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President delivers Budget Speech

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has commenced the Budget 2024 Speech a short while ago.

Unveiling the 2024 budget, President Ranil Wickremesinghe asserted that Sri Lanka’s economy, which had faced setbacks, successfully regained momentum in the previous year. Despite the collective efforts of hardworking individuals, there were others who attempted to hinder the nation’s progress
Highlighting a pragmatic perspective, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that advancing a nation requires more than mere fairy tales.
He underscored that the prolonged reliance on election promises by political parties has historically led to the economic bankruptcy of the country. Regrettably, some factions within the nation have yet to grasp the gravity of this situation.
Presenting the 2024 budget, President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged a cessation of spreading political illusions. He called upon everyone to wholeheartedly commit to the country’s betterment, emphasizing a shift from political considerations to a sincere focus on the nation’s well-being.

The President affirmed that persisting on the challenging course would lead to the creation of a more favourable economic environment. Reflecting on the past year, he expressed absolute confidence that the country is unequivocally on the correct trajectory.

Unveiling the 2024 budget, President Wickremesinghe pledged his commitment to humbly identify the shortcomings encountered in the journey thus far and rectify them

During the presentation of the 2024 budget, President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted the prevention of hyperinflation, attributing the country’s rescue to the successful reduction of the inflation rate to a single digit.

Emphasizing the challenging nature of revitalizing a financially troubled nation, President Ranil Wickremesinghe cautioned against constructing ambitious projects solely for political gain. He underscored that pursuing dream palaces for short-term political objectives might risk pushing the country back into bankruptcy.

Highlighting the success of the on-going journey, President Ranil Wickremesinghe attributed it to the government’s economic reform program. He emphasized that this initiative has established a foundation for progress, steering clear of the economic challenges experienced in 2022.

The President acknowledged the consistent borrowing from state banks to offset the losses incurred by financially struggling state entities like the Ceylon Electricity Board & the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. He underscored the necessity of utilizing taxpayers’ money to safeguard the stability of banks, preventing their weakening and potential collapse.

The President highlighted the removal of legal obstacles hindering the integration of large-scale, low-cost renewable energy into the primary electricity grid. Additionally, he noted on-going efforts to formulate rules & regulations for restructuring the inefficient CEB into a more streamlined & efficient institution.

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Covering 530,000 citizens senior citizens’ allowances increased to Rs. 3,000

Rs. 50 billion allocated to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Rs. 205 billion allocated for benefit programs targeting disabled individuals, CKDU patients, and senior citizens.

Rs. 4 billion allocated to help citizens of the estate sector.


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Rs. 10 billion allocated for rural road development.

Rs. 2 billion allocated to renovate damaged bridges and roads.

Rs. 10 billion allocated to faciliate the development of abandoned estates and lands.


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Four new universities to be established.

A special loan scheme  for university students

Rs. 500 million to develop the Peradeniya University. and Rs. 40 million allocated to develop facilities of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura


President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted that the government allocates Rs. 383 billion monthly for three primary expenditures. This includes Rs. 93 billion for public sector salaries, Rs. 30 billion for public ‘Aswasuma’, medicines & pensions & Rs. 220 billion to cover loan interest payments

During the presentation of the 2024 budget, President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced a significant reduction in the bank overdraft, decreasing from Rs. 900 billion in 2021 to Rs. 70 billion at present.

The President emphasized that unless state income is increased from 10% to 15% of the GDP, the country faces the risk of economic challenges once again. He noted that addressing this issue goes beyond simple & appealing promises made by certain groups.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted several proposals in the current year’s budget aimed at addressing shortcomings, including long-standing issues like tax evasion. He expressed the belief that with increased state revenues, there would be room to offer more tax concessions compared to the present scenario.



‘Suraksha’ student insurance scheme to be reintroduced.

Rs. 75 million allocated to facilitate and enhance drug procurement process,.

Rs. 2,500 million is allocated to develop the fisheries and agriculture sectors.

-The monthly Cost of Living allowance for pensioners will be increased to Rs. 6,025 from April 2024.

Rs. 2,000 million allocated for displaced families of the North and East.

