BUDGET 2021 The fiscal goalposts have shifted considerably in the wake of the ever spreading Minuwangoda factory cluster, which continues to cause anxiety in business circles and among the citizenry. The imposition of curfew in high-risk areas and measures to isolate potential hotspots – both of which are necessary – along with the prospect of ‘more of the same’ must leave our fiscal planners in a quandary as they plot a likely path to revive the economy and help sustain business as it did a few months ago, following the nationwide lockdown. So instead of the expected belt-tightening measures, the forthcoming budget may well have to focus on another round of stimuli as the virtual stoppage of business in the likes of hospitality related sectors continues to undermine their very survival. On top of this, there’s the daunting prospect of managing Sri Lanka’s debt repayment schedule so as to avoid the ignominy of further rating downgrades, which invariably lead to sagging investor confidence. It may well be that printing money will emerge as a necessary evil once again; and to this end, the hope is that countermeasures will be taken to stem the prospect of inflation nudging up and the rupee heading south.