Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera arrived in Parliament chambers to present the Budget speech a short while ago.
05:43 PM The parliament will reconvene tomorrow at 9.30 a.m.
05:42 PM We will not only talk about development and values will be discussed in the days to come. We are at the cross roads of history. Are we to walk forward united in our diversity or go back to a dark era?
05:41 PM I would like to thank the President, the Prime Minister and others who were part of the process to make this budget.
05:41 PM Rs. 0.25 tax for text messages that are advertisement.
05:40 PM An excise duty will be imposed on raw materials used for Ethanol production based on the quantity. I also propose to introduce an excise duty of Rs. 15 per litre on non-potable alcohol. Both these will be implemented from mid-night today.
05:39 PM Rs. 50 million allocated to streamline the excise.
05:37 PM We will issue licenses to import Cigarettes and Cigars.
05:37 PM We will introduce new customs law.
05:36 PM We need relief to pay off these loans and we are not ready to make the public pay for this. Therefore, every bank transaction of Rs. 1,000 will have a tax of Rs. 0.20 as a loan repayment tax for the next three years.
05:35 PM Rs. 7,000 billion we have to pay back as loans. Rs. 1,970 billion will be needed to pay back loans in 2018.
05:34 PM Price ceiling for potatoes at Rs. 80, big onion at Rs. 150, dhal at Rs. 150, dry fish at Rs. 750 and coconut oil at Rs. 350. Retailers are warned of legal action if they do not sell at required prices.
05:28 PM Rs. 2.5 million allocated to Muslims displaced from the North. This will include the rehabilitation of Mannar town and Silawathura.
05:28 PM We establish a modern economic center in Jaffna which will be connected to the Dambulla Economic Center and Colombo, creating an economic triangle.
05:27 PM The Myladi Fisheries Harbour will be improved.
05:26 PM Small industries in the North Province will be supported and we have allocated Rs. 1 billion for this.
05:25 PM Low interest loan scheme for those in debt in the North and North Central Province.
05:23 PM 50,000 brick and mortar type houses will be built in the North and East. Rs. 2. 7 billion to construct a home for differently abled women in the North and the East.
05:21 PM Levies for vehicles imported for government servants will remain.
05:21 PM The Agrahara Insurance is applicable to retirees who have retired after 2016 for a lifetime.
05:18 PM Medical and emergency insurance for artists will be established.
05:18 PM Race Course will be established as an arts and handicrafts center.
05:17 PM Rs. 250 million allocated to develop and upgrade religious places.
05:15 PM Rs. 50 million allocated to establish a Buddhist library.
05:14 PM We will allow the BOC and the People’s Bank to raise more debt. We will infuse Rs. 5 billion as equity to BOC.
05:12 PM Our capital markets remain largely untapped and we are looking at tapping into these.
05:11 PM We will allocate Rs. 25 million to establish a state of the art recording system in courts.
05:10 PM The United Nations (UN) has asked the number of soldiers for the UN peacekeeping forces be increased. We have allocated Rs. 750 million for the courses related to this.
05:09 PM Rs. 500 allocated to establish a police academy.
05:09 PM We will introduce a schedule for the public bus service.
05:08 PM Rs. 4,000 allocated to renovate roads damaged by floods.
05:08 PM Rs. 10,000 allocated to provide infrastructure facilities to construct expressways.
05:08 PM Rs. 17,000 million allocated to develop Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle and Jaffna.
05:04 PM We will allocate Rs. 24,000 million for urban regeneration projects.
05:03 PM Rs. 2,000 million allocated to construct 25,000 housing units for those in line houses.
05:02 PM Rs. 3,000 million has been allocated to construct housing units in the North and East provinces.
05:01 PM Low income families will be provided 20,000 housing units by 2020. We will allocate Rs. 17,500 to construct them.
05:01 PM Nations Building Tax (NBT) will be levied on liquor from April 1, 2018.
04:59 PM We have also allocated Rs. 25 million to improve services for mental health.
04:58 PM Rs. 375 million allocated to develop institutions such as the blood hospital. Rs. 150 billion allocated to develop the Matara Hospital. We have allocated Rs. 300 million to develop of nursing hospital.
04:57 PM Fertility center will be established at the Castle Street Hospital for Women.
04:56 PM Soft drinks which induce obesity and diabetes will have a tax of .50 cents per a gram from tonight.
04:53 PM We have already allocated Rs. 200 million for the health sector. Three kidney centers will be established in Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Jaffna.
04:52 PM Sugathadasa Stadium will be redeveloped and we have allocated Rs. 100 million for this. Rs. 1,100 million has also been allocated to develop the stadium and tracks of the ground. We will remove the tax on sports shoes in a bid to encourage students from the rural sector, this tax will be removed from tonight.
04:51 PM 100 grounds in rural areas will be established and we allocated Rs. 100 million for this. Hockey turf in Matale will be redeveloped.
