The 2022 Budget will be presented in Parliament today. This is the 76th Budget of Sri Lanka and the second under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill or the Budget speech will be delivered by Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa at 2pm. The Appropriation Bill for the 2022 financial year was presented to Parliament on the 7th of October. The Appropriation Bill was Gazetted on the 29th of September in relation to obtaining service expenses for the financial year 2022 from the Consolidated Fund or any other suitable fund with provisions to obtain loans.
Accordingly, total state expenditure during the period from the 1st of January 2022 to the 31st of December 2022 has been estimated at Rs.2,505.3 billion. The Ministry of Defence has been allocated Rs.373.1 billion. According to the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils, and Local Government has been allocated Rs.286.7 billion, the Ministry of Highways Rs.250.1 billion and the Ministry of Education Rs.127.5 billion. Meanwhile, only Rs.153.5 billion has been allocated for the Ministry of Health for the year 2022, despite the country still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
All expenditure heads, taxation, consolidation of funds or other allocations must be approved by Parliament which is vested with powers over public finances. Accordingly, Members of Parliament will debate and vote on individual allocations and also the entire Budget for the year 2022. The debate on the Second Reading of the Budget will be held for seven days from tomorrow till Monday, the 22nd of November. The vote on the second reading of the 2022 Budget will take place at 5pm on the 22nd of November. The Committee Stage Debate will commence on the 23rd of November and will continue for 16 days, including Saturday, until Friday, the 10th of December. The Budget debate will take place between 10am and 5pm daily except on Sundays and public holidays. The vote on the Third Reading or the final vote will take place on the 10th of December at 5pm.
Meanwhile, arrangements have been made to present this year’s Budget debate in sign language on behalf of the hearing-impaired. Accordingly, a Sign Language Window will be telecast simultaneously with the live telecast during the Budget debate. Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said arrangements have been made to hold the sittings in accordance with all health guidelines and regulations during the entire period of the Budget debate from today. The Public Gallery will not be open to the public during the Budget debate and only a limited number of government officials will be allowed to attend the Budget Committee session. The Gallery for Special Guest and Invited Foreign Diplomatic Ambassadors and High Commissioners will be opened tomorrow.