On 24 June 2020, Divaina reported Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s above claim that his government succeeded in achieving effectively universal access to electricity (99.9% access). To evaluate this claim, FactCheck consulted data from the annual reports of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2019.
In 2004—prior to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) forming government—74.9% of the population had access to electricity. By 2014—the final year of SLFP government—access had increased to 98.0% of the population.
The claimed effective universal access was not achieved during the period of the SLFP governmnet. Access continued to increase in 2015 rising to 98.5%. In 2016 it rose to 99.3% and has remained at that level since. Despite clearly being an overstatement, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s claim nevertheless aligns with the fact that great strides were made towards improving access to electricity during the period of the SLFP government.
Therefore, we classify the prime minister’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: Electrification Level of Sri Lanka
- Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Annual Reports 2005 – 2019, Key Social Indicators
- Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Annual Report 2004, Special Statistical Appendix