The Budget for 2023 is aimed at creating a modern economy targeting the country’s youth and looking to go beyond the deeply entrenched mentality of a welfare economy, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said delivering the Budget 2023 in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

Reminiscing the nineteen fifties, Lee Kuan Yew once mentioned the following. In Singapore I followed the hard,but right path. Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike followed the popular path.

There is no future for the youth in country by continuing on this popular path. There is no prosperity for the country by giving concessions while being in debt to others. So, let’s

get out of this welfare mentality now. Let’s change our thinking patterns, the President said.

“Accordingly, I request all of you and youth to actively and proactively contribute to the effort of re-raising the country through a new economic foundation”, he noted.

A glimmer of hope on emerging from the economic abyss is currently visible as a result of the strenuous and difficult actions we have adopted during the past few months,President Wickremesinghe said.

“After the era of waiting in queues for days and protesting in various occupied places, our sufferings have been eased to some extent and we have reached an era where our peace of mind is much settled,”he said. During a special Cabinet Meeting held yesterday morning at the Presidential Secretariat under the auspices of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Cabinet of Ministers

granted approval for the 2023 Budget. President Wickremesinghe arrived in Parliament at around 1.20 pm yesterday to deliver the Budget 2023 speech “Towards a New Beginning Approach”. He commenced delivering the Second Reading of the 2023 Appropriation Bill at around 1.32pm.

In a notable departure from traditional budgets that focus on price and wage revisions, Budget 2023 is focused on a modern economy that isn’t limited to International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations, Wickremesinghe said presenting the budget to parliament on Monday November 14.

President Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance,Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister said the country is in debt because of the past budgets’ pre-occupation with welfare measures.

“The budget is not limited to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations. We will move to create a modern economy,” the President told Parliament.

He said the Budget will aim at increasing government revenue to 15 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 from 8.3 percent at the end of 2021.

The President further said that the negotiations with the IMF are currently in progress. “We are in dialogue with India and China on debt restructuring. We are confident that these discussions will lead to positive outcomes.”he said.

He further said that the inflation could be controlled to some extent due to the actions taken in the recent past. Similarly, the rupee is strengthening and the government expects to sustain these developments.

President Wickremesinghe said that he is confident that by moving along the same path, we will be able to stabilise the economy within the next year.

“But we cannot be satisfied with that. We must start a new journey” he added. Today, our country has several main revenue generating sectors. One is the plantation economy. Next is Free Trade Zones. Garment industry, Tourism and foreign employment. Looking at those, after Independence, we have been able to create only a few avenues for the country to earn foreign income. Beyond that, why have we


not yet been able to create large-scale foreign income generating sectors? This is something we should think about carefully, said the President.

“Is the long-term development of a country based on popular decisions? Or the right decisions?,”he questioned.

In many cases, popular decisions were taken instead of correct decisions in our country. Even today many people try to make popular decisions.

What was the result of this popular ruling tradition? To build a relief economy and a relief mentality across the country. People are used to getting concessions.

Governments do not work to create opportunities forpeople to develop. Only to provide relief.

Delivering the Budget Speech, the President invited all Sri Lankans to think anew and create innovative approaches to move the country forward. Concluding the Budget Speech, President Wickremesinghe said; “I request all of you to join and support the journey of bringing positive

change in the country through these budget proposals.We are taking these suggestions as background, let’s prepare a new economic base. Let’s come to a common consensus and create a national economic policy framework. Let’s implement that policy framework for the next 25 years.

Every five years we can review our progress. Through such a review, we get the opportunity to further develop the policies that can make our journey towards our goal successful. “I have now provided this parliament with the necessary background to contribute to this journey. On one side, parliamentary sectoral committees. On the other hand, the National Assembly represents the Parliament. In addition, we have proposed several committees on public finance

and financial services. As I recently drew the attention of the Speaker,”. The Parliament has not fully formed these committees yet.

The sectoral committees can play a big role when the budget proposals that I have presented are implemented through government officials. The finance committees can effectively intervene in the exercise of reducing public expenditure.

“Therefore, I request this parliament to implement all those committees as soon as possible. Then we can create the space to initiate a new journey with a new guise.

Let’s make the best use of that space and join together to create a better future for our true national resource, our youth,” he said.