Sri Lanka delays budget till polls over

Oct 07, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will delay its budget for next year, usually presented to parliament in November until national polls scheduled for the first quarter of 2010 is over, a government minister said. Deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said general elections were likely before April and a mini budget or ‘vote on accocunt’ will cover the period.

The decision was made at a meeting of the Cabinet of ministers yesterday.

The date when the vote-on-account would be presented to parliament and the period would be decided tomorrow and party leaders also informed, he said.

The 2010 budget is a structural benchmark for December 2009, under a deal signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A budget is for 12-months. A vote on account is for a lesser period, but a senior official said a ‘mini-budget’ could also be presented with no negative impact on the IMF program as long as it was under its overall guidelines.

An IMF official said in September that next year’s budget could have a deficit of around 6.75 percent of gross domestic product including 0.5 to 0.75 percent in extra reconstruction spending.

An earlier finance ministry document set the deficit at 6.6 pe