For better administrators
Mahinda Rajapaksa has called on failed administrators of State
owned estates to hand back their responsibilities if they cannot
deliver. At a progress review meeting on the Southern Province
Development the President has asked the relevant authorities to
relieve inefficient administrators from their posts and replace
them with more efficient personnel.
Poor administrators are synonymous with failed ventures and
the President is well aware of this. He is also aware that the
State sector has more than its fare share of these deadwood.
Thus his directive could be a warning that heads could roll.
This reading of the riot act by the highest in the land to
inefficient and lethargic administrators it is hoped would have
the desired effect to keep all shirkers on their toes. For it
needs a Presidential decree of this nature to galvanize our
administrators from their slumber. Not just the administrators,
the entire administrative set up needs an overhaul if it is to
be pulled out its moribund state. Our Administrative set up has
to be restructured to meet the present day demands and
It goes without saying that most of the ills that have
befallen our State sector institutions are due to poor
administration. This is because those at the helm do not act
with a sense of belonging but merely as paid executives. It
would not be out of place here to mention that most of those
holding key posts in Government departments are square pegs in
round holes who are singularly unfit to undertake the tasks
entrusted to them.
The result; gross mismanagement and inefficiency leading to
the collapse of the institutions under them. We saw this happen
under all past Governments where State institutions were packed
with favourites which in the end brought them to their doom.
This was no better illustrated than with regard to the plight
that befell the old CTB when baila singers were installed in
This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue at a time
when the President has set his sights on converting post war Sri
Lanka into the next wonder of Asia. He will no doubt need men of
high performance, integrity and capacity to accomplish this
task. The President no doubt will want to hand pick his men for
this task and should throw the dragnet far and wide in seeking
out people of merit and ability.
President Rajapaksa no doubt is aware of the need for high
efficiency personnel to achieve his development goals. Hence the
timely warning to those lagging behind to pull up their socks
and put their collective shoulders to the wheel. He has also
indicated by innuendo that failures have no place in his scheme
of things. He knows he cannot afford to show indulgence to those
occupying top seats in the State sector however much closer they
are politically to him, due to the new journey he has charted
out for the country that needs efficient administrators to see
its successful end.
Not just top administrators, he cannot afford to have anyone
who will not pull their weight and become liabilities given the
enormous task at hand. Today it is common knowledge that the
Government Departments and corporations are bursting at the
seams with political deadwood gobbling up the resources of these
institutions which is why they are mostly in the red. It is time
that this fat is trimmed so that these loss making ventures
could be turned around to profitability.
Hopefully the President’s edict will open the doors for a new
culture of efficiency in the public service that will bring it
on par with the exacting standards of the private sector. Time
was when our administrative service was among the best in South
Asia. That was a time when only merit and merit alone was the
criteria for recruitment. As a result the country’s
administration functioned like a well oiled machine. Besides our
Administrative service became so prestigious its officers and
personnel even commanded the high dowries in the marriage
market. Alas today no prestige is attached to our Administrative
service which has become a dumping ground for political
supporters with no productive output.
Therefore a shake up is needed and it is appropriate that no
less a personage than the President himself has fired the first
salvo that hopefully will carry the right message to our below
par administrators who enjoy all privileges and perks but
without results to show for it.