A new Ministry - the need of the hour

30 October 2015 06:38 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A new Ministry MUST be established under the Prime Minister himself since the government has placed economic development as its main platform, we need to seek the support of the world to achieve this objective. The  government must now work out a plan using the best Multi disciplinary talent available in the country and has also to work out a strategy; we must now establish the machinery to achieve this goals.

The new Ministry must be under the PM himself for if  any Ministry or Department comes within the Prime Minister’s office then there is no more Red Tape; This has been my personal experience when I served under President JRJ. Considering the fact that this new government is giving the highest priority to  Economic Development and has made it its principal goal, it should, as stated earlier, establish the mechanism to achieve that goal.  Considering the fact that ‘Economic Development’ encompasses many different areas of governance, the need for proper coordination becomes vital; and the importance of foreign relations for the achievement of the national goal becomes obvious. The PM should therefore make his Ministry THE   CO-ORDINATING MINISTRY and also bring Foreign Affairs under his wing and designate the present Minister as ‘Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs’. 

Yes, the present Minister should be elevated to the rank of ‘Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs’ and be required to supervise the implantation of this most important national project. My mind goes back to the time I was the principal Secretary (the Executive Secretary) of the first Board of Investment, working under President J.R. Jayawardene. The word ‘NO’ was unknown when a request was made to any government department or institution from our ‘One Stop Shop’, the GCEC; that was how we attracted foreign investment and created over three thousand four hundred jobs in three years; it is because of this experience that I advocate the placement of the Ministry under the PM himself. Incidentally till 1978 ‘Foreign Affairs’ was under the ‘Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs’, when governments considered the combination of ‘Defence and Foreign Affairs‘ as being vital in  our national interests. Another very important matter in the conduct of international relations, is the perception of the foreign country as to who has the final say on any issue which affects their interests; it is therefore in our interest to perch the Ministry of Economic Development and Foreign Affairs at as high a position as possible and staff it with competent people.  I do hope that this government will not appoint friends and relations,  unless they are qualified and competent to represent our country and take us forward. I also hope that the government will take a page out of the book of the US Congress  and appoint a proper High Posts Committee of Parliament to vet those appointed as Heads of Missions. There is also the need to professionalise the Foreign Service and to also protect it through an Act of Parliament. I prepared a draft of an Act after much research, (during Chandrika’s Presidency) as many countries have such legislation, but could not have it ‘pushed’ through Parliament as there was no interest.
 
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