In a parliamentary speech, the MP made two claims: (1) exports have decreased by 19.5%, and (2) the industrial sector has collapsed by 23.4% in the first quarter of 2023.
To verify these claims, FactCheck.lk consulted the export and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics provided by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
On claim 1: The MP does not specify the time frame for this claim. But FactCheck.lk found that CBSL export statistics show a 19.5% decline in goods exports in June 2023 compared to June 2022.
It is misleading to rely on a single month’s exports to make a broader claim about the overall decline in exports, due to cycles and fluctuations in export revenue. For instance, if he took July 2023 instead of June 2023 as the months to compare, the change would have been 12.4%.
A more reasonable assessment would be to compare exports over a range of months. Sri Lanka’s exports declined by 7.9% in the first quarter of 2023 and by 12.1% in the second quarter compared to the same periods in 2022. Both these declines are significantly lower than the 19.5% decline cited by the MP.
On claim 2: GDP data confirms that the real value of industrial sector production declined by 23.4% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022, which is correctly cited by the MP.
To summarise, the MP correctly cites the decline in industrial sector production. However, the figure he cites for the decline in exports is a little bit inflated and misleading, because he makes a month-on-month comparison where the decline in exports is not typical of the general decline in exports when evaluated on a quarterly or periodic basis.
Therefore, we classify the MP’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.
‘External Sector’, Central Bank of Sri Lanka. https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/statistics/statistical-tables/external-sector
‘National Accounts: Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’, Central Bank of Sri Lanka. https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/statistics/statistical-tables/real-sector/national-accounts