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Minister Sajith Premadasa cites outdated statistics on income disparity

03 Oct 2019 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      





Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa’s statement suggests that the gap in income share between the richest and poorest quintiles in the country is 50% of total household income. 

FactCheck assessed the minister’s claim against the income statistics in the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) of Sri Lanka.

Exhibit 1 shows that in 2016 (the latest available HIES), the gap in income share was 46%, and not 50%, as suggested by the minister’s statement. This is because the statistics he cites differ from the latest income shares reported for the richest and poorest quintiles (by approximately 6 and 17 percent). However, the minister’s claim can be assessed as correct on the HIES income statistics of 2009/10 and 2006/07. 

By drawing on outdated statistics, Minister Premadasa overstates the income disparity in Sri Lanka. Therefore, we classify his statement as FALSE.

The Minister’s statement is ambiguous on whether he is referring to the quintiles in terms of households or individuals (because household size varies, the two statistics are not equivalent). We have interpreted it to mean households, as that statistic is closest to his claim. 

  • 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.



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