ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s parliament passed a budget for 2022 with 153 votes for and 60 against in its second reading at the 225-member assembly.
The budget was the first by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa in the administration of his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The budget comes amid a foreign exchange shortage coming from excessive money printing to target a call money rate which has severely depleted forex reserves.
Finance Minister Rajapaksa said money was allocated to all districts from the North to the South.
However, the budget vote came as vegetable prices rose to record highs amid heavy rain and a ban on inorganic fertilizer and agrochemicals.
Agriculture Minister Mahindanda Aluthgamage said the import of some fertilizer and agrochemicals for vegetables were allowed following a meeting with President Rajapaksa earlier in the day.
Rajapaksa said a cultivation offensive will be launched as soon as rains ended. The third reading of the budget involving the so-called ‘committee stage’ debates will start next. (Colombo/Nov22/2021)