Sri Lanka will achieve an economic growth of 1.8% next year from a negative growth rate this year, said State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe.
He was speaking at a media briefing at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).
The State Minister underscored the government’s paramount commitment to fostering a robust economy during this period. Emphasis will be placed on the advancement of small and medium enterprises as part of this overarching objective. The State Minister said that the Budget for the upcoming year places emphasis on addressing the needs of Government employees, impoverished and economically vulnerable families.
Focus has been directed towards the improvement of small and medium enterprises.
Semasinghe said that the Budget for the fiscal year 2023, following President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as the Minister of Finance, stands as one of the most formidable budgets in the nation’s history. Faced with the daunting backdrop of a severe economic recession prevailing up to 2022, the circumstances for presenting a Budget in 2023 were challenging.
Today, the Government’s focus lies on meeting the primary requisites of state revenue amounting to Rs. 4,127 billion, managing state expenditures totalling Rs. 6,978 billion, and addressing a Budget deficit of Rs. 2,851 billion.
The 2024 budget is crafted with a strategic focus on alleviating the debt burden, aiming to reduce it from 128% to 95%. Concurrently, efforts are directed towards diminishing the financial requirement from 34.6% to 13% and curtailing foreign debt servicing from the current 9.4% to 4.5%.
The commitment lies in addressing the economic crisis by proactively responding to identified concerns and fostering sustainable economic recovery. In the current year’s budget, a dedicated focus was directed towards supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which constitute over 50% of the country’s economy. A substantial allocation of Rs. 30 billion has been earmarked for their rehabilitation, divided into two segments.
The overarching objective is to propel the nation towards robust economic growth, with a targeted rate of 1.8%.
The imperative to swiftly expand Government revenue, particularly through the enhancement of the income tax collection network, is crucial for economic stability.
A robust and efficient revenue collection system is fundamental to sustaining fiscal health and fostering long-term economic resilience. The success of this initiative would contribute significantly to securing a stable economic trajectory for the nation.