Sri Lanka government statisticians defend numbers

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

Dec 29, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s statistics office has defended their numbers from a growing tide of skepticism amid further revelations about the involvement of the island’s policymakers in manipulating the country’s price index. The skepticism about Sri Lanka’s growth numbers came at first because two different numbers were generated from the Central Bank and the Department of Census and Statistics.

The statistics office had reported a gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate of around half a percentage point higher than that generated by the central bank.

Though the discrepancy was easily explained – as coming from different statistical models of the economy from different base years- the Central Bank number was suddenly suppressed without attempting to reconcile the two data series, firing public distrust in government numbers.

Not making up

The strong growth numbers, above the long-term trend, has added fuel to the fire, as they are in sharp contrast to what ordinary people, ravaged by high inflation, and businesses, ravaged by high interest rates and falling profits, feel on the ground.

“We use information we have received, we are not making up data (thorathuru hadala newei),” Nal