President Ranil Wickremesinghe today pledged to introduce a new economic order to suit the new world order and highlighted that Sri Lanka will embark on this new path through the 2023 budget.
“The economic order which was introduced in 1978 is no longer valid. Our aim now is to take the country towards a new economic order. Sri Lanka will move towards a social market economy though the budget,” the President said.
“It is important to look where we went wrong and where we have made mistakes. The Governments which had ruled the nation since independence had focused on social welfare. Governments concentrated on making popular decisions rather than the right decision. Popular decisions made the government popular temporary. We cannot go along this same path anymore. It is essential to choose a new path. The budget 2023 is designed to move out of this habit of depending on the government for everything. We have made right decisions rather than popular decision in presenting the budget,” the President said.
“Budget does not comprise of the economic reforms which the IMF has proposed. It will comprise of proposals which are mid-term measures to stabilize the economy. Our objective is to convert Sri Lanka into a developed nation by 2040. The budget therefore comprising of export based proposals, proposals to build a green economy and digitization.
“To ensure a better future for the youth of our country, lets create a new economy tailored to meet the expectations of the youth through a new approach that goes beyond traditional protests, revolts and strikes,” the President stressed.
“Our aim is to convert the capital deficit into a surplus in the coming years, We also intend to increase tax revenue. It is currently around 8% of the GDP. Sri Lanka’s tax revenue is one of the lowest in the globe. We need to rectify this situation.
The budget 2023 proposals included setting up of new institutions such as a Data Protection Authority, National Development Committee, Export Development Office, Special Tax Revenue Commission etc. The President proposed a health insurance scheme for both state and private sector workers. “We propose to amend the Employee Trust Fund (ETF) Act to use ETF funds for the health insurance scheme for the private sector workers,” he said.
The President proposed a new single labour law, opening of tax files for everyone over 18 years of age, phasing out CESS in three years, new body to reform state sector institutions.
“This assembly should not forget that youth and the people alone have given a challenge. This is to decide whether we are going to get out of changing parties which rule the government from time to time. Are we going to take up this challenge? he questioned.
“Help us to build the new economy,” he appealed to all MPs while reiterating that Parliament should appoint the proposed sectoral oversight committees soon. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)