I think we are understating Sri Lanka’s GDP under new methodology: CB Governor

Jan 02, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor on Wednesday pointed out that the authorities need to look at carefully whether they are recording the GDP of the country accurately.

According to Coomaraswamy’s own view, the growth in 2018 should be somewhere between 3.5 and 4 percent.

“I don’t think this is a 3 percent growth economy, the IMF said 3.5 percent, the World Bank said 4 percent and we thought it was about 3.8 percent,” he said.

Coomaraswamy was speaking at a press conference held at the Central Bank just after announcing the road map for 2019.

“My own view is that we are understating GDP. Not that anybody doing it intentionally, it’s just the process of going into a new methodology that needs to support with the certain amount of surveys.”

Sri Lanka adopted a new methodology for recording GDP estimates a few years ago which was commended by experts as a good methodology.

“But that methodology needs a lot of surveys to support it. We at the moment don’t have the resources to undertake all the surveys that are necessary to support that methodology,” he said.

“So, they tend to use proxies, when you use proxies it tends to be a judgment call. So what is not certain is that whether they have picked the right proxies or enough proxies.”

Coomaraswamy said even though the Census and Statistics Department is the statutory authority publishing GDP growth numbers, they also have challenges.

“One particular number I’m challenged by is the transport sector; it contracted. Maybe it’s true but that’s something that I have doubts because proxies used for that may not be completed as they could be,”

“Even the Port City, I think there is some challenge in how to record that activity.”