Nomenclature is the name of the game

Pending Gazette notification Ministers, deputies make grandiose plans while trying to second guess what exactly is expected of them, if anything

As Cabinet Ministers, deputies and staff are kept waiting to be apprised of their subjects and functions, arrangements are under way to look for new office space and staff, and to organise celebrations to mark ministerial appointments.

A Minister will be entitled to at least three vehicles, a minimum of six bodyguards with some of them having over 100 security personnel. Some of the newly appointed Ministers yesterday said they did have a clue to their functions, as per the subjects allocated to them, but were awaiting the Gazette notification.

Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara told the Sunday Times that his main task would be to ensure that all ministries would be able to work in all main three languages - Sinhala, Tamil and English.

He said that the National Languages Department would be under his ministry, and he hopes to introduce language training programmes with the support of UN agencies.

Mr. Lakshman Seneviratne who crossed over from the UNP and was appointed Minister of Productivity Promotion, told the Sunday Times that his main task would be to "improve productivity by 1% in every ministry, and change attitudes towards improvement of productivity".

"I plan to get the support of graduates, Grama Sevakas and Divisional Secretaries to work towards improving productivity. If I can improve productivity by 1%, we will be able to gain additional revenue", he said.

He said that the President had advised that efforts should be made to change the attitudes of the people to improve productivity. Minister of State Management Reforms, Navin Dissanayaka told the Sunday Times that his ministry was partly held by Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake who was the Public Management and Reforms Minister in the last cabinet.

"The main task would be to ensure that corruption, malpractices and wastage are eliminated in State institutions", he said. "Some people do less work in their offices, while others waste State resources. We will have to take steps to reduce this", he said.

Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Dilan Perera, whose Ministerial functions were earlier held by the Ministry of External Affairs, said that he was not aware of the institutions which would be brought under his purview, until the Gazette notification is made available.

Asgiriya prelate not happy about jumbo Cabinet

The Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake, Ven. Udugama Buddarakitta Thera, has hit out at the size of the new Cabinet, saying the Government should have thought about the welfare of the people before appointing a large number of ministers.

He made this remark when Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne called on him to seek his blessings, shortly after the new Cabinet was announced on Monday.

“We also buy goods from shops and are well aware of the problems the people face. Some people think that we live in luxury. That is not true,” he told the Prime Minister. “There is a scarcity of essential items. A kilo of rice is between Rs. 60 and 70. There is no use in building more temples and working towards personal goals. The Government should set an example for the people,” the prelate added.

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