The Judiciary has a financial resource gap of Ksh 23.6 billion which translates into 63% of the total resource requirement for the Financial Year 2020/21.
Speaking during a public hearing for the presentation of the budget proposals for the FY 2020/21 and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi said the institution’s recurrent vote is in deficit of 57% while the Development vote is facing a 93% shortfall in its Government of Kenya (GOK) funding.
The Chief Registrar expressed concern that the World Bank project-Judiciary Performance Improvement Project (JPIP) which has largely supported 90% of the funding of capital projects in the development vote of the Judiciary from FY 2013/14 to-date is coming to an end in October 2020.
“This implies that without enhanced GOK funding, capital projects in the Judiciary will not be initiated and those that are ongoing will stall indefinitely,” said Ms Amadi.
She however noted that the Judiciary’s recurrent budget recorded a high absorption rate of over 95% during the period under review while the development vote absorption rose from 67% in FY 2016/17 to 78% in FY 2018/19.
The Chief Registrar said that despite the improvement in the absorption rate, the Judiciary still faced challenges with the development vote attributed to delays in loading of funds on the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) system, intermittent abrupt budget cuts which affected the contractor’s payments schedules.
Ms Amadi revealed that this was the first time public hearings regarding the Judiciary’s budgeting process were being held. In the past, the Judiciary’s resource allocation process was done through a bidding process under the Governance Law and Order Sector (GJLOS). She added that this has continuously disadvantaged the Judiciary and eroded the financial autonomy envisaged in the Constitution.
The Chief Registrar said the Judiciary’s funding priorities for the current financial year include projects geared towards improving access to justice. These include the establishment of Court of Appeal stations in Nakuru, Eldoret and Meru, opening of new Magistrates’ courts stations at the constituency level and establishment of Mobile Courts in marginalized and far-flung areas
“Automation of the Court processes for digitization of court records and roll-out of Case Management Systems (CMS) in all Court stations as well as automated e-filing for improved revenue collection and deposit management will also be a key priority,” Added the CRJ.
The Public applauded the Judiciary for a job well done even with limited resources and urged the government to consider increasing the Institution’s budget.
“When Judiciary is underfunded it is the Wananchi that suffer,” Said a public participant.