December 16, 2019
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    Vote of Account for the first four months of 2020 passed in parliament Featured

    October 24, 2019

    Parliament on Wednesday passed the Vote on Account presented by the Minister of Finance to cover government expenditure for the first four months of 2020."Resolution in terms of paragraph (2) of Article 150 of the Constitution moved by the Minister of Finance Hon. Mangala Samaraweera (appearing as Item No. 1 of this day's Order Paper) was passed by the House today (Oct 23rd)," a statement said.

    The Rs. 1474 billion Vote on Account tabled due to the presidential election next month will cover the government expenditure for the period from January 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020.Since the Presidential election is due to be held on 16 November 2019, the Budget for the year 2020 will be postponed to early 2020 so that the budget of 2020 can be prepared based on the composition of the new Cabinet and the new policies of the Government.
    The Vote on Account sets aside Rs. 757.6 billion for the maintenance of public services in the first four months of 2020, and Rs. 711.8 billion has been allocated for expenditure already fixed by various acts while Rs. 5 billion is allocated for government advance accounts.In addition to the Rs. 1474 billion expenditure, the vote on account also sought approval to raise up to Rs. 721 billion as loans.
    Moving the motion, Minister Samaraweera offered more benefits for both state and the private sector employees with effect from December including immediate tax reductions and increments. “Starting from December we will be replacing the batta of police officers from 14 days to 20 days. The distress loans of state employees will be increased to Rs.350,000 from Rs.250,000 and the interest reduced to 3% from 4.5%,” he said.

    Among the list of benefits the Government planned for 2020, the Rs.6,000 given to state employees to purchase bicycles will be increased to Rs.10,000 while interest reduced from 4.5% to 3%. The uniform allowance will be increased to Rs.5,000 from Rs.4,000. The allowance for spectacles of state employees granted through National Insurance Trust Fund will be increased to Rs.8,000 from Rs.5,000.

    “We are extending the benefits for the state sector in anticipation of increased efficiency and quality. The state employees receive these benefits from public money. I request state employees to increase their commitment and avoid corruption. I reject those elements disrupting public life and services by taking refuge in trade unions. It is important that we continue to work without the strikes seen in the recent past,” the Minister said.The Minister noted that the Government had provided many benefits to the people since 2015. “We added a Rs.10,000 allowance to the state employees in our maiden budget in 2015. With the other increments the average salary of a state employee has gone up by 250% during the last five years. No other government in the past could give such benefits to its people. Not to forget the pensioners: we have increased their pensions in July. We were able to control inflation. Sri Lanka records the lowest inflation of 4% in the South Asian region.”

    Minister Samaraweera said that the Government coffers received a Rs.1,195 billion income in 2014 which was increased to Rs.2,357 billion by 2019. “We have increased the PAYE tax bar to Rs.100,000 from Rs.62,500. We removed essential items from VAT. There are 14,022 Grama Niladharis in the country and we have increased their office allowances to Rs.1,500 followed by the travelling allowance, stationery allowance, and uniform allowance,” he said.

    Last modified on Thursday, 24 October 2019 14:08

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