The MP makes two claims about the losses of 52 strategically important SOEs (as classified by the Ministry of Finance): (1) LKR 286 billion in 2021, (2) LKR 966 billion by the second quarter of 2022
To evaluate these claims, FactCheck.lk consulted the midyear fiscal report for 2022 of the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Table 3.2 of this report shows the net loss of the 52 key SOEs as LKR 86 billion (Exhibit 1). However, 20 out of the 52 key SOEs that incurred losses had (gross) losses amounting to LKR 286 billion, which is the figure cited by the MP (Exhibit 1).
On the second claim, according to the MoF report, the net loss for the 52 key SOEs amounted to LKR 859 billion by the end of April 2022. However, the (gross) losses of the 20 loss-making SOEs amounted to LKR 933 billion (Exhibit 1), which is close to the figure cited by the MP, referring to the second quarter.
The figures the MP cites for 2021 and 2022 align with the gross loss of the 20 loss-making SOEs. However, the statement could be misleading: The MP mentions 52 SOEs but counts only the gross loss of 20-loss making SOEs. The net loss of the 52 SOEs is less, as some make profits.
Since the statement could be misleading by citing gross losses instead of net losses, we classify it 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.
Exhibit 1: Comparison of the data on the losses of 52 key SOEs
Source: MoF midyear fiscal report for 2022
Note: Relative to 12 months of 2021, the net losses of the 52 key SOEs increased by LKR 773 billion during the first 4 months of 2022 alone. (The gross losses increased by LKR 646 billion). This huge increase in losses in 2022 is due to poor treasury management – holding debt in USD, and suffering the loss of LKR currency depreciation, which occurred in March 2022. To find out more about the impact of depreciation on SOE losses in the past, click https://bit.ly/3WJ201d
MoF midyear fiscal report for 2022, available at:
https://www.treasury.gov.lk/api/file/65addab5-c203-46f1-b095-cb9a59881e6b[last accessed: 11 November 2022]