SL’s poverty percentage at 11.7% - WB report
By Paneetha Ameresekere
The World Bank (WB) in a publication titled Sri Lanka Poverty Update’ released on Wednesday (13) said Sri Lanka’s poverty line is outdated and also said that the island’s’ poverty percentage is nearly three times more than the official poverty percentage, according to WB computations. While the official poverty percentage places the number of Sri Lanka’s poor at 4.1 per cent of the total population, however, the WB places this number at a higher figure of 11.7 per cent, with 500,000 of the country’s population added on to the poverty list last year due to the ill effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
‘Sri Lanka’s current low poverty line of Rs 4,166 per person, per mensem does not adequately represent a minimum acceptable standard of living for the poor, the WB said. Therefore, a revision of the national poverty line is needed, it added. The poverty line in 2016 was Rs. 4,166 per person per month, or Rs. 137 per person per day, the WB said. ‘To put this number in perspective, a family of four with one breadwinner who makes only Rs. 20,000 per month is unlikely to be considered poor according to the national poverty line’, the WB said.