Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ECONOMY-SRI LANKA: 'War Budget' Ignores Int'l Criticism

By IPS Correspondents

COLOMBO, Nov 11 (IPS) - President Mahinda Rajapakse’s annual budget, that increases spending on the armed forces, has drawn mixed reactions. While supporters have welcomed it as a budget that breaks away from dependency on foreign loans and grants, opponents say it will exacerbate economic woes.

Presenting the budget on Nov. 6, Rajapakse indicated that offensive operations in the country’s north, targeting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelma (LTTE), would continue despite international pressure to seek a negotiated settlement to the long-standing ethnic war on the island.

To underline his determination, Rajapakse upped defence allocation to Rs 177 billion rupees (1.6 billion US dollars) which is an all time high and represents a 6.5 percent increase over the 2007 allocation. Full Text