Despite president Ranil Wickremesinghe's proposal to continue with 30 ministries, Verité Research said 15 ministries can be optimal.

The Colombo-based think-tank said the analysis by them found that the present approach to setting up cabinet portfolios impedes the ability of the government to be efficient and effective.

"On May 17, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said, ‘at present, we have around 30 ministries. Let us maintain this number and avoid further expansion’. This affirms the current constitutional limit on the size of the cabinet of ministers, which is 30. This is double the number of 15 ministries recommended by Verité Research in a white paper setting out the design of a rational structure of government," they said.

The Verité Research white paper titled “A Rational Method for Cabinet Formation in Sri Lanka’, issued in 2020, set out the following 15 ministries as providing an optimal rational structure for government.

  1. Finance & Planning
  2. Justice
  3. Defence
  4. Education & Research
  5. Health
  6. Agriculture
  7. Labour
  8. Public Utilities 
  9. Ports, Shipping & Civil Aviation
  10. Economic Affairs
  11. Home Affairs & Public Administration
  12. Foreign Affairs
  13. Family & Community Development
  14. Society and Culture
  15. Environment

Verité Research arrived at the total of 15 ministries by applying the best principles of designing an efficient and effective structure of government.

It said the irrationality in the construction of government arises from two critical problems:

(1) fragmentation – where related subjects are split across different ministries and (2) misalignment – where unrelated subjects are grouped together under a single ministry.

"In the past, these two problems created delays in decision-making and implementation, reduced government accountability and ability to function, and increased costs. Therefore, the White Paper notes that fixing these problems with not only an optimally designed number of ministries, but also with the proper assignment of subjects, functions, and institutions to each of the ministries is the key to having a government that functions effectively and efficiently.

To solve this problem, Verité Research has developed a complete mapping of all the Sri Lankan government functions, laws, and institutions that are required to be in a gazette forming a new cabinet, to fit within the optimally designed structure of 15 ministries listed above," it said.


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