Poverty Line Increases by 52.26% to Rs 12,444

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Driven by record high inflation, Sri Lanka’s official poverty line (OPL) accelerated for the fifth consecutive month to June, increasing by 10.92 per cent (Rs 1,225) month on month to June to Rs 12,444; Census and Statistics Department (CSD) data released on Monday (8) showed.   In the previous month May, this figure (OPL) was Rs 11,219.

The OPL means the minimum monthly earnings needed by an individual in the country to be considered as being “non-poor,” i.e., needed to buy the bare necessities of life for a month.

The OPL at Rs 12,444 in June means that an individual needed to earn a minimum of Rs 12,444 that month to be considered as being non-poor.

Meanwhile, the OPL as at last year was recorded at a mere Rs 7,913 by CSD. Therefore, it has, within a short space of six months to June of this year (2022) risen by 52.26 per cent (Rs 4,531) to Rs 12,444; driven by record high inflation.

According to the last official poverty survey conducted by the CSD in 2019, it was found that 3.04 million of Sri Lanka’s population was poor. This accounted for 14.3 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population that year. The OPL in 2019 was a mere Rs 6,966. It has since, i.e. in a space of two-and-a-half years risen by 78.64 per cent (Rs 5,478) to Rs 12,444 by June 2022, driven by record high inflation, ostensibly, driving more people to poverty.

By Paneetha Ameresekere