Sri Lanka President decides scope of defence, finance and information ministries – Update

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had demarcated the operational scope of defence, finance and information ministries, as a first step in formulating the number of ministries in the new administration.

Urban development has been dropped from defence.

The decision published in the state gazette said other areas and state departments will remain with the President until decisions are made.

Rajitha Senaratne, a close ally of the President Sirisena told reporters that the subject areas of ministries in the new administration will be decided on a ‘scientific basis.’

"It will not be a round number," he said.

The number could range from about 23 to 27, but the operational scope will be decide on what make sense.

Does it make sense to put irrigation with agriculture for example, Senaratne said.

The first three ministries had now been gazetted.

President Sirisena is expected to keep the ministry of defence for himself.

The UNP is expected to get about a dozen ministries and coalition partners the balance. Coalition politics are likely to drive decisions wtih attempts also being made to rope in members of the United National Peoples Alliance.

UNP’s Ravi Karunanayake is a front runner for the post of finance minister. He declined comment saying telling reporters to wait until appointmetns are made.

Mangala Samaraweera is tipped to be foreign minsiter. Samaraweera also declined to confirm saying one should be prepared to take up any portfolio that is given.

Economic policy savvy firebrands such as Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickramaratne who came on the nationalist are expected to take deputy minister posts, sources say.

Update II