State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe says an anticipated economic growth for the year 2024 is projected at 1.8%.

Addressing a press briefing at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) on Tuesday (Nov.14), the lawmaker has underscored the government’s commitment to fostering a robust economy during this period.

A particular emphasis will be placed on the advancement of small and medium enterprises as part of this overarching objective, he said further.

The state minister further highlighted that the recently announced budget for the upcoming year places particular emphasis on addressing the needs of government employees, and impoverished and economically vulnerable families. Additionally, a special focus has been directed towards uplifting small and medium enterprises.

Semasinghe also provided insights during the discussion, noting that the budget unveiled for the fiscal year 2023, following President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as the Minister of Finance, stands as one of the most formidable budgets in the nation’s history.

“Faced with the daunting backdrop of a severe economic recession prevailing up to 2022, the circumstances for presenting a budget in 2023 were notably challenging.

“Nevertheless, under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the government rose to the occasion and accepted this formidable challenge. Building upon the stability achieved, the Government is now successfully implementing the government program for the year 2024, propelling towards the envisioned economic objectives.

“Had the government chosen to adopt a populist approach similar to the opposition during that period, the current state of the country might not have reached its present condition. Despite facing persistent accusations from the opposition, especially concerning the 2023 budget, the government remains resolute in its commitment to effective governance and fiscal responsibility.

“Presently, the government’s focus lies on meeting the primary requisites of state revenue amounting to Rs. 4,127 billion, managing state expenditures totalling Rs. 6,978 billion, and addressing a budget deficit of Rs. 2,851 billion.

“Aligned with the objectives outlined in this year’s budget, the government is diligently pursuing key targets as elucidated in the domestic debt optimization program. The 2024 budget is crafted with a strategic focus on alleviating the debt burden, aiming to reduce it from 128% to 95%. Concurrently, efforts are directed towards diminishing the financial requirement from 34.6% to 13% and curtailing foreign debt servicing from the current 9.4% to 4.5%.

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