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Sri Lanka President appoints ministry secretaries

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed 25 secretaries to ministries, with some officers unchanged from time of the Presidential election.

Under Sri Lanka’s constitution unlike in fast growing countries in East Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia or Korea and developed nations such as the UK, ministry secretaries are no longer permanent, and they are shuffled frequently instead of ministers.

Analysts have identified impermanent secretaries which in turn makes people under them lack tenure security and get promotions on patronage instead of exams and performance as a key problem that blocks progress and worsens regime uncertainty (policy instability) and the build up of domain expertise.

Countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong did not kill the permanent civil service.

Sri Lanka abolished a civil service commission coming from British rule to kill the permanent bureaucracy and an independent public service. The British developed its civil service from China’s Confucian Mandarin scholar-bureaucrat system.

Fast growing East Asian nations not only preserved the system but others have built upon it. Sri Lanka’s constitutional council had also failed to re-establish an independent public service.

Korea, which had a history of Japanese rule, enacted a State Officials Act in 1949, and set up a Civil Service Commission in 2006, though persons outside the permanent public service can also compete in the Senior Civil Service, partly to bring in technical expertise.

Following monetary reforms in the early 1980s and democratic reforms from the late 1980s, Korea became a completely free country and rapidly outpaced other nations in East Asia to become an OECD nation.

Vietnam originally had a Chinese-style scholar-bureaucrat service under monarchical rule chosen from the Confucian style Imperial Academy (now Temple of Literature) founded in the 11th century. But the system was diluted first by French and later communist rule when the lines between the public and party officials became blurred.

But the public service has been reformed multiple times after the 1986 Doi Moi re-opening of the economy when Soviet-style central planning and self-sufficiency was abandoned in favour of a market based economy which was rapidly freed.

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Several military officials have also been appointed to secretary posts.

1. W.M.D.J. Fernando
Cabinet Secretary

2. R.W.R. Pemasiri
Ministry of Highways

3. S.R. Attygalle
Ministry of Finance

4. J.J. Rathnasiri
Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government

5. Jagath P. Wijeweera
Ministry of Mass Media

6. RavindraHewawitharana
Ministry of Plantation

7. D.M. AnuraDissanayake
Ministry of Irrigation

8. W.A. ChulanandaPerera
Ministry of Industries

9. Ms. WasanthaPerera
Ministry of Power

10. S. Hettiarachchi
Ministry of Tourism

11. R.A.A.K. Ranawaka
Ministry of Lands

12. M.P.D.U.K. MapaPathirana
Ministry of Labour

13. Ms. R.M.I. Rathnayake
Ministry of Fisheries

14. Major General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne
Ministry of Defence

15. M. K.B. Harischandra
Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation

16. N.B. Monti Ranatunga
Ministry of Transport

17. Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama
Ministry of Water Supply

18. Ms. J.M.B. Jayawardene
Ministry of Trade

19. Major General SanjeewaMunasinghe
Ministry of Health

20. Major General (Retd.) A.K. Sumedha Perera
Ministry of Agriculture

21. AnuradhaWijekoon
Ministry of Youth and Sports

22. Ms. K.D.R. Olga
Ministry of Energy

23. Admiral (Retd.) JayanathColombage
Ministry of Foreign Relations

24. Dr. Anil Jasinghe
Ministry of Environment

25. Prof. KapilaPerera
Ministry of Education

26. Sirinimal Perera
Ministry of Urban Development and Housing