President Maithripala Sirisena has reiterated a notice issued to the cabinet on 06 November last year and told prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that only the subject ministers should be submitting papers to the cabinet on matters of development.
Government sources say the president has given the instruction after considering the many difficulties the government has faced due to the submission of cabinet papers not by the subject ministers, but by the PM or the economic affairs subcommittee on his instructions, as well as the complaints he has received personally from ministers.
Relaying his decision, the president also said collective responsibility of the cabinet has been affected by the practice of outsiders’ submitting papers, and that the government was subjected to ridicule due to contradictory statements being made by the subject ministers and the ministers who submitted the papers.
Also, many issues have arisen due to the subject ministers’ being overlooked and only officials being involved.
Furthermore, the subject ministers could be held responsible if the policy decisions taken by the government on matters of development are not properly implemented or the projects make losses.
Government sources also say this decision follows inquiries being made by the president into the Hambantota port issue, SriLankan Airlines’ lease agreement for three A-330 aircraft with Pakistan Airlines, corruption allegations over the coal tender, the draft bill on creating a super minister position and several other matters.
The president has stressed that his decision should be strictly enforced.
The president has further told the PM that a decision should be taken with regard to the ministers who face various corruption accusations, adding that it was bad for the political future of the two key parties in the government that there are accusations of financial frauds amounting to around Rs. 50 billion, the sources add.
Given below is the President’s notice to the cabinet: