Na­tional Cham­ber lauds Bud­get 2018

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

The in­tro­duc­tion of the new con­cept ‘En­ter­prise Sri Lanka’ is praise­wor­thy and it would be a pos­i­tive step to en­cour­age the busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try.

With this con­cept the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing the de­vel­op­ment of woman and youth en­trepreneur­ship through the in­tro­duc­tion of ‘En­ter­prise Sri Lanka Credit Scheme’ and agri sec­tor de­vel­op­ment as well. Fur­ther­more, a SME guar­an­tee fund is also to be es­tab­lished, that is ex­pected to ex­pand the bor­row­ing ca­pac­ity of SMES.

Un­der the blue econ­omy pro­gramme, the en­cour­age­ment ex­tended for deep sea fish­ing and in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als for fish­eries sec­tor is also ap­pre­ci­ated. The de­vel­op­ment projects pro­posed for Kandy, Galle, Anuradhapura and Jaffna would bring in eco­nomic ben­e­fits for re­gions. It would pro­vide much needed equal de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the re­gions and would help es­tab­lish na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in the coun­try as well.

The pro­pos­als to de­velop the road in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try will also have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the econ­omy and also the con­struc­tive pro­pos­als put for­ward by the gov­ern­ment on manag­ing the solid waste in the coun­try, and re­duc­tion of taxes on all elec­tric ve­hi­cles is com­mend­able.

The Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce of Sri Lanka ob­serves the pol­icy in­con­sis­tency in rev­enue streams of the gov­ern­ment. The ex­pec­ta­tion of the busi­ness com­mu­nity was to have a con­sis­tent midterm pol­icy on gov­ern­ment rev­enue streams rather than short term ad-hoc rev­enue poli­cies such as the debt pay­ment Levy im­posed on the bank­ing sec­tor and levy on tele­com tow­ers. Fur­ther­more, it would be chal­leng­ing for the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide en­abling en­vi­ron­ment to im­ple­ment the said pro­pos­als.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing to setup a de­vel­op­ment bank to sup­port the fi­nan­cial needs of the SME sec­tor by al­lo­cat­ing Rs. 10 bil­lion. The sup­port ex­tended for ed­u­ca­tion and the em­pha­sis placed in set­ting up ad­di­tional vo­ca­tional train­ing in­sti­tutes is a pos­i­tive step and it would be help­ful in pro­vid­ing skilled labour in the mar­ket place with the view of ad­dress­ing the pre­vail­ing short­age in the in­dus­try sec­tor.

The gov­ern­ment is sug­gest­ing trade lib­er­al­iza­tion mea­sures by in­tro­duc­ing ap­prox­i­mately 1,200 para tar­iff lines to be re­moved, which would bring in both a pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive im­pact on the econ­omy.

The ef­forts taken by the gov­ern­ment for trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion by im­ple­ment­ing sin­gle win­dow sys­tem and trade in­for­ma­tion por­tal is chal­leng­ing, but is much needed by the busi­ness com­mu­nity with­out fur­ther de­lay.

Mean­while the bud­get speech has con­firmed that the gov­ern­ment would in­tro­duce anti-dump­ing laws in the near fu­ture, which would be a pos­i­tive mea­sure in pro­tect­ing do­mes­tic in­dus­tries. As the Na­tional Cham­ber, we ap­pre­ci­ate the mea­sures taken through bud­get in these ar­eas which has been con­sis­tent em­pha­sis of ours dur­ing last cou­ple of years.

The In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, has been given greater at­ten­tion with the in­ten­tion of in­creas­ing for­eign earn­ings reach­ing US$ 5 bil­lion in the years to come. Un­der this pro­gramme, small to medium IT startup com­pa­nies are to be sup­ported by al­lo­cat­ing Rs. 3 bil­lion over the next 5 years through the Ex­port De­vel­op­ment Board. It is note­wor­thy that the gov­ern­ment is propos­ing to have a Bud­get Pro­pos­als Mon­i­tor­ing Agency at the Min­istry of Fi­nance with the ob­jec­tive of ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­pos­als.

We sin­cerely ex­pect suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of these ef­forts by the gov­ern­ment, which is an im­por­tant im­per­a­tive mea­sure to­wards achiev­ing the ob­jec­tives of the bud­get, mov­ing for­ward.

Na­tional Cham­ber of­fi­cials ex­press­ing their views on the bud­get

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