Presenting the maiden budget of the unity government to parliament this afternoon, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced that prices of 11 essential consumer items have been reduced. In addition, the special levy on potatoes and big onions has also been waived.
Meanwhile the price of a domestic LPG gas cylinder has been reduced by 150 rupees, while the price of a liter of kerosene has been decreased by 10 rupees.
The finance minister said that the new budget has focused on building a strong middle class by generating one million job opportunities, developing infrastructure and building a sound rural Economy.
He said that an authority would be set up to regulate micro financial institutions.
Accordingly, all micro financial institutions should pay an annual fee and obtain registration from the regulatory body. At the same time a joint program would be set up to grant loans for small and medium entrepreneurs.
The budget also proposed to give a certified price of 50 rupees for a kilogram of Keeri Samba, 48 rupees for Samba and 38 rupees for a kilogram of Nadu. The government expects that , price control will benefit the consumers to buy rice at around 65 rupees a kilogram.
At the same time, a fertilizer subsidiary of 25 thousand rupees would be introduced for small farmers and keeping it under a ceiling of one hectare per farmer.
Import tax on fruit and vegetable processing machinery would be waived and a 30 rupees subsidiary would be granted for production of powered milk, thereby reducing the price of a 400 gram packet of powdered milk from 325 rupees to 295.
The budget also proposes to give one million rupees insurance cover for fishermen.
At the same time, 1500 million rupees would be granted to set up village development clusters at every grama sevaka divisions.
The tax which is charged on transferring lands to foreigners will be removed completely, and the super tax would also be removed. One hundred thousand houses will be built in the next five years to shelter families in the low income bracket.