A Rational Method for Cabinet Formation in Sri Lanka: A White Paper

Ministries are the overarching bodies that house relevant government institutions and functions within a particular subject area. They are responsible for the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of national-level policies and strategies in their assigned sectors (such as health, education, and agriculture). In this regard, they coordinate with the institutions under their purview.

Therefore, ministries—and by extension ministers—are vital to determining the institutional effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery by the public sector.

However, public sentiment suggests otherwise. Public sector inefficiency has been a long-standing issue that successive governments in Sri Lanka have failed to address effectively. The general perception of the public is that the elected representatives who run government make an already inefficient system worse, and this perception is becoming more entrenched with time.

The present paper seeks to address this gap between expectations of the role of ministers and ministries and reality as experienced and perceived by society. It highlights two types of problems that comprise the irrationality of present cabinet formation and seeks to address how effective and efficient governance in the public sector can be achieved.

A Blueprint document that proposes a formulated rational structure for government, building on and refining the recommendations of the white paper, is available here.