the country at a very difficult time. He said that a Budget can be defined as an official document which shows the expenditure and income presented for the next year. “We have already forecast an estimated expenditure for 2023. The Appropriation Bill indicated that expenditure will be increased by 29 percent this year than last year.

However, that income will have to be found with the current economic situation this year. 2022 is a most difficult year. Seventy-one percent of the families out of the total population in this country should be provided with assistance to survive. This budget has been prepared based on the factors on how to build a strong budget by the end of 2023.

Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is also a Finance Minister presented a futuristic Budget aimed at recovering the shattered economy of the country. Therefore, certain matters which are normally present in the traditional Budget were absent from this year’s Budget. This is a Budget made following very difficult economic conditions to rebuild a shattered economy. A challenging Budget made based on discussions held with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial institutions that support us to stabilise the economy. I see this Budget as a visionary Budget that has been presented very thoughtfully without burdening people further with the aim of development.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that new hope has emerged that the country will go in a new economic direction through this Budget. “It is totally different from the traditional Budgets presented earlier. However, we have limited financial resources to achieve all our goals. It is difficult to implement development projects until the economy is stabilised in this country. First, the economy should be stabilised. Secondly, we have to think of a stabilised Budget. More attention has been given to the small and medium scale entrepreneurs and the poor people battered by the Easter Sunday attack, Covid-19 pandemic and the impact arising from the local and world economic crisis through this Budget. This is a Budget that stabilises the economy and leads the country towards growth.”

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that Budget 2023 is not a people-friendly budget. “They say one thing and do something totally different. We don’t see this as a humanitarian Budget proposal. You all should remember that there is fire under the ashes. This fire may come out at any moment and the result of it would be tragic. This Budget is an illusionary one, which misleads the nation.”On voting for or against the Budget, the Opposition Leader said that the party will decide on the matter after carrying out discussions.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena said that there are good proposals in the Budget. “The Government will strongly feel adequate money is needed when implementing them. However, the Government has to find money.

One thing that I am personally happy about is that it was proposed to turn Polonnaruwa and Badulla Hospitals into Teaching hospitals. There is a program that is carried along with economic difficulties. We all should pay our attention in this regard,” he said.

SJB Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Budget is talking about a social market economy. “We cannot go against it. There are about Rs.200 million allocations for road development.

Should we focus on road development this year? For the Defence Ministry, apparently they are spending about Rs. 7 billion. I think we can stop moves like this. Those can be directed to the welfare of the people. Ten Cabinet Ministers more would be appointed next few weeks to get the votes. I don’t know if MPs on our side would be included in these 10. We need to discuss the proposals lengthily to decide whether to vote or not.”

SLPP MP Udaya Gammanpila said that the Budget 2023 is an unsuccessful Budget. He said that right now the country wants a Budget that would save it from the debt trap and not a budget that would entangle the nation deeper in the debt trap.

SJB Colombo District Samagi MP Mano Ganesan said that there is no relief for the people in this Budget. “We are hopeless. There is also no relief for the people in the Plantation Sector through this budget. It is very pathetic.