Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe

CBSL governor good on reduced export of goods


By 2001, export earnings as a percentage of the gross national product stood at around 33%. It is now less than 15%.

Lankadeepa | September 13, 2022



Fact Check

The governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is reported as claiming that: (1) Sri Lanka’s export earnings as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) by 2001 stood at around 33%, and (2) it has dropped to below 15%, since 2001. To evaluate this claim, FactCheck.lk consulted annual reports and export statistics of the CBSL. 

FactCheck.lk assumed that, despite the phrasing in the article, the governor was referring to export earnings as a percentage of GDP (not GNP) as it is the more standard measure of economic production. The reference to “by 2001” in the reporting was taken to mean the same as “by the end of the year 2000” as statistics are reported on a year-end basis. 

The term ‘exports’ is commonly used to refer to either ‘total exports (goods and services)’ or just ‘goods (merchandise) exports’. FactCheck.lk evaluated the statement on both ways of using the term.  

The governor is correct on the export earnings as a percentage of GDP being at 33% by the end of the year 2000. This figure is correct for both total as well as goods export earnings. 

CBSL statistics show that the goods export earnings as a percentage of GDP was below 15% for 2021. This is in line with the governor’s claim. The claim is not in line with total export earnings which was above 15% in 2021, which suggests the that the governor was referring to goods exports. 

Both the claims of the governor are correct in terms of goods export earnings. Therefore, we classify the governor’s statement as TRUE.   

*FactCheck.lk’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck.lk will revisit the assessment.

 Exhibit 1: Export earnings as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product


Source: Economic and Social Statistics of Sri Lanka 2009-2021 and Annual Reports of the CBSL 


Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Economic and Social Statistics (2021), available at:
https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/publications/other-publications/statistical-publications/economic-and-social-statistics [last accessed: 30 September 2022]

Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Annual Report (2021), available at:
https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/publications/economic-and-financial-reports/annual-reports [last accessed: 30 September 2022]

Official website of Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Statistics, Statistical Tables, External Sector, available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/statistics/statistical-tables/external-sector [last accessed: 30 September 2022]




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