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.