The gazette allocating Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers their respective subjects, ministries and institutes is yet to be issued, despite it being over two weeks since the majority of Cabinet Ministers were sworn in.

When contacted on Friday (September 18), an official at the Department of Government Printing confirmed they were yet to receive the gazette notification. The official also said the department was unaware of when it would receive the gazette for printing.

The delay continues despite it being over two weeks since 42 Cabinet Ministers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on September 4, while 40 State and Deputy Ministers were sworn in at a similar ceremony on September 9. Several Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers were also sworn in either before or after these two official ceremonies.

The failure to issue the gazette notification has caused great inconvenience for ministers and deputy ministers, as many are uncertain on the exact scope of their duties. While most have assumed duties since being sworn in, the lack of clarity regarding specific duties, especially in ministries that have a Cabinet, State and Deputy Minister, has caused confusion, The Nation learns.  Some ministers and deputy ministers have not even been provided with a designated office, forcing them to meet people at various locations for official matters.   Meanwhile, squabbles between different ministers regarding allocation of certain authorities and institutes is adding to the delay. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake alluded to this at a media briefing last week, where he claimed that disputes have arisen between certain ministers over this.

When contacted, a senior official at the Presidential Secretariat admitted the gazette notification was yet to be finalized. He said ‘certain minor issues’ still needed to be ironed out before the gazette is sent for printing. However, he declined to elaborate on what those ‘minor issues’ were.