To assess this claim, FactCheck consulted the Ministry of Finance Annual Report for 2019, the latest full year for which actual data is available.
Sri Lanka’s foreign debt servicing of the central government (principle payments plus interest payments) in 2019 was USD 4,447.7 million. This amounts to USD 371 million per month. This figure is close to USD 400 million as stated by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
Furthermore, it should be also noted that the above debt servicing figures are foreign debt servicing payments of the central government. The information on foreign debt servicing payments of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are not easily accessible. However, an order of magnitude estimate is possible, by assuming that the foreign debt servicing outlays of SOEs is in the same proportion to the foreign debt outstanding of SOEs in relation to the foreign debt outstanding of the central government. This calculation would increase the total foreign debt serving of the public sector to USD 390.7 million per month. This is even closer to the ballpark 400 million figure cited by the MP.
Therefore, we classify the MP’s statement as 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 Report 2019, Table 5.9, p. 123, available at: http://220.127.116.11/documents/10181/12870/Annual+Report+2019-20200625-rev2-eng/5952fd01-ba62-4186-a270-fe87fd87fd5c
- Central Bank Annual Report 2019, Statistical Appendix, Table 91, available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/publications/economic-and-financial-reports/annual-reports