Sri Lanka’s top professionals-turned Parliamentarians Dr. Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickremaratne were today appointed as Deputy Ministers by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Whilst Dr. Harsha de Silva was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eran Wickramaratne was appointed the Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development.
Prior to entering Parliament through the National List in 2010, Dr. Harsha De Silva was a Consultant Economist while Eran Wickremaratne headed the National Development Bank as its Chief Executive Officer.
Addressing the Diplomatic Community recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera had said he is keen to undertake the task of restructuring the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that the institution will be oriented more towards economic diplomacy. Therefore, political analysts speculated that this might have been the reason behind Dr. De Silva being tasked to be involved in handling Sri Lanka’s foreign policy.
As an economist, Dr. Harsha De Silva worked for the DFCC Bank, going on to become its chief economist and treasurer. Thereafter he was the co-founder and Joint Managing Director of The Nielsen Company.
Educated at Royal College Colombo, Dr. Harsha gained his BSc in Business Management from Truman State University in 1988 and went on to complete his MA and PhD in Economics at the University of Missouri in 1993.
On the other hand, Wickremaratne is expected to Deputize the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development which falls under the Cabinet Minister, Kabir Hashim.
Wickremaratne, having joined Citibank in 1982 went on to become a Vice President in 1996. In 2000, he was involved in founding NDB Bank, where he became CEO in 2001. In 2005, he served as a Director and adviser for Board of Investment (BoI) and later became an adviser to the Ministry of Science & Economic Reform. During this time he was instrumental in formation of the first Information Communication Act and became the founder chairman of the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). He resigned from his post of CEO of NDB to take up his seat in Parliament in 2010
Meanwhile, UNP MPs Sujeewa Senasinghe was appointed the State Minister of International Trade, Ruwan Wijewardena as the State Minister of Defence and Ajith P Perera as the Deputy Minister of Power and Energy.