Quoting annual reports from the Ministry of Finance, Fact Check Sri Lanka said, "It is incorrect to compare a value of 5.7% in 2014, which does not account for unpaid claims, against a figure of 8.4% in 2019, which accounts for unpaid claims. It is also inaccurate to calculate the budget deficit by considering unpaid claims in expenditure without applying the same basis to revenue".
Rajapaksa said in the budget speech, "…the budget deficit which my government brought down to 5.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, has increased to over 9.6 percent of the GDP by 2019… outstanding unpaid bills amounted to Rs. 243 billion, while the foreign debt financed expenditure amounted to Rs. 212 billion remained unaccounted […which] resulted in the reported budget deficit for 2019."
Opposion MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said in a tweet that the Secretary to the Treasury was finally responsible for this kind of errors. He pointed out that he had raised it with him at the Committee on Public Finance while the official tried to justify it."