The new Cabinet Ministers sworn-in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. Picture by Sudath Silva

The Cabinet reshuffle yesterday saw the reduction of the number of ministries to 42 as subject allocations to new Cabinet portfolios were made on a scientific basis.

Eighteen new Cabinet Ministers were sworn-in by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat in the presence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The remaining portfolios remain unchanged.

This was the second reshuffle of the Cabinet effected by the government since it took office in 2015.

Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who was removed from his earlier post as the Minister of Justice was appointed as the Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs.

Cultural Affairs was previously held by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.

Minister Kabir Hashim who earlier held the post of Higher Education Minister was given Highways and Road Development.

Agriculture which was earlier run by Duminda Dissanayake has been given to Mahinda Amaraweera.

Amaraweera’s previous post of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development along with Minister P. Harrison’s Rural Economy, has been given to Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa. Soysa’s Irrigation, Water Resources Management and former Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa’s Disaster Management was given to Minister Duminda Dissanayake.

Two portfolios which were held by the Ministers of the UPFA were given to the UNP.

The former SLFP Ministry of Social Welfare and Social Empowerment in the meantime has been split with Social Empowerment going to UNP Ministers P. Harrison and Social Welfare along with Primary Industries going to Minister Daya Gamage.

Further, the Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations was given to UNP Minister Ravindra Samaraweera.

Samaraweera’s former post of Wildlife and Sustainable Development was given to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

Minister Thalatha Athukorala received Prison Reforms to go with her Ministry of Justice while Minister D.M. Swaminathan who held Prison Reforms previously was given Northern Development in addition to his previous posts of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.

Minister Sagala Ratnayaka who held the portfolio of Youth Affairs and Southern Development has had Project Management added to his Ministry.

Minister Mano Ganesan in the meantime received the President’s portfolio of Reconciliation given to him in addition to his previous posts of National Co-existence and Official Languages.

Minister Faiszer Musthapha who was appointed as Minister of Sports on a temporary basis earlier, will retain it along with his Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry.

Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama took over the ministries of his former Cabinet colleagues Chandima Weerakkody, Susil Premajayantha and S.B. Dissanayake as the Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Skills Development, Vocational Training and Hill Country Heritage.

Minister S.B.Navinna was once again appointed as Minister of Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development and Minister Lakshman Kiriella will carry on as the Minister of Public Enterprise and Kandy Development.

Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara in the meantime retained his previous portfolio as Law and Order and Public Administration and Management Minister.

“The reshuffle was done in a scientific manner by the collective decisions of the President and Prime Minister.

The accuracy of this scientific way will be proven when these portfolios are gazetted. The preparation of the gazette is almost complete,” stated Minister Maddumabandara speaking to the media after the event.

“This should be the final Cabinet reshuffle. We can now work towards the goal of developing the country together. There is a Unity Government at present and it will be so in the future too. Many issues crop up when two leading parties get together which is quite natural. But we have resolved those issues and have the ability to start a new journey together,” he added. Minister Sajith Premadasa who attended the event along with his other cabinet colleagues who have not had their positions changed noted, “It is unfair to judge the success of the reshuffle just minutes after it took place. We have a capable Cabinet and I’m sure that their excellence can be judged through the various policy implementations from today onwards. The decision making process that led to the Cabinet reshuffle was engineered and pioneered by the President and the Prime Minister. Both of them did it through consultation, compromise and discussion”. Minister of Lands and Parliamentary reforms Gayantha Karunathilake in the meantime said, “A reshuffle means to make the changes which did not happen in the past.

The reshuffle took place today on a scientific basis and the gazette would also confirm this. The success of the changes will be seen when the portfolios are gazetted. I believe that we can all look at this in a positive way”.

Sources said the Deputy Ministers and State Ministers are to be sworn in today

New Cabinet Ministers

1. Lakshman Kiriella: Minister of Public Enterprise and Kandy Development

2. Sarath Amunugama: Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Skills Development and Vocational Training, and Hill Country Heritage

3. S. B. NaWinnE: Minister of Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development

4. Mahinda Amaraweera: Minister of Agriculture

5. Duminda Dissanayake: Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and Disaster Management

6. Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa: Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economy

7. P. Harrison: Minister of Social Empowerment

8. Kabir Hashim: Minister of Highways and Road Development

9. Ranjith Madduma bandara: Minister of Public Administration and Management and Law and Order

10. Thalatha AtukoralE: Minister of Justice and Prison Reform

11. Faiszer Musthapha: Minister of Sports, Provincial Councils and Local Government

12. D.M. Swaminathan: Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs

13 Sagala Ratnayaka: Minister of Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development

14. Mano Ganesan: Minister of National Co-existence, Reconciliation and Official Languages

15. Daya Gamage: Minister of Social Welfare and Primary Industries

16. Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka: Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development

17. Ravindra Samaraweera: Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relation

18. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe: Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs

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