In his statement, former Prime Minister (PM) Ranil Wickremesinghe made two claims: (1) Government revenue fell by LKR 100 billion, to LKR 50 billion, in July 2020, and (2) the required expenditure for salaries and pensions significantly exceeded revenue.
To check this claim, FactCheck consulted data from the Central Bank weekly indicators and monthly bulletins.
Claim 1: Exhibit 1 shows that the government revenue was approximately LKR 143.9 billion in July 2019 and fell to LKR 99.8 billion in July 2020, not to LKR 50 billion as he claimed. While the former PM might be assessed as being approximately correct on the monthly revenue when he was PM, he is hugely off the mark on the LKR 50 billion revenue figure for July 2020. Consequently, the actual drop in revenue is less than half of the 100 billion implied by his claim.
Claim 2: On average, the total monthly government expenditure on salaries & wages and pensions was LKR 83.8 billion from January to May 2020. Even if the former PM is assessed as being approximately correct on this figure, his claim that expenditure exceeded revenue is incorrect as he significantly underestimated the revenue.
Despite quoting some approximately correct numbers, both of the former PM’s claims are incorrect as a result of the figure cited for government revenue in July 2020 being hugely off the mark. Therefore, we classify the former PM’s statement as FALSE.
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