COVID -19 puts pressure on economic statistics
The COVID-19 epidemic had massively impacted the Sri Lankan economy during the second-quarte, of 2020.
Due to the pandemic, the country was completely/partially shut down for two months and partially opened only in the last month of the quarter.
It was obvious that during the second-quarter of 2020, most of the economic activities were totally crippled and some were differently operated than usual and some economic activities were also highly encouraged by COVID-19.
Therefore, it was a very unusual situation for the Department and they needed to pay special attention to these matters in properly estimating the National Accounts for the second-quarter and for the other quarters/ years until the effect of COVID-19 pandemic is over.
As the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) is responsible to release timely and more accurate National Accounts estimates, including GDP and other macro-economic indicators for the country, it was decided to review further the estimates that have already been compiled while collecting more information on some of the economic activities which differently occurred, during this quarter, from many other different sources. As it will take a considerable length of time and as the department has already started collecting the information needed to compile those estimates for the third-quarter of 2020, it was decided to publish the GDP estimates for both quarters together on the date of releasing the GDP estimates for the third quarter of 2020, i.e. on 15.12.2020.
Then, the estimates for the second and the third-quarters of 2020 will be published separately as usual and in normal formats.
However, considering the limitations faced currently this date may further change.
For instance, the third-quarter of 2020 started with the effect of the second wave of COVID-19 and currently the effect of this pandemic has already spread to more than 21 districts of the country.
Some districts have been locked down fully or partially at the moment. Travelling using public transport has been limited and the number of officers who come to office has also been limited according to the health related guidelines, issued by the Ministry of Health in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Some of the officers have already started to work from home with limited resources. With all these constraints, the DCS tries it’s best to release the National Accounts Estimates as planned.