Budget 2015:Benefits for state sector employees,senior citizens,university students

Budget 2015:Benefits for state sector employees,senior citizens,university students

Written by Bella Dalima

24 Oct, 2014 | 5:52 pm

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has concluded the presenting of the 2015 budget in Parliament.

In the Budget 2015 the President announced that the minimum monthly salary of a state sector employee has been increased to Rs. 15,000. Special allowances will also now be added to the basic salary. The cost of living allowance for public sector employees meanwhile, has been increased by Rs.2200.

For private sector employees, the President proposed a minimum salary of Rs.10,000  and increased the employers share of EPF by 2% to 14%.

In other announcements, electricity tariffs of hotels as well as small and medium scale industries will reduce by 25% with effect from November. An insurance scheme as well as a pension scheme was announced for drivers of three-wheelers.

Meanwhile, as of January, the monthly allowance for an elderly person has increased to Rs.2000.

Moreover, a special programme will be in place from January to eradicate pension payment anomalies. The president also announced that the main Sri Lankan towns will be developed under a Urban Development Programme, and that Rs.10 billion  will be allocated for waste management in Colombo for the period between 2015 and and 2017.

A loan scheme was also announced for street vendors.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his budget speech, announced that kidney patients will get a monthly allowance of Rs.3000. He noted that the Anuradhapura and Hambantota hospitals will have special units to diagnose and treat kidney disease

Pre-school teachers, meanwhile will receive a Rs.2500 monthly allowance.

It was also announced that 50,000 teaching aides will be recruited to teach English and Math in rural schools. This is part of a school-based new teacher recruitment scheme to address the ongoing teacher shortage.

Students who get through the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam will be given a Rs.1500  monthly allowance. The President also announced that a pension scheme is to be introduced for apparel sector employees. President Rajapaksa also slapped a new levy on importing vehicles, which is expected to bring in an additional $5bn.

Meanwhile, the domestic water supply charge was reduced by 10% for the first 25 units.VAT was also reduced to 11% from 12%, while Pay As You Earn tax will be limited to a 16% ceiling.

In another announcement, the President said that a $100 entrance fee is to be imposed on casinos with turnover tax at 10%. Meanwhile, tax administration is to be more streamlined, with the IT systems of the Inland Revenue Department, Customs and Excise departments to be linked.

The President also announced heavy investment into state-sector enterprises, including coconut and sugar. Meanwhile, Rs. 1.5 billion is to be allocated to improve the postal sector, while motorcycles will be provided to postmen at a concessionary rate.

Moving in to the airspace sector, 150 million US dollars is to be allocated to SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka next year.

The President also announced that a new development bank will be established next year, with the merger of two institutions.

The Bank of Ceylon, meanwhile, is to be recapitalised by Rs. 10 billion in 2015. In another announcement, the president said that a $100 entrance fee is to imposed on casinos with turnover tax at 10%.

Meanwhile, Tax administration is to be more streamlined, with the IT systems of the Inland Revenue Department, Customs and Excise departments to be linked.

The president also announced heavy investment into state-sector enterprises, including coconut and sugar. Meanwhile, 1.5bn rupees is to be allocated to improve the postal sector, while motorcycles will be provided to postmen at a concessionary rate.

Moving in to the airspace sector, 150 million US dollars is to be allocated to Sri Lankan and Mihin Lanka next year. Shifting attention to the economy, President Rajapaksa noted that the economy has grown more than 8% in the past year, with the current account deficit being less than 3%.

He said that the target for exports is $20bn by 2020, but it was unclear what industries would provide this revenue.

He adds that Sri Lanka will achieve a per capita income level of $4000 in 2015, beating the government’s own expectations. The target for per-capita income is $7500 by 2020. The president also says that Sri Lanka targets to reduce public debt to less than 60% of GDP by 2020.

Shifting focus to development, the President said that the Northern and Ratnapura Expressways would be completed by 2017.

He added that the government is building new facilities to provide accommodation to 25,000 university students, and that they plan to enroll 100,000 students to universities by 2020.

He also highlighted that IT literacy in Sri Lanka has risen to 45% by 2014, but that the goal is to reach 90% IT literacy by 2020, and 100% overall literacy in the same time period. The aim, he says, is to create a 5 million US dollar local IT industry by 2020.

The president took the first-half hour of his budget speech to speak about achievements of the UPFA govt since 2005.

In his opening statements, the President took aim at the previous regime, accusing them of privatising state institutions. He said that the the entire state sector has suffered as result.

The President went on to reiterate that it was their duty to build a modern economy for future generations, and that the past decade has been a definite pathway to development.

The President then turned his attention to the war. He said it was a war against the LTTE and not against any ethnic group. He reiterated the government’s role in rehabilitating and releasing former LTTE combatants.

The President also voiced his appreciation for the international community’s contribution to development in the country, but said that the government will stand against outside pressure on Sri Lanka. He called on the Tamil National Alliance to join hands with the government in developing the country.

The President also highlighted that the current government had converted the country from and aid recipient to a donor. The President clarified that his regime’s development policies centred on enhancing the rural populations’ livelihood. He noted that there has been a significant reduction in poverty over the last ten years, but that more needs to be done to eradicate poverty and reduce unemployment.

Shifting attention to the economy, President Rajapaksa noted that the economy has grown more than 8% in the past year, with the current account deficit being less than 3%.

He said that the target for exports is $20bn by 2020, but it was unclear what industries would provide this revenue. He adds that Sri Lanka will achieve a per capita income level of $4000 in 2015, beating the governments own expectations. The target for per-capita income is $7500 by 2020.

The President also says that Sri Lanka targets to reduce public debt to less than 60% of GDP by 2020.

 

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