On 25 January 2019, The Daily News reported the above statement made by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka.
The MP reportedly made this claim in parliament on 24 January, while moving the Adjournment Motion on the issue of wages of estate workers.
In order to assess the accuracy of the claim, we looked at the official published data from the latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) from 2016.
As shown in Exhibit 1, average household income in the estate sector is Rs. 34,804 and average household food expenditure is Rs. 16,890. Therefore, according to the latest data, the share of household income spent on food in the estate sector is 48.5%
As MP Dissanayaka’s quoted figure is a close approximation of the official data, we have categorised his statement as TRUE.
Exhibit 1: Average food expenditure, income and ratio of food expenditure to income by sector
- Department of Census and Statistics, Household Income and Expenditure Survey, Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2016 Final Report, available at http://www.statistics.gov.lk/HIES/HIES2016/HIES2016_FinalReport.pdf, page 7, 24.