The amendment to the Appropriation Act No. 07 of 2020 to increase the borrowing limit was recently approved by the Committee on Public Finance chaired by Member of Parliament Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.
Accordingly, the borrowing limit which was Rs. 2,997 billion will be increased to Rs. 3,397 billion, it was revealed at the Committee on Public Finance held via video conference, the Communications Department of Parliament said.
Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury S.R. Attygalle had pointed out that an amendment to the Appropriation Act was needed to increase the borrowing limit due to the economic downturn in the country caused by the Covid-19 situation.
He further pointed out that this was due to the inability to achieve the expected revenue for the year 2021, the increase in supplementary expenditure and the devaluation of the rupee in the payment of foreign currency loan services.
Mr. Attygalle also pointed out that the increase in welfare expenditure during the Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in supplementary expenditure. He also said that a sum of Rs. 200 billion had been approved by the Parliament recently for supplementary expenditure.
In addition to this amendment, as per the Cabinet decision taken on 27.09.2021, the gazette notification submitted by the Minister of Finance to revoke the licensing system for white sugar which came into effect from 29th October 2020 under the Import Export (Control) Act No. 01 of 1969 was approved by the Committee on Public Finance.
Dr. Harsha de Silva stated that he had repeatedly emphasized the need for a forensic report in this regard to clarify the crisis situation in the country regarding sugar.
The Chairman said that the Committee on Public Finance would be able to engage in a lengthy discussion on the matter soon after it is tabled by the Committee on Public Accounts.
State Ministers. Susil Premajayantha, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Members of Parliament Dr. Harsha de Silva and Prof. Ranjith Bandara as well as a number of senior government officials were present at the recent Public Finance Committee meeting held online.