FactCheck evaluated the MP’s claim using data from the Annual Report 2018 and the Weekly Economic Indicators published by the CBSL. At the time the MP made the statement, data for 2019 was only available for the first nine months (see Exhibit 1).
The MP quotes two numbers in his claim that the yahapalana government doubled state revenue: a starting number of LKR 1.05 trillion in 2014 and a maximum of LKR 2.1 trillion in the 2015-2019 period. On the former, the MP is incorrect – total revenue collected in 2014 was LKR 1.20 trillion. The MP’s error in quoting the starting figure may be due to him using the figure for tax revenue (LKR 1.05 trillion in 2014) than total revenue (which includes both tax and non-tax revenue).
The highest recorded revenue during the 2015-2019 period is LKR 1.92 trillion in 2018. This is less than that claimed by the MP. Hence, it is likely that the MP is referring to 2019 in his statement. To estimate 2019 revenue based on the data available at the time the MP made the claim, FactCheck used the share collected of revenue that has been collected in the last three months in previous years (2015-2018). As Exhibit 1 shows, based on the average share collected during the last three months for the period 2015-2018 (29.5%), the estimated revenue in 2019 would be LKR 2 trillion. Hence, based on the data available to him at the time, seems correct.
In underestimating the starting point, the MP overestimates the increase in revenue during the period 2015-2019. Total state revenue increased by 1.67 times (based on the estimate) and did not double as the MP claims.
Hence, we classify the MP’s statement as PARTLY TRUE.
Note: Since making the statement, the latest data released in the Central Bank Annual Report 2019 on 28 April 2020 shows that the revenue collected in 2019 was LKR 1.90 trillion.
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