Anura Kumara Dissanayake

MP Dissanayake right on poverty of estate workers


“They [estate workers] spend 50 percent of their earnings on food."

Daily News | January 25, 2019



Fact Check

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