The people will have to bear an additional cost of Rs.400 million a month as a result of Monday’s increase in the number of Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers without any rationale behind it, political parties said.
According to a set of documents recently tabled in Parliament in response to a question asked by United National Party (UNP) MP Ravi Karunanayake, at least Rs.32 million is spent monthly on a minister and his personal staff consisting of 15 members. In addition Rs.29 million is spent on a deputy minister.
The government appointed five new ministers, five new deputy ministers and two project ministers at Monday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
“I believe at least Rs.400 million is needed for a month for the expenses of new ministers, deputy ministers and two project ministers. A new ministry has to have at least a staff of 50. This staff includes Ministry Secretary, Assistant Secretary and others. These are in addition to the personal staff of the minister concerned,” Mr. Karunanayake told Daily Mirror.
He said Sri Lanka now holds a record for the largest Cabinet in South Asia with its latest expansion.
“Sri Lanka has 55 Cabinet Ministers while India known to be a global economic powerhouse having only 33. Pakistan has only 19 Cabinet Ministers while Maldives has 17. The United States, the number one economy in the world, has only 11 Cabinet Ministers,” Mr. Karunanayake said.
Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said no scientific basis has been followed in the designation of ministry portfolios. JVP propaganda secretary Vijitha Herath told a news conference that such ad hoc appointments of ministers would not help resuscitate the country’s economy.
“Pavithra Wanniarachchi has been appointed as Power and Energy Minister. Yet, the renewable energy sector has not been placed under her. Though Susil Premajayantha is the Environment Minister, the Wildlife Department is not under his purview. He is in charge of the wild, but not wild animals.
There is a separate ministry for it. It is hilarious.
There is one ministry for education. Yet, distribution of uniform material lies with another ministry called ‘Education Services,” Mr. Herath said. “There is no rationale for the Cabinet reshuffle. Only the servitude to the First Family has been considered. This reshuffle has been done to please those who played a major role in impeaching the Chief Justice.” (KB)