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Sri Lanka to reduce deficit, increase growth speed
Date: 2010/6/30 Click: 1288
COLOMBO, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka targets to manage its budget deficit whilst looking for double digit growth in the long term, deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama told parliament here Tuesday.

Presenting the current year's budget proposals, Amunugama said that a deficit target of eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product is being sought and the government expects the economy to grow by eight percent in 2011.

The island's economy grew by 3.5 percent in 2009, the year when the 30-year-old civil war ended.

Amunugama was presenting the government's budget for the current year held back due to two major elections, the presidential election held in January and the parliamentary election held in April.

The budget presentation followed the announcement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the release of the third tranche of the 2.6 billion-U.S.-dollar loan.

The IMF said 407.8 million dollars are to be released immediately after they had held up the release due to the government overshooting its expenditure in 2009.

The government expenditure for 2,010 is estimated at 1.28 trillion Sri Lankan rupees or 11.2 billion dollars.

Amunugama said the government aims to raise investment by over 6 percent to invigorate growth in the post-conflict rehabilitation and resettlement phase.

He said the resettlement of near 300,000 civilians displaced by the last stages of the war between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels would be completed by the end of the year.

The government had spent 7 billion rupees (about 6.12 million dollars) on de-mining the former war zone which delayed the resettlement process.
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