November 20, 2019
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    Budget will persist before and after elections - Minister

    March 08, 2019

    Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a press briefing yesterday that he caught neither negative nor severe criticism against the budget in Parliament despite repeated claims by some quarters that the country’s economy is in crisis. Samaraweera said two days have passed since he had read the budget in Parliament, but there were no harsh criticism, not even from the Opposition.

    “I said this then and I say it now,” he said,” there is no economic crisis, only economic challenges.” “A crisis was created consequent to the October 26 conspiracy which took place at a time the rupee was beginning to stabilise after weeks of depreciation. The 52-day government of Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed the rupee to further deteriorate. So much of foreign currency got wasted trying to stop the depreciation. International rating agencies put us down in rank. The IMF suspended its agreement during that time,” Samaraweera said.

    He said with the government coming back to power in January reversed the crisis.Samaraweera said a Presidential election is expected to be announced by end of August this year while holding of a General Election before or after that election is also on the cards.“Contrary to the fact that we tread on an election year, we have introduced a budget for people, not a budget aiming to win elections,” he pointed out.

    “I saw that our young MP Namal Rajapaksa was saying that our budget has good proposals. He however says that these proposals have come at the last morement, and the government has hardly any time left to do anything about them to see them flourish,” he said.The minister said,” I say to Namal Rajapaksa that is not the way I see it. Although the government has presented five budgets so far during the course of its administration, the present budget is the one that stands as the first budget of the United National Party.”

    “I have presented the current budget with an aim to fulfill its pledges here and now and after the elections as well,” he said.

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