Sri Lanka tables interim budget

Nov 03, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has presented an interim plan to parliament ahead of polls expected in the first quarter of 2010 seeking permission from lawmakers to spend up to a third of last year’s budget. Government spending has been reined in somewhat under a deal agreed with the International Monetary Fund with strict limits on domestic borrowing to keep interest rates down.

Sri Lanka main opposition Unite National Party had objected to the vote on account saying it is against a fiscal management responsibility law, which is in effect from 2003.

But the speaker permitted the vote on account to be tabled. A ‘vote on account’ presented to parliament by deputy finance minister Sarath Amunugama sought permission to spend 356.4 billion rupees until a formal budget was presented.

A further 6.2 billion rupees was sought as ‘advances’.

The ruling coalition of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to announce poll dates on November 15, with the possibility of parliamentary as well as early presidential polls being held.

Sri Lanka’s economy is recovering from a global slump and excessive government spending which saw high inflation in recent years.