Addressing the newly appointed ministers and to-be appointed ministers at the Presidential Secretariat, President Rajapaksa said the statutory bodies and corporations have become loss-making institutions in the past.
“We should be able to maintain them without being a burden to the Treasury and to make them profitable. This can be done by selecting the right person to do the right job. Therefore, only the qualified and knowledgeable professionals should be appointed as chairpersons and director board members,” he said.
He said it was also outlined in his presidential election manifesto that a selection board would be appointed to select the correct person. “I request ministers to submit the names to the selection board so that it can consider whether the nominees qualify,” President Rajapaksa said.
Meanwhile, he said the unskilled job vacancies at ministries should be filled with the underprivileged people in the area of an institution, instead of with the people from the designated minister’s electorate.
“Whether it is a hospital or a school, unskilled jobs should be given to the poor in the respective area. Unfortunately, unskilled jobs at a ministry were earlier given to the people in a minister's electorate. These vacancies should be filled by members of low-income families. If highly educated people were appointed as unskilled workers, they will not be able to get the job done,” the President said.
When filling unskilled job vacancies, President Rajapaksa said all MPs should be given equal opportunities to make nominations.
“All MPs should be given equal opportunity to fill the unskilled job vacancies without one single minister directly filling them. If there are such vacancies, please inform us at the Presidential Secretariat then we can ensure that all MPs can be given the opportunity to fill these vacancies,” he said.
Commenting on the 15-member Cabinet, he said it was appointed for a limited time to deliver what was promised during the presidential election campaign.
“This is an interim government appointed to fulfil people’s expectations and the pledges we made in the election manifesto. At the presidential election, we also asked for a mandate to go for a general election. At the earliest possible opportunity, we will go for a general election constitutionally,” President Rajapaksa said.
He said the people expressed displeasure over the political culture that prevailed in the country in the past. “Bearing that in mind, we should enter a new era by breaking away from that culture,” he said.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the new ministers, party leaders and others were present at the ceremony.