COLOMBO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday began presenting the 2013 budget to the island nation's parliament.
Following are some highlights of the budget:
Economic growth is forecast at 7.5 percent for 2013, against a forecast of 6 .8 percent f or this y ear. Sri Lanka posted record growth of 8.2 percent in 2011, but the economy has slowed as a result of tig ht monetary and fiscal policies adopted to curb the country's fisc al and external defi cits. Rajapaksa said the growth should return to 8.0 percent annually after 2013.
The government aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 5.8 percent of the gross domestic product in 2013 and 4.5 percent in 2015, after meeting a target of 6.2 percent for 2012.
The 2012 target was agreed, under the terms of a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund, to bring the deficit down from 6.9 percent in 2011 and 8.0 percent in 2010.
Rajapaksa said the governemnt aimed to reduce Sri Lanka's debt to GDP ratio to 75 percent in 2012 from and estimated 78.5 percent this year. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Srilal; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)