President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the government’s policy statement to the House this morning (Feb.07) after the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament was ceremonially declared open.

Delivering the policy statement, the Head of State said the government intends to reduce the tax burden on the people in the future, as the country’s economy continues to stabilize with the implementation of economic reforms.

He went on to highlight the substantial increase in tax registration, with the number of registrants soaring from 437,547 in 2022 to 1,000,029 by the end of 2023, representing a 130% increase.

The President also spoke of the positive shift in Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory. Despite a 7.8% GDP contraction and six consecutive quarters of negative growth in 2022, the nation rebounded with a 1.6% growth rate in the Q3 of 2023, he added.

Wickremesinghe further announced a significant turnaround in the nation’s economic landscape. Despite the 1.9% GDP deficit in 2022, the island nation has achieved a surplus by the end of 2023, marking the first such occurrence since 1977.

Sri Lanka Parliament was prorogued with effect from midnight on 26 January, marking the closure of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament.

After the new session kicked off today, the President presided over the ceremonial opening of the Parliament and commenced delivering the government’s policy statement, which was referred to as the Throne Speech in the past.

The adjournment debate on the government’s policy statement is scheduled to be held over two days, on Thursday (Feb.08) and Friday (Feb.09), from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.