Sri Lanka new administration has not tinkered with GDP data: Deputy Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government has rejected allegations that it tinkered with economic growth rates in newly published revised gross domestic product data with a new base year.

Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva said the revision had been done in 2011 during the time of the ousted Rajapaksa regime but not published as it would have exposed the reality that the economy was not doing as well as the then-government claimed.

The statistics office recently said it will publish a new series of gross domestic product data from 2015 and also released revised data from a new base year of 2010.

Rebased data shows a growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2014 compared to a reported 7.4 percent and 3.4 percent in 2013 compared to a reported 7.2 percent in 2013.

After the new data was released, Nivard Cabraal, former Central Bank governor, accused the government of trying to reduce the economic achievements of the former Rajapaksa regime, saying the data showed the economy had done even better than calculated earlier.

De Silva accused Cabraal of trying to mislead the public in the run-up to the August 17, parliamentary polls.

“Don’t mislead the people. The revision of GDp data was started in 2011 by the former government. They did not disclose the fresh data as it would have been unfavourable to them and pricked the economic ‘bubble’ that has been created,” he told a news conference.

“Even at that time we, in the opposition, asked why if the economy was doing so well, the people did not feel it,” he said. “The ‘development’ fraud has now been exposed."(Colombo/July 15, 2015)

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