Shot In The Arm

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

According to a draft budget tabled before Cabinet on Wednesday, total government expenditure will go up to Rs. 656 bn from 413 billion this year. Total revenue is expected to swell to 317bn from 278 bn.rn

rnThe government hopes to borrow Rs. 349bn next year, with the overall budget deficit kept at 135bn or seven point five percent of GDP.rn

rnThe onset of peace talks has seen the defense budget trimmed further to Rs. 35 bn from Rs. 51 bn in 2002.rn

rnSubsidies next year will cost Rs. 1.1 bn with pensions costing 3.3bn and soldiers
quote disability payments 3.4bn.rn

rnThe trimmed Samurdhi benefits will still cost 9 bn rupees, 2 billion for fertilizer subsidies and 2.3bn for internally displaced people.rn