Budget highlights 2009

(November 09, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “My earnest plea to the terrorists is to lay down arms and join the democratic process, even at this last moment. If not, they would be militarily defeated”, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the ongoing military operations to defeat terrorism, in his Budget Speech to Parliament today ( 06).

The President said: “I am glad to note that at the moment the Budget is being presented, our hopes are advancing their operations having rescued a vast area in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts. I am so glad not only on account of the bravery and victories of our armed forces. I also value the thoughts from a humanitarian point of view that the day on which we can rescue around 200,000 of our own fellow citizens living in the affected areas from the grip of terror, is near. Our security forces are fighting against the worst terrorist group in the world, without causing any destruction to civilians, dams, hospitals, schools, temples or churches. These operations are truly commendable. Hon. Speaker, I propose a special honour of this august House, be offered to our security forces.

He added that: “Terrorist activities are now confined to a few Divisional Secretariat divisions and their strength is gradually deteriorating. I know that the day on which such Divisional Secretariat divisions will be relieved by our heroic forces without harming any public property is not far away. Even during this period the terrorists can join the democratic process. We are committed to rehabilitate terrorists and rehabilitate them to society as productive citizens. Therefore, my earnest plea to the terrorists is to lay down arms and join the democratic process, even at this last moment, If not they would be defeated.

Further we would also take steps to conduct Local Government elections and Provincial Council Elections in the North. We should also take simultaneous action to implement our development plans on an urgent basis to rebuild infrastructure facilities which had been destroyed by terrorists themselves in the North, and also take immediate action to develop the North which remained neglected without any development for nearly 30 years.

Fuel prices were reduced, government servents were granted a Rs. 1000 cost of living allowance and a cess has been imposed on several imported items in the budget proposals announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. See highlights of the budget.

Here highlights of budgets 2009,

Fuel prices – diesel reduced by Rs. 30 per litre, petrol by Rs. 15 per litre and kerosene by Rs. 20 per litre

Cost of living allowance for public servants increased from Rs. 3500 to Rs. 4500 per month with effect from January

Festival advance for public servants increased from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000

Cost of living allowance for pensioners increased by Rs. 560

5% cess on imported wheat flour

15% cess on imported agricultural produce such as blackgram, kurakkan and kaupi

Levy on imported milk powder increased from Rs.5 to Rs.15 per/kg

Levy on imported sugar increased by Rs.2

Cess on imported rubber latex and tea Rs. 25 and Rs. 4 per/kg respectively

25% cess on imported maize and animal feed

5% cess on paper imports

Cess of Rs. 2000 per/kg on all imported leather goods

Cess on polythene and plastic increased from 1% - 5%

Increase in cess on Aurvedic medicine imports

Increase in existing cess on all imported foods and vegetables

Increase in cess on sarees, sarongs, readymade garments and material imported by 50%

Increase in cess on imports of fridges, fans and ceramic wear by 50%

Increase in cess on imported chocolates, biscuits and sweets by 50%

Cess of Rs. 10 on imported salt

Electricity consumers using less than 90 units are entitled to a rebate of Rs. 30 per month. Those using less than 15 units of water to get a Rs. 20 discount

Telephone levy of 10% applicable to mobile and cordless phones expanded to fixed line telephones

Income tax payable by Sri Lanka professionals serving in a company or partnership based in Sri Lana and providing international services and earning in foreign currency confined to 20%

Income tax concessions to producers, authors, singers, musicians and stage drama artists

Amendments to the intellectual properties act to make it mandatory to provide financial benefits for script writers, composers and singers of songs when their songs are transmitted via radio or TV

Monthly allowance paid to soldiers engaged in operational areas to be increased from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000

VAT decreased from 15% to 12% with affect from January 1, 2009 (However, a 20% VAT on motor vehicles, luxury goods and liquor will remain)

Economic service charge liability of Rs. 60 million to Rs. 120 million (The increase will affect only large businesses not paying any income tax)

Nation building tax to be imposed – 1% on the turnover on imports manufacturing or services other than on the banking and financial sector for two years

Personal income tax to be introduced in three slabs of Rs. 400,000 and a further three slabs of Rs. 500,000 each. Accordingly personal income tax burden will be reduced by 5%

The 2.5% tax on interest income will apply up to an income of Rs. 1 million

Paddy cultivators who use organic fertilizer and material such as hay to be provided three bags of fertilizer per acre under a guarantee issued by a farmer society

Tea industry - A 50kg bad of fertilizer for tea small holders at Rs. 1000
- Sri Lanka Guardian