Cabinet of Ministers
As promised the President has appointed a smaller
Cabinet of Ministers. Though there is a possibility of the
number of Ministers being increased by the addition of a few
this week, relative to the earlier Cabinets the new one is
With the elimination of the non-Cabinet ministerial
portfolios the saving in numbers and costs is considerable. The
President could do so with consummate ease because the UPFA has
a very broad majority in Parliament. It was to ensure stable
Government that the Cabinet had to be expanded earlier. It was
not simply expanded, the compulsions on the President were so
great that the expansion cold not be contained in the realm of
There is much more than numbers in the new Cabinet. The
subjects under which ministries are allocated show better
rationale in judgment. The duplicity that existed earlier is no
longer there. This could facilitate more efficient running of
ministries as it removes many ambiguities that existed earlier
in ascertaining the legitimate domain of each ministry.
The real nature of this division would come to light only
after public institutions are attached to different ministries.
In the new situation where there is no direct security threat
from terrorists, the Government could dispense with many
personnel that were attached to the ministerial security
division. There could be a considerable saving in both personnel
As most Ministers are not new-comers there is no need to
import new duty free vehicles for their use. Since the number of
ministries has been reduced the resources could be better used.
Thus by reducing the size of the Cabinet of Ministers the
President has effected a considerable saving which could be
spent for better purposes. This means a welcome step towards
cheaper and more accessible governance.
Some Ministers may be unhappy over the new portfolios they
have received. There is nothing to be disheartened. As the
President emphasized all ministries are equally important since
they embrace valuable sectors of the economy or some valuable
Instead of lamenting over loss of pet subjects, they should
take up the new challenges and do their best to serve the
country in their new capacities.
The main thing in the Cabinet system of governance is its
collective responsibility. Whatever the differences that may
have been there on the battle for manaape they should pool their
synergies and act as one team for the betterment of the people
who elected them to Office.
This post-war Cabinet will face more daunting challenges.
Consolidating peace, setting up better forms of governance,
ending waste and corruption, ensuring national harmony, economic
development, poverty alleviation and many more vital issues will
It is also necessary to select capable public servants to man
the ministries as well as the personal offices of Ministers. In
the selection of officers for the personal staff it had been the
practice to rely on kinship or friendship over efficiency and
capability. This practice should be dispensed with. It cannot be
difficult to find suitable persons with necessary experience and
political knowledge and loyalty to fill these posts.
People expect much from the new Cabinet. Each and every
member of the Cabinet should respond with commitment and
dedication to fulfill the aspirations of the people.
Whatever proposals are passed by the Cabinet, whatever
legislation is approved by Parliament it is the public service
that would implement them. One of the first and priority tasks
before the new Cabinet is to eliminate red tape and bureaucratic
practices in the system of public administration. They could
bring to naught whatever decision of the Cabinet. There could
even be resistance from bureaucrats.
The country would be facing novel problems which require
innovative thinking and painstaking labour. The Cabinet should
be equally qualified to take up such challenges.
The economic front may also place new challenges on the
agenda. The world financial crisis and economic downturn is not
over yet. It would certainly impose new constraints. Eliminating
them would need much more than plain rhetoric.
The best practice would be for the new Cabinet to take people
into confidence and solicit their support in deciding on