The President highlighted the failure of the political and economic concepts implemented in the country thus far. He urged a fresh perspective, emphasizing the need to re-evaluate both the political and economic systems with a new approach..
In the presentation of the 2024 budget, President Ranil Wickremesinghe advocated for the creation of a distinctive economic and political system. He emphasized the importance of incorporating insights from past experiences, global trends, and anticipating future challenges in shaping this unique system.
During the presentation of the 2024 budget, the President noted that despite Sri Lanka experiencing a primary budget deficit of 5.7% of the GDP in 2021, there was a turnaround & the country achieved a surplus in the first half of 2023.
The President highlighted significant achievements, stating that inflation, which had reached 70% in September 2022, was successfully lowered to 1.5% by October 2023. Additionally, he noted the successful replenishment of foreign exchange reserves, which had previously fallen to zero, reaching a notable amount of 3.5 billion US dollars.
There are issues with regard to drinking water in all provinces of the country. We will prioritize drinking water projects when allocating the decentralized budget and obtaining foreign loans. – President
update = A new Technology University will be established in Kandy under the guidance of IIT University in Chennai, India. India will fully support us in this endeavour.

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A National Higher Education Commission will be established to integrate the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). This Commission will be granted decision-making powers and regulatory for strengthening and expanding higher education.

A National Skills Commission will be established which is suitable for the prevailing challenges. Under this Commission, Vocational Training Authority, National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority will be integrated.

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A training program will be launched for job-seeking graduates in association with private institutions related to information technology. These graduates are given training and work experience for a minimum period of 6 months. Rs. 750 million allocated for this purpose. Such an apprenticeship training programmes will be implemented other skill
shortage areas such as construction, care giving and tourism services.


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Rs. 500 million allocated to develop a national programme to enhance English literacy in Sri


The strengthening of the infrastructure and laboratory facilities of the Medical Research Institute is being implemented in several phases. For this, for the year 2024, Rs. 75 million will be allocated.
Rs. 25 million allocated for the next year under a three-year plan to upgrade the facilities of the National Drugs Quality Assurance Laboratory.


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No cardiopulmonary resuscitation facility in any hospital in Uva province. We are filling this gap. Rs. 300 million allocated for the establishment of a resuscitation unit at the Badulla Teaching Hospital and for the purchase of necessary equipment – President.

update == Action to strengthen and popularize Indigenous medicine.

update = work plans will be launched to uplift and nurture the fishing industry to utilize new technology and knowledge for fisheries industry.

300,000 acres allocated from other government lands including State Plantation Corporation, Mahaweli A and B Zones, and Land Reform Commission for large scale agriculture activities.



A special programme will be implemented to increase milk production by 53 percent in 5 years with the contribution of the private sector by effectively using all the farms owned by the National Livestock Development Board.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the current year’s budget is more important than an election in shaping the future of the country by establishing a new economic foundation aligned with contemporary international trends.

Starting from January 2024, the current Cost of Living Allowance of Rs 7,800 for government employees will be increased to Rs 10,000.

Government pensioners will receive a monthly Cost of Living Allowance increment of Rs 2,500, with a total allocation of Rs 386 billion earmarked for pensions in 2024.

Provision for the payment of food and lodging allowances, with necessary adjustments, will be made for police officers engaged in remote duties.

The government’s disaster loan facility for employees, which faced restrictions last season, will be reinstated as before, effective from January 1, 2024.

The allocation for social security programs, which amounted to Rs. 60 billion in previous years, has been tripled to Rs. 183 billion for the year 2024.

A program will be launched to grant full private ownership of traditional farms to farmers who have lost their ancestral properties.

The collection of rent from houses provided on an interest basis to urban low-income families will be entirely halted, and efforts will be made to transfer ownership of these houses to the occupants.

An allocation of Rs. 04 billion is designated for the initial step of acquiring land rights for constructing houses for people residing in plantations.

A provision of Rs. 600 million is allocated to facilitate the swift completion of the Bim Saviya program.


update =-= An allocation of Rs.11,250 million will be designated for the District Coordination Committees to recommence the Decentralized Budget Program. The implementation will be conducted under the supervision of the National Procurement Department.


update = Rs. 300 million allocated to implement a special programme for economic empowerment of women and youth engaged in the handloom industry.
Rs. 500 million for the development of Punareen City


update = proposal to establish a modern international library in Anuradhapura. The objective of this library is securing archaic documents from international Buddhist countries and provide facilities to scholars who want to use them for their research purposes. It is expected to implement this programme within the 3-year time frame and Rs. 100 million will be allocated for the next year.


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Sri Lankan Buddhist Museum to be established for research activities as well as for cultural promotion


Department of Motor Traffic to be digitized in 2024.


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The Department of Railway will complete the renovation of the railway track from Anuradhapura to Mihintala in January 2024 and Rs. 200 million allocated 169 rupees to setup a large city base on the station premises of Mihintale with transport, economic, container and storage facilities with the financial assistance of the private sector.


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the construction of the Hingurakgoda International Airport has not been implemented. Therefore, for its basic activities Rs.2 billion will be allocated for 2024.


Parliament adjourned. The debate of the second reading of the Appropriation Bill will commence on Tuesday 9.30 am.