The Budget for 2017 focused on simplifying the tax system and removing tax exemptions with the view to enhance revenue while focusing measures to provide educational support and improving healthcare facilities and staff. Government plans on a sustained path of fiscal consolidation as it aims for the first time to achieve a revenue surplus and to reduce budget deficit to 4.6% of GDP for 2017 while the Debt to GDP ratio is expected to improve to 75.0%.
- The Government’s vision to enhance revenue has resulted in measures to provide higher focus on removing tax exemptions in order to broad base the taxes and increase taxes in certain areas. Further, simplification of taxes were adopted with removal of cess on 100 items, introducing 3 corporate rates and revising personal income taxes.
- The Government has focused on measures to provide education support especially for tertiary education while was bringing in laws to streamline private education. Heavy funding has been allocated to enhance healthcare via additional infrastructure and capacity of healthcare education. Government has also targeted to promote PPPs for large investment projects.
- Significant Capital Market Development measures have been proposed including the Demutualization of CSE, amendment of SEC Act, trading platform for Government Securities, REITs, the introduction of a Commodity Exchange and listing of non-strategic enterprises in the CSE.