Sri Lanka’s private sector cold shoulders next week’s budget

Budget 2006 goes to Parliament next week, but Sri Lankan businesses are not showing the interest usually reserved for a national budget. Budget 2006 goes to Parliament next week, but Sri Lankan businesses are not showing the interest usually reserved for a national budget. Given Sri Lanka’s practice of sudden policy changes and surprise taxes, the local private sector usually keeps the national budget process firmly in its sights.

Speculation on budget features, by threshing out how the government is most likely to finance its revenue shortfall, begins at least one month ahead.

The fever spreads over to the cocktail circuit and the trade associations work overtime pushing private sector offensive and defensive agenda’s into the national budget.

“But this time there is a marked lack of enthusiasm over the budget,” says Rajan Asirwatham, a senior partner from the local office of the international audit and tax advisor, KPMG Ford Rhodes, Thornton and Co.

Budget 2006, notes Asirwatham, is met with next to no constructive speculation, or investment adjustments to overcome tax changes, and with a positively careless attitude