The Judiciary has said the reduction of its other recurrent transactions (ORT) by K500 million was expected given the prevailing economic situation in the country.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe on Monday announced the cut in the Judiciary allocation from K5.5 billion to K5 billion.
In an interview yesterday, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said they appreciate that if the economic situation was good, an increase in allocation could have been possible.
He said although the reduction will affect the operations of the Judiciary in one way or another, government’s efforts to ensure that the Judiciary is funded on a monthly basis were appreciated and it is their hope that the funding will continue.
“The approved budget of K5.6 billion that we got in the 2015/2016 National Budget was not even enough to finance the activities that we had planned for this financial year and this chop means that most of those activities will not be fulfilled this year.
“However, since we understand that the economy is not going on well, the activities that will not be fulfilled this year will have to be taken on board in the 2016/2017 budget funding,” said Mvula.
He said among the activities that will suffer because of the trim is the maintenance of courts that are in bad shape, procurement of stationery and other court materials as well as plans to construct new courts in areas where people travel long distances to access justice.
In the last financial year, the Judiciary heavily lobbied for an increase in the budget after it was observed that courts did not have money even for stationery or fuel for magistrates and judges.
Apart from the Judiciary, other losers in the Mid-year Budget Review include the locally funded development budget under the Ministry of Health which Gondwe reduced by K3.9 billion; the Law Commission and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). n