In the above statement, the prime minister is making a negative attribution to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency by citing a fall in export share of GDP by 12 percentage points, from 30% to 18%.
FactCheck evaluated the claim using data from the Annual Report 2018 published by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Exhibit 1 shows the export earnings as a percentage of GDP for the years 2000, 2005 (the year in which Rajapaksa was elected president) and 2014 (the year Rajapaksa completed his second term as president).
In 2005 exports share of GDP was 26.0%. It fell by 12 percentage points to be only 14.0% by 2015. Therefore, the prime minister is correct on the substance of his claim. But the data points he cites, of 30% to 18%, are not correct.
In evaluating the claim, it should also be noted that this period of decline in the export share precedes the Rajapaksa administration. Exports as a share of GDP was highest in 2000 at 33.3% and had already fallen to 26.0% by 2005. Overall, the prime minister is correct on the substance of his claim, but not correct on the precise data points that he cites.
Therefore, we classify his 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.