Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe to present interim budget on August 30

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also finance minister, will present an interim budget on August 30, seeking to boost spending and borrowing limits for his cash-strapped government.

The interim budget comes amid ongoing government negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a possible rescue package.

The Sri Lankan Parliament’s Communications Office said President Wickremesinghe in his capacity as finance minister will present the interim budget on August 30, and lawmakers will debate the budget from Tuesday to Friday that week.

It added that the budget would seek an additional amount of 929.4 billion Sri Lankan rupees to the originally approved figure of 2796.4 billion Sri Lankan rupees for 2021 with increased government spending.

The budget will also seek to increase the government’s borrowing limit by an additional amount of 892 billion Sri Lankan rupees – above the 3,200 billion Sri Lankans originally approved.

Wickremesinghe said he was keen to provide relief through the interim budget to people, who are suffering from daily power cuts and shortages of basic items such as fuel, food and medicine.

Sri Lanka’s Governor General Podujana Peramuna MP Sagara Kariyawasam told reporters on Wednesday that the interim budget would likely focus on economic recovery while providing relief to the public as much as possible.

“This is just a temporary budget. The appropriate budget for 2023 will be presented in November,” he said.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since independence and high inflation has affected the public hard.

The IMF has made debt restructuring a key component of any approved facility. Sri Lanka is in dire need of temporary funding after a bailout from the global lender.

President Wickremesinghe and the visiting International Monetary Fund team on Wednesday analyzed the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka as the two sides began critical talks to finalize the rescue package and secure a staff-level agreement for the cash-strapped country.

Sri Lanka’s cabinet on Monday approved a budget framework in which 9.9 percent of the GDP budget deficit in 2022 will be reduced to 6.9 percent by 2023.

Sri Lanka also aims to reduce the primary deficit, or deficit without interest costs, a key performance criterion in the IMF’s financial framework from minus 4 percent in 2022 to a deficit of 1 percent in 2023 of 3 percent. of the GDP correction, the Economy Next news portal reports.

In mid-April, Sri Lanka announced that it could not repay its international debt due to the forex crisis.

The country owes about $51 billion in external debt, of which $28 billion must be repaid by 2027.

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