To evaluate the president’s claim FactCheck.lk consulted the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) Annual Report 2020 and the Fiscal Management Report 2022.
Sri Lanka receives foreign loans both through the disbursements of previously agreed loans, as well as through new loans agreed upon, during any given period.
Sri Lanka received disbursements of USD 3,467 million from previously agreed loans, from January 2020 to August 2021. Sri Lanka also entered into new loan commitments of USD 2,962 million during that period (see Exhibit 1). Of these new loan commitments some have already been disbursed, including the USD 1,308 million loan obtained from the China Development Bank. These figures contradict the president’s claim.
Alternatively, if the president meant to refer to only new market-based loans as opposed to the new concessional multilateral and bilateral loans, the claim would still be incorrect. According to MoF, Sri Lanka obtained market loans amounting to USD 1,308 million between January 2020 and August 2021.
The president is incorrect in his claim that no foreign loans were taken during his tenure. The inaccuracy persists even if he was understood as referring to only new loans agreed after 2020 or was read as intending to refer to only new market-based borrowings.
Therefore, we classify the president’s statement as FALSE.
**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.
NewsWire. 2022. “No foreign loans have been taken during my two years” President – NewsWire. [online] Available at: <https://www.newswire.lk/2022/01/07/no-foreign-loans-h-been-taken-during-my-two-years-president/> [Accessed 25 January 2022].
Fiscal Management Report 2022 Access: https://www.treasury.gov.lk/api/file/16e9c6ec-7a13-4220-a8a7-1427c5d14785
Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance 2020Access : https://www.treasury.gov.lk/p/annual-reports
Central Bank of Sri Lanka , External Sector Performance September 2021 Access :https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20211115_external_sector_performance_september_2021_e.pdf Central Bank of Sri Lanka , External Sector Performance April 2021 Access : https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20210617_external_sector_performance_april_2021_e.pdf
Central Bank of Sri Lanka , External Sector Performance March 2020 Access : https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20200601_external_sector_performance_march_2020_e.pdf