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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sri Lanka chambers ask for probe on official statistics

Economic downturn   Sri Lanka’s key business chambers have called for a probe on official statistics following reports on how an official was allegedly asked to boost gross domestic numbers in a court filing.
“If such doubts were to persist, it would lead to a lack of credibility on a range of published data & have serious implications on investor confidence & country ratings,” business chambers said in a joint statement.

“Therefore, The Joint Chambers of Commerce urge the authorities to investigate the relevant allegations in a credible & transparent manner and to establish the integrity of data published by all agencies as a matter of urgency.”

 The allegations had been denied by state statistic office.

Some of Sri Lanka’s economic statistics, especially gross domestic product numbers have been questioned by analysts partly due to numbers not matching some observed data such as soaring construction sector growth amid falling cement sales.

A bloated gross domestic product number can have problems for citizens such as showing a lower than actual revenue to GDP, despite visibly high taxation, leading to calls by statists to increase government revenues and expand the state further.

In a peculiar trend there have been calls from some policy advocates and even the International Monetary Fund to expand state revenues instead of bringing the deficit down by containing expenses.

 The full statement by the Chambers is reproduced below:-

Credibility of Statistics
Recent newspaper reports have led to doubts being cast on the GDP growth rates published by the Department of Census & Statistics.

 If such doubts were to persist, it would lead to a lack of credibility on a range of published data & have serious implications on investor confidence & country ratings. Therefore, The Joint Chambers of Commerce urge the authorities to investigate the relevant allegations in a credible & transparent manner and to establish the integrity of data published by all agencies as a matter of urgency.

The statement is endorsed by the National Chamber of Commerce, COYLE, CNCI, National Chamber of Exporters and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. (LBO)
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