State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said there are several new ventures that will be promoted through Budget 2021 to ensure that the people will make investments and that it will be an investment-driven Budget.
The Government has about 289 ongoing projects, each more than billions of rupees. We will ensure that those projects are completed fast and the growth momentum maintained. These avenues are open to the Government and the country, which we will promote, the State Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
We also wish to ensure that the macro fundamentals remain stable. That is, the rupee to be stable and interest rates to be stable at lower rates. We must ensure that the reserves are built and unemployment is kept in check, which will help take the country forward in the next five years, he said. State Minister Cabraal said several priorities will be identified in the Budget. One is the water-based projects to ensure that the people will enjoy pipe borne water in the future.
At present, nearly 42 to 43 percent of the people have pipe borne water and we wish to increase that to 95 percent. During the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, only 70 percent of the population had electricity, but the Government increased the coverage to 99 percent. We will also be looking at 100,000 kilometres of road projects which be supported by the Government.
He said Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) should flow into the country, for which we are arranging new pockets of sources.
One is the Port City. The second, Port-related activities, and the third, the farmer industry where we have already allocated 400 acres of land. We are also promoting the improvement of educational and health facilities.
Cabraal said that the Government will also address the human-elephant conflict to ensure that people in 14 districts who are suffering will be given support. Several economic activities have beenstalled due to the human-elephant conflict and we need to address it.
When asked whether the current global economic stagnation will have its constraints on the Budget implementation, he said there will always be challenges, but the implementation of the Budget is a commitment we need to ensure. “I think we are working well in management techniquesand have been in the forefront in many challenging tasks in the past. I am confident that with the expertise and the commitment of the President, the Prime Minister, Cabinet of Ministers and other Government officials, we could achieve what has been set out in Budget 2021,” he said.