The budget proposals presented by Samaraweera has taken a new turn towards presenting a policy statement that encapsulates a set of radical and far reaching reforms that have been lacking in the country since the period of President J.R. Jayewardene.
While the annual budget of a government was considered a policy framework of the respective government in power in the 1980s, it was converted into a document aimed at popular politics during the past ten years.
The government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again turned towards giving priority to policies.
A forward looking policy statement that focuses on building the future for all sectors the 2018 Budget presents a gamut of proposals that would empower the youth and women in the country. At the outset of his speech, Samaraweera noted that the 2018 Budget will focus less on the past and present since priority will be given to building the future.
Some of the key areas that have been addressed in the 2018 Budget are the encouragement given to entrepreneurs, priority status to local and foreign investments, empowerment of youth and women, broad basing of direct taxes with better tax administration, better managed state owned enterprises and a focus on reconciliation based projects.
Poverty reduction has also been given pride of place through targeted income enhancing measures as well as ensuring a debt free nation in the medium term.