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Lankan parliament approves 2019 budget

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

The on Tuesday approved the budget for 2019, which had been delayed for four months due to a constitutional coup triggered by dismissing premier

The budget was passed with 119 votes in the 225-member house. The main Tamil party, TNA, voted in favour of the budget, while Sirisena's abstained from voting.

The budget was due in last year, but it was scuttled after sacked Wickremesinghe on October 26, triggering the island's worst consitutional crisis, which lasted nearly three months and was restored only after the intervention of the

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as by in the October 26 coup, and his supporters opposed the budget, accusing the government of heaping more tax burdens on people.

Significantly, Ceylon Workers' (CWC), the trade union-cum- political party representing plantation workers of Indian origin and was acting as an ally of Sirisena, supported the budget.

Addressing the parliament, said, "We have to end the culture of dependence and we have tried to develop enterprise to give independence to public through the budget proposals."

The budget raised taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling to pay for public sector salary increases and subsidised loans for small businesses.

Samaraweera said a large number of foreign investors left the country during the political crisis. "The damage to the country's economy during those 52 days is immeasurable. Over a billion dollars in foreign capital left the country at the time," he said.

The political crisis made international borrowing more expensive for the island nation. However, the (IMF) earlier this month revived a USD 1.5 billion bail out as the government consolidated its hold on power.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 20:45 IST