And which ministry gets the honours?


The race is on! A race for glory, a race for popularity! A race for next election? Ministry of Health and Ministry of Defence very much in the lead as joint gold medalists, Ministry of Transport at the rear end, with commuters grumbling daily about lack of good organization in providing transport to the commuters. Ministry of Sports forced to twiddle their thumbs courtesy Covid 19, so minus a ranking at present?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invoke mixed reactions. Yeoman’s service when organizing our citizens to return to Sri Lanka no doubt, but what of its other obligations? The Foreign Ministry Website states that The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates and carries out the foreign policy of the Government of Sri Lanka. The mission statement proclaims "The promotion, projection and protection of Sri Lanka’s national interests internationally, in accordance with the foreign policy of the Government and to advise the Government on international developments which affect Sri Lanka". Yet the Ministry is at present fairly silent, in the face of so many attacks from various anti Sri Lanka groups, questioning our government’s commitment to fundamental rights and equality and sustainable peace. We have a silent Ministry when it should be the flag bearer promoting our country’s interest and defending our country’s honour. The website tells a tale. Today (22), it still depicts the commemoration of the Easter Bombing, when it should also commemorate the war victory, not hide it as if in shame or be scared of treading on toes. No mention in the Ministry Website or a response by any official either, to the damaging statement of Navi Pillay the former head of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 20.05.2020 in ‘remembrance of the Tamil victims of war in Sri Lanka that ended on 18 May 2009’. She has forgotten the Sinhala victims, the Muslim Victims and the Burgher victims, she has forgotten the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi. She has finally shed her mask of an independent observer and shown her true colours, a bias mind, an agenda in hand.

Here is a golden opportunity for the Ministry of External Affairs of our country, to nullify the various reports with unsubstantiated data, presented by this lady to many a global forum, as the Gospel Truth. Her obvious bias, no longer lends credence to these reports and swift action, whilst the cat is out of the bag needs to be taken. But the Ministry of External affairs appear to be slow to the party. Or is work done behind the scenes but not informed to the public? In fairness, this is a possibility. The Ministry with better PR relations with the media, naturally gets the limelight.

This is precisely why the Ministries need a system to assess their efficiency and performance, to ensure all Ministries are not only given goals but that they are reviewed, quarterly, half yearly or annually and published so that the general public can appreciate the work done by this sector. A rating assigned, an index perhaps? Or a system akin to that adopted by the private sector such as the KPI, to assess Ministry performance? If Ministries are not only given targets and goals but are assessed and rewarded periodically and consistently and results publicized and may be good work rewarded, would this not pave way to a more efficient public service, with the Minister in charge himself, subject to assessment?

Similar to Dubai, a Minister’s right and entitlement to a better Ministry or any Ministry at all, then can be based on his performance. The President has a justifiable basis in the grant of Ministries or for the removal of a Minister which can be based on performance. Overall, the public too can have an idea, how much of the promises made have been performed, enabling them to exercise the vote more meaningfully and take an informed decision as to who should be in the next Parliament.

There are several Government Departments in our country that work very efficiently but do not get the publicity for their good performance. The Passport Office for example has a very efficient operation and so does the Registrar of Births and Deaths, as us commoners find out on the occasional visits. By having KPI system or a system of assessment of such like, the public servants can be encouraged and rewarded with may be an award ceremony annually? A competition among Ministries? Not only at election time, but all the time, at the end of which the voter has the opportunity to get rid of the dead wood?

If such point system or assessment system is already in place, it is high time that the media gives focus to the same, to educate the general public. For example the National Policy Framework – Vistas of Prosperity & Splendour spells out the government strategies and the action. However, this is not given much publicity and no adequate assessment or grading is carried out with regard to the actual performance.

At present, we seem to have the most efficient of Heads of State that this country has seen from time immemorial. A doer, an administrator and experienced public servant. A person in whom the majority of the public, even those with green blood appear to have reasonable confidence in getting the job done. This is the ideal time for such a scheme of assessment to be implemented.

Citizen Jane

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