Sri Lanka’s opposition pokes fun at government growth numbers

April 03, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party poked fun at the government’s economic performance as two agencies produced two sets of national accounts claiming growth rates of 7.4 and 7.7 percent for 2006. “On March 30, the central bank said the economy grew by 7.4 percent,” parliamentarian Kabir Hashim told reporters.

“This is just a day after the Department of Statistics said growth was 7.7 percent. It is a good thing they did not release it two days later because then everyone would have thought it was an April fool’s joke,” he quipped.

The two sets of national accounts produced by the two agencies has created problem even for the media who has to report two numbers in two days forcing them to explain to an already skeptical readership why two numbers are produced.

The Department of Census and Statistics which generally comes up with a higher growth number probably produces gross domestic product estimates that are closer to the real thing as it has a data structure or a statistical snapshot or more recent origin.

Both agencies are now working to produce unified national accounts with the central bank eventually handing the task to the statistics office.

A central bank, which