(FactCheck’s response to State Minister Nimal Lanza)
On 5 December 2019, FactCheck published, in the Daily Mirror, a statement reported as being made by State Minister Nimal Lanza in the Divaina newspaper on 6 September 2019. FactCheck classified State Minister Lanza’s statement as FALSE. It has been brought to our attention now, that the Minister’s statement was reported incorrectly in the press.
In his statement, originally made in parliament, State Minister Lanza referred to statistics on ‘investments’. However, the press article incorrectly reported him as referring to ‘exports’ (Exhibit 1).
Considering this information, the statement that was checked, which is attributed to State Minister Lanza in the public record, will not be attributed to State Minster Lanza any longer by FactCheck. Consequently, FactCheck will re-classify this verdict in relation to State Minister Lanza as null and void, and communicate this re-classification through all its dissemination channels. FactCheck wishes to thank the State Minister for bringing this matter to our attention and expresses its regret for the consternation that has been caused.
MP Lanza: exposed on exports
(Original FactCheck published on 5 December 2019)
FactCheck evaluated the MP’s claims by using the data published by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). Exhibit 1 shows export growth for the period of 2005 to 2018. “Exports” can refer to either just “goods” or to “goods and services”. This fact check assesses the accuracy of the MP’s claims against both definitions.
CBSL data shows that from 2015 to 2018, export of goods grew by 6.82% while export of goods and services grew by 21.09%. This contradicts the MPs claim that there was no growth in exports during this period.
Likewise, for the period 2005 to 2014, export of goods grew by 75.41%, while exports of goods and services grew by 129.75%. Both these figures fall well below the 200 – 300% stated by the MP.
The MP also engages in an incongruent comparison of growth rates over a 9-year period (from 2005 to 2014) against a 4-year period (from 2014 to 2018). An appropriate comparison would be the annualised growth rates for the two periods. The annualised growth rates are set out in Exhibit 1.
The MP is incorrect on both the recent export growth, and the magnitude of the past export growth. Additionally, he cites a misleading comparison in support of his claim. Therefore, we classify this statement as FALSE.
*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.
Exhibit 1: Growth in exports of goods and services
- Central Bank of Sri Lanka, External Sector Statistics, Exports – Annual (1990 to Latest), available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/statistics/sheets/table2.01_20190506e.xls