Saturday, December 24, 2011

Senior Ministers – Who are they and what do they do for an extra Rs300M?

Sri Lanka has in its own unique way created a category of Minister from TEN aged MPs known as seniors who have been given responsibilities over and above those allocated to MP’s. The extra cost is in addition to the cost of an MP that include income, allowances, perks along with the 24hr MSD security that comes with it.

I believe it is an unnecessary and superfluous expense where the money could easily be spent in more productive ways to improve the economy. It is a way to give jobs to their staff which amount to about 275, many who are relatives and friends of the same ministers. The rough breakdown is approximately Rs20M per minister and a further Rs100M to keep the Administrative Secretariat functioning.

The vision statement is ‘Sustainable National Development’ and the mission statement is ‘Co-ordinating and monitoring National Development Initiatives’ which are: 1 Good Governance and Infrastructure – Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
2 Human Resources – DEW Gunesekara
3 Rural Affairs – Athauda Seneviratne
4 Food Security – P Dayaratne
5 Urban Affairs – AHM Fowzie
6 Social Welfare – Milroy Fernando
7 Consumer Welfare – RMSB Navinne
8 National Resources – Piyasena Gamage
9 Scientific Affairs – Tissa Vitharana
10 International Monetary Cooperation – Sarath Amunugama

I let the reader judge what on earth we want to spend this amount for this kind of semantic exercise, when we have other priorities. I also wished to make the readers aware of this particular exercise in futility, as it is usually hidden from view. Another point of note is that while DEW Gunesekara was the chairman of the COPE committee looking into the expenditure of the public sector institutions, it does not come under the above criteria and is external to the above terms of reference. That in itself requires the full extent of a MPs time to wade through the smoke and mirrors, that one would not find time to add another responsibility called ‘Human Resources’ to him as shown above.

I know this is just a start of my investigation into the billions of waste of Government Expenditure, that our kids have to repay in the future as much of it is funded out of Debt when these erstwhile seniors have long left mother earth to places beyond, bless their souls and curse their silence. A suggestion, how about giving this function to opposition MPs, they can do a stellar job of overseeing!!!

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