The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said yesterday that the presentation of the Budget immediately prior to the Presidential Elections was inappropriate.
?Presidential Candidates, who prepared their manifestos independent of the Government Budgetary process, would require maneuverability for their implementation. It may also be construed as being influenced by considerations relating to the Presidential Election, to be held on November 17, 2005, although, in actual fact, this may not be the case,? the Chamber said in a statement following its monthly Committee meeting held last week.
The Chamber Committee also decided to urge the Government to amend the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act No. 3 of 2003 (FMRA), to enable the provisions relating to a General Election to be applied to a Presidential Election, as well. The FMRA entails the release, by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance to the public, of a pre-election budgetary position report, containing information on the fiscal position of the country, within three weeks of the publication of the proclamation order requiring the holding of a General Election.
The Chamber also noted that countries such as India prohibit, by regulation or by convention, the presentation of a National Budget during the period of the proclamation and holding of an election of national importance.
Meanwhile the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and its Import Section will conduct a joint Budget Seminar, in association with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, to analyse and explain the implications of the Budget proposals. This will be held at the Oak Room of the Colombo Plaza Hotel on Friday, November 11, 2005, at 6.00 p.m.