Colombo, May 31 (newsin.asia): Wednesday’s shuffle of portfolios at the junior ministers’ level, and the earlier shuffle at the cabinet level, have together placed Sri Lanka’s economic and foreign policies firmly in the hands of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
On Wednesday, financial expert and Wickremesinghe loyalist Eran Wickramaratne was made State Minister of Finance to assist the new Cabinet Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera, who is not a finance man.
Wickramaratne is not only politically close to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, but he also thinks along the same lines on economic matters. Eran Wickremaratne will also be an ideal foil for the new Cabinet Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera, because they operate on the same wavelength. Both share with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, an eagerness to make Sri Lanka a part of the global manufacturing chain, increase exports, and attract FDI.
Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva, a professional economist who believes in making Sri Lanka an integral part of the globalized economy, becomes the new Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs. Interestingly, the Cabinet Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs is Prime Minister Wickremesinghe himself.
As per the understanding between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe when they came to power in 2015, Wickremesinghe would be in-charge of the government’s economic and foreign policies.
It is in the light of this understanding that President Sirisena has been appointing the Prime Minister’s nominees in ministries dealing with economic and foreign affairs.
Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena of President Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), has been made State Minister of Enterprise Development, a post held earlier by Eran Wickramaratne.
But Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena is no stranger to economic affairs, having held the portfolios of Investment Promotion and Economic Affairs in his 21 year parliamentary career.
New State Minister of Foreign Affairs
The other significant appointment is that of Wasantha Senanayake as State Minister of Foreign Affairs. A member of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), Wasantha Senanayake is the great grandson of former Sri Lankan Prime Minister and founder of the UNP, D.S.Senanayake. He is also a relation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
With Wickremesinghe loyalist Ravi Karunanayake as the new Foreign Minister, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry too is effectively in the hands of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
To underline this, the newly appointed Foreign Minister made it clear on taking over, that the county’s Foreign Ministry will from now on be practicing “commercial diplomacy” with the aim of promoting exports and attracting FDI.
(The featured image at the top is that of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickrmesinghe)