Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera presented the 2019 National Budget of Sri Lanka on the 05th of March. The budget is ‘aimed at growth powered by private enterprise and is determined to pursue a liberal outward oriented economy’. This budget was also reported as being an extension of the Enterprise Sri Lanka concept that was introduced previously in the Blue-Green Budget.
Many aspects of this budget have been spoken about widely since they were announced. This includes the Home Sweet Home loan system allows young couples or those buying a house for the first time up to 10 million in capital and a repayment time of 25 years.
Milk powder has also been a contentious issue that was discussed even before the presentation of the budget. Concerns around imported milk powder has been at the forefront of the discussions. While Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had stated that imported milk powder does not carry harmful substances, Minister Buddhika Pathirana and the President himself has criticised the importation of substandard milk products to the country, calling for the development of the local dairy industry. Meanwhile, while Minister Mangala Samaraweers recently stated that every rural school child will be provided a free glass of milk daily, this proposal has received some backlash over claims that it merely profits multinationals importing milk powder into the country.
Overall, there is not much delight around among the public about the latest national budget. It does not appear as if the prices of commodities and even essential food items have been reduced.