Budget 2017 *** Live Coverage ***

* Finance Minister concludes budget speech

* Committee of private and public sector to ensure budget implementation

* Corporate income tax to be revised to a 3-tier structure 14%, 28% and 40%. WHT increased from 10% to 14%

* Tax incentive for exporting of vehicles

* Income tax to be streamlined

* Reduce indirect taxes to 60 percent from 80 percent

* Reduce price of Dhal by Rs10, potatoes Rs5, Sprats Rs5, White Sugar by Rs2, Kerosene Rs5, Gas Rs25 by 12.5kg cylinder.

* Highway toll to be reduced by Rs50 from 9 pm to 5 am

* Residential solar consumers to get Rs1,500 mln allocation for 50% interest benefit.

* Rs25mln for establishment of the Pandit Amaradeva Music Centre

* Rs600 mln for regional courts, and residential facilities

* Set up a separate Debt Office to curb debt servicing costs

* Common booking platform to compete with Airbnb, Agoda as they do not pay tax, in discussions with the hotel industry

* A contributory pension scheme with allocation of Rs1,000 mln

* Re-employment of skilled workers to public sector to fast track projects

* Minimum wages for foreign workers

* Rs50 mln for a film archive

* Loans for Rs300,000 for equipment for media personnel

* Foreigners can buy condominiums with a loan up to 40% of the value

* Rs4 bln for National Youth Services Council and Youth Corp

* New securities act during 1Q2017, separate board at CSE for SMEs for low cost capital

* 25 new firms should list on CSE during 2017

* CTC requested to contribute Rs500 mln for President’s Fund

* Rename Samurdhi welfare scheme as Jana Isuru.

* Consumer Financial Protection Authority to be established

* Allocate Rs3bn to help Golden Key depositors

* Form a PPP company to bring all telecom towers under one company

* Debt recovery act to be extended to cover finance companies

* Benchmarking of 2-, 5-, 10-year bonds

* Euroclear platform for bonds

* Create REITs

* Rs10bn allocation as initial capital for asset management for failing financial companies

* Diversify generation of electricity to LNG and green energy sources

* Prepaid card scheme for bus users

* Interest subsidy for electric cars to replace trishaws

* Central Bank regulation to improve for Pyramid Schemes

* CPC and Indian Oil to develop Trinco upper oil tank farm

* Rs250 mln for desalination plants in Jaffna Puttalam

* Pipe-borne water to be increased for 12 mln consumers from 9 mln

* Rs1,000 mln for the MICE industry.

* School van owners to be encouraged to switch to 32-seater buses with incentives

* Rs100 mln for biotech farm

* Tourist police in key areas

* Luxury yacht services to be encouraged

* Rs500 mln interest subsidy for hotel refurbishment

* Linking Badulla district to southern expressway

* Entrepot trading to be encouraged

* Mobitel public listing after request by company

* Listing of non-strategic enterprises Hyatt, Grand Orient Hotel, Hambantota Salt, Waters Edge in 2017

* Tax holidays for large-scale investments in under developed regions of the country

* Encourage Sri Lankan participation in international fairs in Canton, Germany other countries

* Colombo Fair to showcase Sri Lankan products in Oct 2017, Rs50 mln allocation

* Rs10,000 mln allocation for local exim bank with local industry

* 75% waiver of PAL for construction sector

* Rs7,500 mln allocation to Megapolis Ministry from Finance Ministry

* Foreign currency declarations by foreigners limit to be increased to USD40,000 from USD15,000

* Encourage foreign investors to benefit from interest rate differential, create appropriate framework

* Incentives for high-tech equipment imports

* 5-year multiple entry visas for suitable investors

* 200% capital allowance for businesses in the north, 100% capital allowances for investment above USD3 mln excluding land in Uva or East

* Exchange Control Act to be repealed

* Amnesty for those blacklisted by CRIB with default credit history of up to Rs500,000

* Castle Maternity Hospital in Borella will be upgraded under a PPP model with Rs3bn

* 45 hours flexible hours for private sector

* KPO, BPO requires flexible working hours, this requires revision of labour laws

* Shops can be open till 11 pm, bus operators to support this

* Time to startup a company to be reduced to four days from 10 days, registrar of companies to support

* Ease of doing business, reduce 8 process to 5 process by 2019

* Rs100 mln to National Science Foundation to study kidney disease

* E-learning center at University of Kelaniya with Rs250mn

* Rs750 mln additional allocation for kidney disease study

* Private universities will be encouraged based on a world class rating system

* Vocational training students to be channeled to private sector

* Providing scholarships for vocational training to anyone Rs300 mln

* Tourism 100,00 and textiles 60,000 skilled labour requirement, this is a serious issue

* Centre for gender violence and prevention of ragging in universities, Rs10 mln

* 5-year multiple entry visas for students who wish to study in Sri Lanka

* We want to double university intake of students by 2020

* Scholarships for top students to study at Harvard, MIT and Singapore universities

* Rs250 mln to develop plantation schools in Kegalle and Badulla

* New scholarship scheme for top performing school students, Rs2000 paid monthly

* Rs5bn allocated to provide Wi-Fi and Tabs for 100,000 graduates entering state Universities

* Free tabs for school children, telcos to set up Wi-Fi

* There is about Rs32bn unused 2016 expenditure

* 3,500 schools will receive computers with Rs5 bln allocation

* Rs2 bln additional allocation to provide basic facilities in our schools

* 50% concession on loan interest for paddy, fruit & vegetable farmers

* Rs200 mln to examine water in eight districts

* Rs100 mln to develop the local poultry sector

* Maximum price of kilo of chicken of Rs420 will be relaxed

* Automated commodity exchange for tea, rubber coconut at Rs75 mln cost

* Export rebate for animal food producers

* Rs500 mln to establish aquatic zones

* Rs400 mln to boost fresh milk production

* A 2 percent cess for imported sugar and 5 percent for ethanol to protect local producers

* Investors in sugar industry will be encouraged in Moneragala, Batticaloa, Kilinochchi

* Abolish the import export control fee of 1 percent on CIF price on tea to remove the fee of packing of tea.

* Import of CTC teas will be allowed for re-export with value addition

* Taxes for Tea industry will be simplified

* US dollar loans for brand promotion in Tea

* State plantation performance has been erratic, for more effective management will be limited to 5,000 acres

* Concessionary loans for agriculture cooperatives will be provided

* Alternative pension scheme is vital as the current scheme creates issues into the future

* Special attention will be given to reduce government debt

* We want to introduce Key Performance Indicators in the public sector

* Improve accessibility for financial resources and opportunities for everyone

* Markets will be boosted for SMEs

* We want to improve the economy through ocean resources

* We don’t want free trade but fair trade by improving efficiency, removing exchange controls and improving BOI for export development.

* We have been able to limit inflation, this is an important achievement

* Reducing the budget deficit is a priority

* President Maithripala Sirisena enters the chamber

* Theme of the 2017 budget is “Speedy development with returns for all”

* Prices of essential goods and fuel were reduced to support consumers

* Investment zones will be set up to support the private sector

* Medium term proposals to boost industry, agriculture

* Several proposal planned to attract investment, strengthen rule of law

* Finance Minister commences budget speech

* Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake enters the Parliament chambers to present the 2017 Budget proposals