(Sri Lanka Military)
The Defence budget will remain high next year also, but most significantly the allocation for education has been increased four-fold. The defence allocation is more than Rs. 306 billion. In contrast, the allocation for the Office of the President has been heavily reduced in comparison to allocations made under the previous administration.
According to the 2016 Appropriations Bill, which will be presented to Parliament later this month, more than Rs. 257.6 billion of the money allocated to the Defence Ministry will go for recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure will be around Rs. 48. 9 billion.
The total allocation made to the Ministry of Defence for 2015 when it was amalgamated with the Ministry of Urban Development was around Rs. 285 billion. Next year, however the Defence Ministry alone will get around Rs. 306 billion, of which close to 85 per cent will be spent on operations activities of the Ministry, the Sri Lanka Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Department of Civil Security and the Coast Guard Department.
The allocation to the President’s office for both operational and development activities is a little more than Rs. 2.3 billion, down from the Rs. 9.6 billion that was allocated in the 2015 Budget. The allocation for the Ministry of Education will see a four-fold increase from the previous year, going up to more than Rs. 185.9 billion from the Rs. 47.6 billion allocated in the 2015 Budget.
The other big allocations are for the Ministries of Local Government and Provincial Councils (Rs. 237 billion), University Education and Highways (Rs. 171 billion), Public Administration and Management (Rs. 156 billion), Finance and Planning (Rs. 107 billion) and Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine (Rs. 174 billion).
The total Government expenditure for 2016 is estimated at around Rs. 1,941 billion, of which Rs. 1,314 billon will be for recurrent expenditure and Rs. 626 billion for capital expenditure.The 2016 Appropriation Bill for 2016 was approved by the Cabinet this week and it is to be tabled in Parliament on October 23.
The Budget speech or the Second Reading of the Budget will be made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on November 20.
By Chandani Kirinde