Finance Minister promises to confound his critics through the budget

Sri Lanka’s government is promising to confound its critics through a budget, which will signal a shift in policy from recent years. Sri Lanka’s government is promising to confound its critics through a budget, which will signal a shift in policy from recent years. “I can only say that it will be a people friendly budget,” Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said. “I think it will confound the critics.”

He says the country’s rural areas have a lot of potential and natural resources, which needed to be unlocked.

The current UPFA administration discarded an economic recovery plan agreed with the World Bank and UNF, and is planning to present a home grown budget on Thursday.

Over two years, the UNF brought double-digit deficit down to 7.9% of GDP, repaid treasury overdrafts from the two state banks, and cut the losses of State corporations, through tight fiscal discipline.

Inflation fell to less than 2% and the Central Bank loosened monetary policy, sending lending rates plunging to single digits.

Investment picked up and growth rebounded from a negative 1.5% of GDP in 2001 to 5.9 % in 2003. But the then governmen