04:50 PM We will provide a similar insurance to university students as we did for school students.
04:49 PM Aurvedic medicine center which will provide PHD's will be established.
04:48 PM IT faculties will also be established in 7 universities. A faculty for marine education will be established at the Ruhuna University and we have allocated Rs. 250 million for this.
04:46 PM Rs. 1,250 million will be allocated to establish medical faculties at Wayamba, Sabaragamu and Moratuwa.
04:46 PM Payment of Rs. 3,500 to students in national colleges will be increased to Rs. 5,000.
04:44 PM We will establish a center at the Maharagama teacher training center to train english language teachers.
04:44 PM We will ensure A/L students have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of subjects. Rs. 1,200 million allocated for teacher training programmes.
04:42 PM We are looking for increasing the number of students in the medical, engineering, etc. We have allocated Rs. 3,500 million for this.
04:40 PM Rs. 325 billion has been allocated for the youth of the country.Student insurance and tablets for students is a promise that we are fulfilling now.
04:39 PM Five technical colleges will be established in five locations.
04:39 PM Rs. 2,000 million will be allocated for the youth corps programmes.
04:38 PM We need to establish universities to the international level. We have to give them courses that target the existing markets. We propose to establish programmes which will ready students as needed by local markets which are 3- 6 months long and I will allocate Rs. 2,500 million.
04:36 PM Regardless of education background, to encourage the youth to give equal opportunities based on their skills. The existing system has failed, it is not the students. We should think of students who were unable to get into local universities.
04:34 PM Mahwatta, Pitipana park to cater bio farmer sector to be established at Rs. 100 million fund.
04:34 PM One stop shop for business registration, will be established.
04:32 PM Meters will be made compulsory for three wheelers through the three- wheeler regulatory authority which will be established soon.
04:32 PM A programme to introduce Tourist Board approved tuk tuks will be established and the drivers will be trained as local guides. These classes will be held free of charge.
04:32 PM VAT refund scheme for foreign passport holders will be implemented in airports.
04:31 PM Street festivals and exhibitions promoting Sri Lanka will be held in London, Los Angeles and Dubai in collaboration with the private sector.
04:30 PM Import tax on off road electric vehicles will be reduced.
04:30 PM The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will establish 25 life guard stations.
04:29 PM The railway stations such as Colombo and Nanu Oya will be declared as archaeological sites and upgraded, domestic airports will be developed under PPP.
04:28 PM Rs. 250 million allocated for the development of six ports including Matara, Hambantota, Fort Fedrick, etc.
04:26 PM The liquor licensing structure will be revamped.
04:26 PM Online tourism industry both resident and non-resident will impose a tax of 1 percent for 1 percent of OTA in Sri Lanka.
04:23 PM Tourism industry- The country has much to offer and the industry is set to develop. Mechanism such as the homestay programme is encouraged. the government will provide credit facilities for people who want to upgrade their homes for this reason.
04:23 PM Rs. 25 million allocated to establish a center for timber research center.
04:21 PM Rs. 125 million allocated to establish a poultry research center at the Wayamba University.
04:20 PM Poultry industry- underutilised state lands will be provided to the local poultry industry.
04:19 PM We will introduce new regulations for coconut and coconut industries.We have allocated Rs. 25 million for the coconut research institute.
04:18 PM Rs. 250 million for the tea industry.
04:17 PM The spices of the country have a competitive edge in the international market. We will introduce new laws to ensure international standards are met, specially in the cinnamon and peper industries. We have allocated Rs. 50 million for it.
04:13 PM The testing facilities at the Standard Institute will be upgraded to international level. We have allocated Rs. 250 million for this.
04:12 PM We will allocate Rs. 800 million for the export market support programme.
04:10 PM Para-tariff we roved 100 last year and we will remove similar numbers this year. We will remove Para-tariff in line with WTO commitment.
04:09 PM Our complex labour laws and bureaucracy has been prevented from entering local market. competitions breeds success.
04:07 PM Colombo, Moratuwa Universities and SLIIT will conduct courses on robotics, etc. The cost of these will be shared between the industry and the initiators.
04:06 PM The IT sector have the potential to reach Rs. 5 billion in the next years. We will invest Rs. 3 billion in the next few years for local start ups and to bring in foreign start ups.
04:05 PM In a bid to encourage disabled persons in entrepreneurship, we will also provide necessary backing.
04:04 PM In a bid to ensure women entrepreneurs have the necessary backing, we will give them a tax relief of 10 percent more than is already promised.
04:02 PM Rs. 750 million has been allocated to provide relief for interest payments.
04:01 PM Rs. 10,000 million allocated to establish a bank specially to provide loans to small and medium enterprises.
04:00 PM Small and medium enterprises are our back bone. Establishing necessary capital is difficult and we are looking at reducing the chances of the loans needed for this from being rejected.
