The government is hiding bad news about the economy – Champika

ECONOMYNEXT- The Opposition is charging that Sri Lankans have to depend on foreign sources to find out the economic data in their own country as the government has prevented the Department of Census and Statistics from releasing the figures domestically.

Samagi Jana Balavegaya Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka told reporters today October 26, that because the economic news is bad government has prohibited the issuing of economic indicators of the country which should be done according to the law.

“We have to refer to figures released by the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank to find out about our own country,” he said at a press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo.

He said that the Health of the population has taken toll along with the economy and “governance is being done through Media circuses.”

He added that economic data of the country for the 2Q was due on September 15th which was not released and the data for the 3Q is due on November 15.

“Today we have to look at the economic data of Sri Lanka from foreign sources,” he said.

Further, he added that the government cannot function by hiding data and information from the people as it will cause the collapse of the country socially and its Health sector.

Last week Census and Statistics department announced that it would not release second-quarter gross domestic product data until December 2020, pending discussions with “international consultants the methods of estimating the output value of certain industry and services activities.”

Sri Lanka also delayed the release of first-quarter data, where output was down 1.6pct with about 10 days of lockdown and gradually decreasing economic activity from early March.

“While it is obvious that many economic activities were crippled during that time, there have been instances where some other economic activities have taken place in a different way than usual,” Sri Lanka’s Census and Statistics office said in a statement posted on its website.

“Some economic activities were also encouraged by Covid-19. In this context, it is imperative to discuss with international consultants the methods of estimating the output value of certain industry and services activities” it said.

“It was also decided to collect data on some of the above economic activities from other sources.”

“We kindly inform you that we have decided to publish the above estimates along with the GDP estimates for the third quarter of 2020 on 15.12.2020 as it will take a considerable amount of time for that work and to ensure the accuracy of the estimates that will be published.”

However larger countries that Sri Lanka had released second-quarter GDP. India said GDP contracted 23 percent.

The statistics department had come under pressure to show a higher growth number after the release of the first-quarter data. However, GDP data are estimates which are consistent if the same methodology is used across time and countries. (Colombo/Oct26/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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