President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa makes key appointments

Dr. P.B. Jayasundera S.R. Attygalle and Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne

Dr. P.B. Jayasundera S.R. Attygalle and Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne.

Taking up his official duties as head of State last morning, newly elected President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa lost no time in getting down to the business of governmental leadership with the series of key administrative appointments at the heart of the state. The appointments were to the post of Secretary to the President and to some other key government ministries and institutions.

The seventh Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka assumed duties at the auspicious time of 10.51 a.m. at the Presidential Secretariat amid the chanted blessings of the Maha Sangha.

President Rajapaksa was accorded a military guard of honour on arrival at the impressively colonnaded Presidential Secretariat building and thereafter he was warmly welcomed by outgoing President Maithripala Sirisena and outgoing Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G.L.Peiris and several MPs were present. President Rajapaksa’s assumption of duties yesterday morning follows his ceremonial oath-taking held on Monday at the Ruwanweli Maha Seya in Anuradhapura.

The President’s first appointment was that of the Secretary to the President. Former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera was appointed to that post. Dr.Jayasundera is an economist who graduated from the University of Sri Lanka, Colombo in 1973 with a BA in Economics. He also gained a Masters in Development Economics from Williams College in 1980 and a PhD in Economics from Boston University, USA, in 1984. He joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as an economist in the 1974 and was later promoted to senior economist in the 1980s following his postgraduate studies in the United States. He served as an Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Director General of Department of Fiscal Policy and Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury. He also served as Secretary to the Treasury and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance from 1999 to 2001 and he was reappointed as Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance in 2004.

Former Central Bank Deputy Governor S.R. Attygalle was appointed as the Treasury Secretary and Finance Ministry Secretary. Attygalle has over 27 years’ service in the Central Bank and prior to this appointment he was a Deputy Governor. Attygalle held the position of Assistant Governor of the CBSL and was released to the Finance Ministry to serve as the Deputy Treasury Secretary. Attygalle was appointed Treasury and Finance Ministry Secretary in 2018.

He holds a Masters of Science degree in Quantitative Development Economics from the Warwick University, UK, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Science from the Colombo University. He also held many positions including Director General in both the Departments of Fiscal Policy and Public Enterprises.

He also served as National Savings Bank Chairman and represented the Treasury on the Boards of several key State Owned Enterprises and Statutory Boards including the Bank of Ceylon, National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka.

Major General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne was appointed as the new Defence Ministry Secretary.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who contested the Presidential Election 2019, under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was elected as the President after obtaining more than 52% of the nearly 16 million possible votes.