HomeNewsJustice Ministry’s 2023 Capital Budget Released December 1 - AGF

Justice Ministry’s 2023 Capital Budget Released December 1 – AGF

Date:

The  Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,  Lateef Fagbemi, has disclosed that his ministry only got releases for capital expenditure in the 2023 budget on December 1, 2023, less than 30 days to the end of the fiscal year.

He lamented that this delayed release of funds affected the 2023 budget performance.

The minister stated this on Monday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

He said the Ministry was allocated N3,321,283.533.00 as capital budget and N4,688,847,054.00 as recurrent budget in  the outgoing budget cycle for 2023

He said with less than 30 days to the end of the financial year, the ministry has only had releases of N617,456,896.00 for capital expenditure and N2,734,110,775.62 for recurrent expenditure.

Continuing, the minister said the preceding has greatly constrained the performance of the ministry in its mandate areas adding that they are quite determined to achieve a paradigm shift in 2024, wherein the Ministry has been allocated N5,341,356,849.00 as capital expenditure and N8,860,880,311.10 as recurrent expenditure in the 2024 budget proposal.

“From my first-hand assessment of the justice sector upon assumption of office, it Is obvious to me that a major challenge in the sector is underfunding.

“This critical sector requires significant Investments for us to drive the much-needed legal and judicial reforms, achieve satisfactory compliance with human rights, democratic governance, the rule of law, etc,” the minister said.

He noted that the process of proscription and prosecution of terror suspects and entities entails considerable funding, including catering for the logistics and welfare of judges, prosecutors, support staff, witnesses, and provision of security for the trial.

He added, “In order to ensure the security and confidence of the judicial officers coupled with the location of the trial, the ministry is required to charter aircraft to airlift them.

“The ministry is also spending considerable resources on the provision or upgrading of infrastructural facilities at the various venues to make them fit for purpose.

“Whilst the ministry has been promoting the policy of having state counsel in the ministry handle more cases on behalf of the government, there are instances where the need to engage senior external solicitors becomes inevitable.

“Thus, greater funding is required to increase the capacity and boost the morale of state counsel through regular payment of duty tour allowances, robe allowances, etc.

“The professional fees of the private solicitors also need to be settled, The ministry is also involved in defending the country in international litigation and arbitration which are by their nature very expensive to prosecute or defend in terms of payment of administrative fees to tribunals, professional fees to solicitors, expert fees, etc.

“These cases usually arise after the closure of the budget preparation and passage process, which means the Ministry is unable to make specific budgetary requests for funding the cases. There is therefore a need for the Ministry to be provided with adequate funding line or reserve to address these cases.”

Punch

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