New budget: Rs. 200 billion cut in State expenditure
- All sectors barring education and health to face the axe
- Social safety net to be strengthened
- Cash transfers planned for vulnerable groups
By Skandha Gunasekara
The new budget by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will see an estimated Rs. 200 billion in cuts on Government spending, The Sunday Morning learns.
Treasury Deputy Secretary R.M.P. Rathnayake said that initial estimates had indicated a Rs. 200 billion reduction in State expenses.
“We have not finalised the new estimates, but we are expecting to cut expenditure roughly by about Rs. 200 billion. However, the numbers have not been finalised yet,” Rathnayake said.
He said the health and education sectors would be exempted from the reduction in expenses.
“The reduction will come from all sectors apart from education and health. All other ministries are trying to reduce expenses as much as possible.”
Additionally, Rathnayake revealed that safety nets for vulnerable groups would also be enhanced via the new budget.
“We will be increasing allocations for Samurdhi payments to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the disabled, and those with chronic kidney disease. There will be cash transfers to their accounts,” he said, adding that no subsidising for fuel was on the cards so far.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Wickremesinghe announced earlier last week that a new budget would be proposed within the next six weeks, which would seek to reduce Government expenditure.