Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa overclaims change in economic growth


Prior to 2015, the economic growth rate was between 7% and 8%, but by 2019, it fell below 2%.

Divaina | June 16, 2020


Partly True

Fact Check

FactCheck evaluated the president’s claim in terms of real GDP growth in the post-war period, using data from the 2019 National Accounts Estimates of the Department of Census and Statistics and the Annual Report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka 2019.

From 2010 to 2014, the real GDP growth rate reported averaged 6.78%, which is a little below the 7-8% claimed. This results from the GDP growth being higher than 7% for 3 years in 2010-12, and under 7% for 2 years in 2013-14.

The latest updated national statistics calculate GDP growth using 2010 as the base year. However, prior to 2015, the calculations used 2002 as the base year. In that calculation, the 2010-2014 average growth rate was 7.4%.

In 2019, the GDP growth rate was reported as 2.3%, which is a little higher than the ‘below 2%’ claimed.

The president is correct in suggesting that economic growth was much lower in 2019 relative to the period prior to 2015. However, his claim understates 2019 GDP growth.

Therefore, we classify the president’s statement as PARTLY TRUE.

*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: Annual real GDP growth rate for Sri Lanka (2010 to 2019)