The minister in his statement claims that most of the government’s tax revenue is being spent on state sector salaries and pensions and only a fraction of it is left for other initiatives.
To check this claim, FactCheck.lk consulted the 2021 Annual Report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The CBSL reports a figure of LKR 1,298 billion as tax revenue collected in 2021, which is the figure cited by the minister. The total expenditure on salaries and pensions for state sector employees in 2021 was LKR 1,116 billion, which aligns with the minister’s figure. Thus, the cost of salaries and pensions is around 86% of government tax revenue.
Therefore, the tax revenue remaining to be spent on other initiatives amounts to LKR 182 billion, and not LKR 153 billion as claimed by the minister (19% more than the minister’s figure).
However, what the government has left to spend is not simply the difference between tax revenue, and salaries & wages.
The government also earned LKR 159 billion in revenue through non-tax sources such as profits from State-Owned-Enterprises and income from assets. Therefore, LKR 341 billion is available in 2021 from total government revenue, which is 123% more than the LKR 153 billion figure stated by the minister.
Although the minister is correct on the tax revenue collected for 2021 and total expenditure on salaries and pensions, he has underreported the total government revenue remaining for other expenditure.
Therefore, we classify the minister’s statement as PARTLY 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.
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: 06 October 2022]