By Imesh Ranasinghe
The release of the fourth quarter (Q4) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for 2021 will be delayed by a week despite there being no impact from power cuts, the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) said.
DCS Director General P.M.P. Anura Kumara said that the Q4 report would be released along with the rebased GDP report within one week from 15 March, the date by which the report should be made public.
He stated that since both the rebased GDP report and the Q4 report were compiled by the same staff, the 15 March deadline would be impossible to meet.
The Director General stated that the delay on this occasion was mainly due to having the same staff working on the rebasing report and the Q4 GDP report, as well as the difficulties in scheduling time for discussions with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
However, he said that the power cuts experienced in the last few weeks had had no impact on the data collection and analysis.
The Department initially announced in 2018 that it was working on the rebasing GDP calculation from 2010 to 2015.
This was initially decided after then CBSL Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said in 2017 that quarterly GDP reports did not depict the true picture of the economy.
During the pandemic year 2020, the Department delayed the release of the Q2 and Q3 GDP reports, which received much criticism from the Opposition.
Sri Lanka’s GDP contracted 1.5% in Q3 2021 amid a coronavirus curfew and import restrictions and growth slowed from a 12.3% recovery in Q2 and 1.3% growth in Q3 of 2020.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast that Sri Lanka’s GDP would grow by 3.4% in 2021 while the World Bank forecasted a 3.3% growth for the year.
The Central Bank in November 2021 forecast a 5% growth for 2021 as the economy recovered after months of lockdowns and tourism resumed.