03:59 PM Self employed, three wheelers, start ups, we will provide through 'Enterprise Sri Lanka'.
03:57 PM The government will bear 50 percent of the cost for multi-day trawlers over 55 feets.
03:55 PM Fisheries industries proposals- Rs.175 million has been allocated for the freezers used by trawlers but the government will bare 50 percent of the cost.
03:54 PM We will remove taxes which will import machinery for green houses.
03:53 PM We are planning an insurance system for five agricultural products, which will insure an acre for Rs. 40,000. We have allocated Rs. 3,000 million for this project.
03:52 PM We have allocated Rs. 1,000 million for clearing small and middle size tanks.
03:51 PM We have allocated Rs. 25 million to establish a Virtual Blue-Green Institute.
03:50 PM There are 50,000 cell phone towers across the country, remaking this is discouraged and we will enforce a tax of Rs. 2 per call for a minute for these towers.
03:47 PM Rs.1,000 million allocated for developing of ten lagoons.
03:46 PM Coastal area from Mount Lavinia to Ratmalana will be renovated. We have allocated Rs. 400 million. We will build a bund and ensure the environment in the area is protected.
03:44 PM We will establish an elephant research center in Pinnawala. We have allocated Rs. 20 million for programmes to protect endangered animals.
03:43 PM We have not forgotten about the animals in this budget. Therefore, we are looking at converting zoos in an open zoo concept.We have allocated Rs. 75 billion for this.
03:42 PM Rs. 1,500 million will be allocated to establish green areas in each Pradeshiya Saba areas.
03:41 PM We will introduce environmental friendly programmes when dumping in the Kelani River.
03:39 PM We are looking at expanding programmes which are concentrated on flooding in urban areas. We will construct several reservoirs to stop the flooding of urban areas.
03:39 PM We have allocated Rs. 75 billion for loans to produce environmentally friendly items.
03:38 PM We will impose an excise duty of Rs. 10 per kilogramme for Plastic resins.
03:38 PM We will introduce a carbon tax where the applicable rates for a motor cycle, car and a passenger bus will be around 17 Cents, Rs. 1.78 and Rs.2.74 per day, respectively.
03:36 PM We will make more electrical charging stations.
03:36 PM SLBC will be made more environmentally friendly.
03:36 PM We will not allow vehicles that don’t have air bags to be imported.
03:35 PM Electrical Three wheelers will have a 90 percent concession from the government
03:34 PM We will also impose a special tax on super luxury vehicles with an engine capacity exceeding 2,500 cc.
03:34 PM The import taxes on an electric car will be reduced by at least Rs. 1 million.
03:33 PM The import tax on the high end fossil fueled cars will be increased by almost Rs. 2.5 million.
03:30 PM We propose all vehicles in the country to be powered by non-fossil fuel sources by 2040. To this end, all Government vehicles will be converted to hybrid or electric vehicles by 2025.
03:30 PM We aimed to ensure that all vehicles in the country by 2040 will be environmentally friendly.
03:28 PM We hope to bring in an economic growth using the under utilised aquatic resources.
03:28 PM Bankruptcy laws should be liberalised.
03:27 PM Land laws connected to cultivated lands should be changed
03:25 PM Most of our laws are old and backwards. The customs yet uses the laws set out in 1869. Excise laws were set up in 1912, education laws were set out in 1939.
03:24 PM Maintain inflation at 6 percent is what we hope to maintain with the Budget.
03:24 PM 10,000 jobs, GDP USD 5,000.
03:22 PM 'Blue-Green Budget' will be the theme of my budget.
03:22 PM To achieve Sustainable Development Goals are incorporated in the budget that i am about to read out.
03:20 PM We also have to study the labour market and laws.
03:19 PM We need to look into how to resolve issues related to land ownership.
03:18 PM We see the cost of living decreasing in the future.
03:18 PM Gross Donmestic Production (GDP) increased to 14.2 percent from 11.5 percent.
03:16 PM "We managed to bring back the trust that was lost in Sri Lanka by working with international institutions,"
03:16 PM "We also had to face numerous natural disasters over the year,"
03:16 PM "The biggest problem we had to face was the increasing government debt and the decreasing income,"
03:13 PM "I would like to praise the former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for his timely decisions,"
03:10 PM "This is the first budget I am presenting as the Finance Minister. We are a country that has debts larger than the Meethotamulla garbage mountain,"
03:10 PM Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera begins reading budget 2018.
03:07 PM Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera arrives in Parliament.
03:07 PM We hope to investigate the incident of the opposition MP's cycling to Parliament: Speaker
03:07 PM Tense situation in Parliament after former president Mahinda Rajapakse cycles to Parliament.
03:06 PM Speaker arrives in Parliament for the reading of the 2018 budget.