The “mini war” that has broken out between cabinet ministers and state ministers in Sri Lanka over the execution of their duties is creating problems for the President.
Many senior ministers are disappointed that state ministers have bypassed them and directly complained to the president without consulting the relevant cabinet minister.
State ministers have complained to President Ranil Wickremesinghe that they have no functions to discharge, allegedly due to their ministerial colleagues usurping them.
They have also complained that they have not been issued with good vehicles or other facilities they are entitled to.
The issue has reached serious proportions, prompting President Wickremesinghe to summon a meeting tomorrow afternoon (4 p.m.) at the Presidential Secretariat.
He will call upon state ministers to identify their problems.
The main reason for the conflict is that state ministers no longer have any control over government institutions.
In the past, these institutions were gazetted under the state minister, but this is no longer the case. As a result, there is no State Secretary for state ministers’ ministries.
There is only one Secretary for each ministry, and this Secretary is appointed by the cabinet minister.
Informed sources point out that the president may ask the state ministers to sort out differences with their respective ministers without creating problems.
The state ministers feel marginalized and powerless. They have no authority over any government institutions, and they are dependent on the cabinet ministers for everything.
This has led to resentment and frustration among state ministers, who feel that they are being treated as second-class citizens.
Political commentators point out that most state ministers have not been delivering with any sort of results and the government could function without state ministers.
It is very unlikely that the President will gazaate the functions of state ministers as it was done by Gotabhaya Rajapaksha.