By Saman Indrajith
The government yesterday presented to Parliament its estimated expenditure for the next year in which the expenses of the President’s office has been increased by more than 50 percent. The expenditure of the Prime Minister is expected to increase by 29%.
The appropriation bill presented to Parliament by Acting Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne has estimated the total government expenditure at Rs. 3, 982 billion (Rs 3, 982, 367,818,000).
The amount is an increase of Rs 2,162 billion compared to the previous year’s allocation of Rs. 1,819 billion (1,819,544,000,000) The limit on borrowings for 2018 has been set at Rs. 1, 813 billion (Rs. 1,813,367,818,000).
The allocation to the President’s Office (Rs 6.4 billion in 2017) has been increased to over Rs. 9.9 billion (9,983,525,000) in the next financial year, indicating over a fifty per cent increase. Of this amount, around Rs. 2.7 billion will go for recurrent expenditure while the rest will be for operational and development activities under the President’s Office.
Next year’s allocations for the Defence Ministry coming under the President indicate a slight increase as compared to the previous year when it received Rs. 284 billion. The Defence Ministry allocation for 2018 is around Rs. 290 billion (290,711,375,000), of which, around Rs. 260 billion will go for recurrent expenditure and around Rs 30 billion for capital expenditure. The Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment also coming under the purview of the President has been given Rs. 45.6 billion (45,611,154,000).
The highest allocation has been made to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. It will get Rs. 227,572,088,000 while the least allocation has been made to the Ministry of Special Assignments; it is Rs. 105,000,000.
The allocation for the Ministry of Education, which received only Rs. 76.9 billion last year, has been increased to Rs. 102.8 billion (102,880,000,000) for the next year. The Ministry of Higher Education and Highways has been allocated Rs. 182.7 billion (182,757,000,000). The allocation for that ministry for the current year is Rs. 163.4 billion. The allocation for the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine stands around Rs. 178.3 billion (178,399,998,000). It is an increase of around Rs. 18 billion when compared to the allocation made in 2017 (Rs. 160,971,829,000).
The other big allocations are for the Ministries of Public Administration of Management (Rs. 185,625,365,000), the Law and Order and Southern Development (Rs. 82,898,883,000) and the Provincial Councils and Local Government (Rs. 218,217,379,000).
The expenditure of the Prime Minister for the next year will be Rs. 1,772,680,000. This is a 41% increase, compared to the allocation for the current year (Rs. 1,255,271,000
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s Ministry of Regional Development will get only Rs. 972,755,000 while Champika Ranawaka’s Megapolis and Western Development Ministry will be given Rs. 51,109,160,000)
Among the other allocations are Ministries of Buddha Sasana Rs 1,462,955,000), National Policies and Economic Affairs Rs. 25,734,830,000), Disaster Management: (Rs. 5,810,700,000), Posts, Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs (13,530,800,000), Justice (Rs 11,149,911,000), Foreign Affairs (Rs 10,778,550,000), Transport and Civil Aviation (42,136,737,000), Agriculture (Rs 23,789,947,000), Power and Renewable energy (Rs 837,883,000), Women and Child Affairs (Rs 3,009,243,000), Home Affairs (Rs 44,100,000,000), Lands and Parliamentary Reforms (Rs 9,097,252,000), Housing and Construction (Rs 11,247,500,000), Social Empowerment and Welfare (Rs 18,578,578,000), Sports ( Rs 5,425,000,000), Industry and Commerce (Rs 9,080,878,000), Petroleum Resources Development (Rs 308,800,000), Rural Economic Affairs (Rs 7,238,610,000), National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages (Rs 762,570,000), Public Enterprise Development (Rs 5,572,400,000), Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs (Rs 1,024,477,000), Sustainable Development and Wildlife (4,778,970,000), Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs (8,544,709,000), Ports and Shipping (Rs 2,548,280,000), Foreign Employment (Rs 686,055,000), Science, Technology and Research (Rs 5,642,200,000), Primary Industries (Rs 3,511,00,000), Irrigation and Water Resources Management (Rs 24,631,380,000), Skills Development and Vocational Training (Rs 10,882,006,000), Development Strategy and International Trade (Rs 2,097,000,000), Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure (Rs 2,270,142,000), Labour and Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development (Rs 5,231,381,000), National Integration and Reconciliation (Rs 2,770,318,000), City Planning and Water Supply (Rs 27,862,217,000), Hill Country, New Villages Infrastructure and Community Development (Rs 3,748,375,000), Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs (Rs 11,425,912,000), Plantations Industries (Rs 8,644,800,000) and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development (Rs 7,758,195,000).
Yesterday’s presentation is considered the first reading of the Appropriation Bill. Its second reading is scheduled to commence with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera presenting the budget proposals to the House on November 10. The budget debate is scheduled to continue till Dec. 10.
The budget deficit for 2018 will be Rs 1.8 trillion, the government said on Sunday, adding that it expected its revenue to be about Rs. 2,175 billion and its expenditure to reach Rs. 3,982 billion.