New recruitments will not be made to the Public Service next year, Treasury Secretary K.M. Mahinda Siriwardana has informed the Heads of all public institutions in a Circular dated September 2.
The six-page National Budget Circular spells out the guidelines to prepare the Budget estimates for the year 2023, within the medium-term budgetary framework 2023-2025. It has been sent to all Ministry Secretaries, Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, Heads of Departments and Chairmen of Corporations and Statutory Boards.
“Although increasing the Government Revenue is a foremost necessity to bring down the primary budget deficit, the alternative of reducing the expenditure has become mandatory, as it takes a certain period of time to increase the government revenue. In order to reduce the government expenditure while maintaining the quality of public service delivery, increasing productivity is a must. Accordingly, the theme of the preparation of budget 2023 should be ‘making a transformative change via minimum in puts’. This theme should become the common objective of every public institution,” the Circular read.
Directing the Heads of public institutions to suspend all new recruitments to posts to which payments are made through the Consolidated Fund, the Treasury Secretary has also asked them not to allocate money to purchase office equipment and accessories for public institutions next year. The Circular said that the prevailing restrictions regarding the purchase of vehicles would remain unchanged next year as well.
“No provision pertaining to the foreign training under capacity building, for which payments are made through the Consolidated Fund should be included. However, provisions required for the completion of training which have already commenced will be considered. Such training requirements should be fulfilled through virtual methods and local agencies. Local training should also be limited only to the most essential service requirements,” the Circular read.
“The Budget 2023 should be prepared with the aim of restoring the lives of the people which have been severely affected in the face of the economic crisis, preventing further deterioration of weak economic indicators, and laying the foundation for subsequent macroeconomic stability and economic growth,” the background note of the Circular stated.
It stressed that shifting to renewable energy, improving public transport services, encouraging Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), helping tourism industry and small-scale businesses affected by the current economic crisis, generating new jobs, ensuring food security, establishing a competitive export economy and trade liberalization, increasing foreign remittances, reforming public enterprises and minimizing bribery, fraud and corruption should be prioritized in the upcoming budget.
“Commencement of new projects in the form of direct investment from the private sector or potential projects for Public-Private-Partnerships is encouraged while the implementation of new projects through traditional government investments is discouraged. Measures should be taken to maintain the financial contribution by the Government in connection with the projects to be commenced under Public-Private-Partnership at a minimum level. Further, business models capable of covering the expenditure as far as possible through revenue generated from the project should be prepared,” the Circular added.