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Sri Lanka to get new strategic development ministry

ECONOMYNEXT, Sri Lanka’s new government is set to fast track its economic reforms agenda with the creation of a new ministry for strategic development that will include functions of both the finance ministry as well as investment promotion, official sources said.

UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrema is tipped to head the new ministry whose name is still being decided in time for Monday’s swearing in of a cabinet by UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who will be sworn in Prime Minister on Friday.

“The idea is that there is a new ministry which will help speed up the monetary and fiscal reforms to achieve the economic targets of the new government,” the official said asking not to be named.

The new government is grappling with not only the ministers and their portfolios, but how to accommodate a section of the SLFP which is trying to forge a “national government” as defined by the 19th amendment to the constitution.

Government sources said  the SLFP was demanding 10 to 15 cabinet slots and an equal number of deputy ministries in exchange for their support. The SLFP had also wanted the government to limit its cabinet positions to 20 so that the final cabinet will be anything between 30 to 35, something that is not acceptable to the UNP.

President Sirisena has appointed a five-member committee headed by former president Chandrika Kumaratunga to negotiate with Prime Minister-elect Wickremesinghe and a decision will have to be made over the weekend.

The 19th amendment to the constitution stipulated that there shall be a maximum of 30 cabinet ministers in the event a party is forming a government on its own. However, in the event of a “national government” the parliament will have to decide the size of the cabinet and the number of junior ministries.

You can access the

19th amendment to the constitution here:

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