To check this claim, FactCheck consulted Ministry of Finance (MoF) annual reports and Lanka Sathosa (LS) annual reports. Notably, LS and the MoF report contradicting figures prior to 2016. LS also does not have data available after 2017 and provides two different figures for 2014 in the 2014 and 2015 annual reports. FactCheck evaluated the minister’s statement on the basis of both sources.
According to LS data, prior to 2015, Lanka Sathosa incurred a loss in 2014, of at least LKR 1.7 billion. The extent of this loss in 2014 also resulted in a net loss for the five-year period prior to 2015. Therefore, according to LS, the minister’s first claim is false. The minister’s second claim cannot be fully evaluated using LS reports as LS data is not available for 2018 and 2019. For the period 2015 – 2017, LS reports a loss of LKR 9.8 billion.
According to MoF data, however, Lanka Sathosa did not incur losses in the five-year period prior to 2015, as stated by the minister. However, MoF reports that Sathosa’s net loss from 2015 – 2019 amounts to LKR 11.9 billion, which falls well below the minister’s stated figure.
The minister’s first claim can be substantiated based on MoF data, despite being contradicted by LS data. On the second claim, only the MoF has the relevant data, which contradicts the claim. Using the most favourable evaluation of the minister’s statement, his first claim can be supported by MoF data, but his second is shown to be inaccurate on the same data. Therefore, we classify his statement as Partly True.
*FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment.
Ministry of Finance, Annual Reports 2010 – 2019, available at: http://oldportal.treasury.gov.lk/web/guest/publications/annual-report [last accessed: 8 April 2021]
Lanka Sathosa, Annual Reports (2010 – 2017), available at: http://lankasathosa.org/?page_id=8944 [last accessed: 8 April 2021]