Verité Research has come up with a model structure for government ministries on the basis of a workable Cabinet for a country that works.
It said the role played by the Cabinet of Ministers is critical to ensure that the government functions efficiently and effectively.
Verité Research has found that the way in which Cabinet portfolios are designed in Sri Lanka impedes the ability of government to be effective.
A forum held on Thursday focused on three problems associated with past Cabinets:
1) The irrational assignment of subjects under ministry portfolios;
2) The proliferation of ministries; and
3) The instability of ministry portfolios.
Verite said in the past, these three problems created delays in decision-making and implementation, reduced government accountability and increased costs.
Creating a cabinet that works
Verité Research presented a methodology that critically evaluates how rational the past three cabinets have been. It found that the problem of irrational, larger-than-necessary, unstable Cabinet ministries has been common across successive governments during the 2010-2020 period.
- Cabinet under President Mahinda Rajapaksa in December 2014: 5% of ministries combined subjects that were unrelated to each other (misaligned) and 95% of the ministries had subjects that could have easily been grouped together (fragmented).
- Cabinet under President Maithripala Sirisena in November 2019: 58% of all ministries were misaligned and 84% were fragmented.
- Cabinet under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in January 2020: 17% of the ministries were misaligned and 79% of ministries were fragmented.
“Therefore, fixing these problems is critical to have a government that functions efficiently and effectively,” Verite said.
Based on its research, Verité Research provides a model sample of 15 ministries that can minimise irrationality and fragmentation:
1. Finance and Planning
4. Education and Research
8. Public Utilities
9. Ports, Shipping, and Civil Aviation
10. Economic Affairs
11. Home Affairs and Public Administration
12. Foreign Affairs
13. Family and Community Development
14. Society and Culture
Verité Research will be releasing a white paper providing an expanded model structure for government.
The online discussion, hosted by Sri Lanka’s pioneering parliamentary platform, Manthri.lk, was joined by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce CEO Manjula de Silva, LIRNEasia Senior Research Fellow Dr. Sujatha Gamage, and Advocata Institute COO Dhananath Fernando.