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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
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