President Maithripala Sirisena emphasised the necessity of line ministries working together for the process of national development to achieve the development aspirations of the country.
The President added that it was the responsibility of all the secretaries to the ministries to extend their fullest cooperation to achieve the success of relevant projects, without giving their duties only to the responsible ministry.
President Sirisena made this observation while addressing ministry secretaries at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday.
The President also highlighted the necessity of maintaining some control over foreign travel by ministers and ministry officials from the top to the bottom level, and said that some ministers and officials leaving the country to attend conferences remained in those countries even after these events had concluded. He urged the ministry secretaries to control this situation as well as implement a program to train officers, instead of the same officer traveling overseas annually.
Furthermore, the President, expressing his views regarding the transfers of Divisional Secretaries, said that a Divisional Secretary cannot hold the position for a long period of time at the same location because of the need of somebody. He added that a policy decision should be implemented regarding transfers.
The President said that he has signed many MoUs with foreign countries following his visits to those countries and instructed the secretaries to establish a separate division under an Additional Secretary in this regard to implement and follow up on these agreements to achieve the expected targets.
The President revealed that 12 agreements were signed during his recent visit to Bangladesh.
“The Prime Minister of Bangladesh said it was the largest number of agreements signed by the Government of Bangladesh within one day,” he said.
President Sirisena emphasised he would take action to hold progress review meetings at all ministries shortly. He said the performance of those ministries throughout the last two and half years will be reviewed and attention will be placed on their goals for 2020.
The President directed the secretaries to the ministries to complete taking over lands to build houses for those who lost their homes due to the recent floods.
He also looked into the facilities, including drinking water, provided to people living in areas affected by the drought.
The President also informed the secretaries to the ministries of their responsibilities at a ministry level to be fulfilled to provide relief to the problems people faced due to the Uma Oya project.
During the discussion, attention was also paid to filling vacancies at ministries.
The President pointed out the need for a publicity program to educate people on development activities carried out at the ministry level. He issued a directive to deploy press officers from all ministries to work in connection with the Government Information Department in this regard.
He stated that the program to be initiated for the country and the people should be better communicated to the people. He said secretaries to the ministries should meet once in three months and discuss this. Secretary to the President Austin Fernando also joined in the discussion.