Sri Lanka’s Defense Spending Remains a Cause for Concern

The Sri Lankan government recently released its proposed budget for the coming year. It’s been met with an array of responses. Some commentators have questioned the calculations which the government has made, including over fundamental matters such as tax revenue. Kusal Perera, a Colombo-based journalist, says that “most numbers are fake or arbitrarily inflated.” Among other matters, Perera is concerned that this budget will result in increased economic inequality.

On the positive, Maithripala Sirisena, the country’s current president, will control far less of the budget than his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa did during the end of his tenure. According to, Verité Research, a think tank in Colombo, Rajapaksa controlled 62% of all expenditures in 2014, an incredible centralization of power. For 2016, it appears Sirisena would control approximately 10% of total expenditure.

Unfortunately, defense spending stands out yet again. A Verité infographic also highlighted the fact that 2016 defense expenditures are expected to exceed 2014 defense expenditures by over 20 billion Sri Lankan rupees.


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