Members of Parliament have made a passionate appeal to the Ministry of Finance to increase budgetary allocations to the Office of Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice because of its strategic role in governance.
According to the members, the Justice Ministry is an essential institution in governance and yet the nation appears oblivious of its significant activities and role in the constitutional dispensation of the country
The House made the call while debating Committee report of the budget estimates of the Justice Ministry and Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday.
The members argue that the Office coordinates all legal activities of every government institution, department and agency and is essentially the heartbeat of all legal matters in the country.
According to the House, the GH¢135,983,714.00 allocation is an insult because of the importance of the Justice Ministry’s portfolio, which happens to be one of two recognized in the 1992 Constitution.
The members warned that the shortfall of GH¢42,914,474.13 of the budgetary request of GH¢178,898,188.13 that the ministry submitted will seriously affect the implementation of some critical programmes.
Hon. Ben Abdallah Banda, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who presented the report to the House, noted that the perennial low budgetary allocations to the Ministry and its agencies despite the critical role they play in promoting the rule of law in the country is disturbing.
He lamented that continuous low allocations to the Ministry over the years have had serious effect on its capacity to deliver on its mandate and expressed worry that despite the numerous concerns highlighted over the years about the funding challenges, the situation has remained unchanged.
He said, “Among some of the agencies under the Ministry which have been seriously affected by the funding challenges is the Legal Aid Scheme, now a Commission.”
“The Commission has currently no official accommodation and continues to lodge in the premises of other state institutions and in rented premises.”
He stated that the situation requires substantial budgetary allocation to address this state of affairs in 2019 and beyond.
The Justice Ministry exercises oversight responsibility over very important Departments and Agencies including: the Office of the Attorney-General (Legal Service); The Registrar-General Department; The Legal Aid Commission; The General Legal Council (Ghana School of Law); The Law Reform Commission; The Council for Law Reporting; The Copyright Office; and The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org