Namibia experiencing shortage of legislative drafters

30 Mar 2016 11:40am
WINDHOEK, 30 MAR (NAMPA) – Namibia is faced with a severe shortage of experienced legislative drafters.
Currently, the Directorate of Legislative Drafting in the Ministry of Justice has 16 legislative drafters and only four of them are experienced drafters working on bills as well as supervising the work of junior drafters and providing in-house training.
Justice Minister Albert Kawana announced this during the presentation of his ministry's budget allocation of about N.dollars N.dollars 300 754 000 in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday.
Kawana said legislative drafting is a very scarce and specialised skill not only in Namibia, but the world over.
“To make matters worse, there are insufficient incentives to recruit and retain experienced legislative drafters,” he said.
Legislative drafters write the detailed form of proposed laws in a way that will accurately reflect the intentions of the politicians who are promulgating them, without leaving loopholes or producing perverse results.
The justice minister added that the directorate experiences a huge loss when an experienced drafter resigns as it takes more than seven years to find a suitable replacement.
He highlighted that the Directorate of Legislative Drafting received 35 bills of which 17 were completed for consideration by Parliament.
The directorate also received 30 proclamations which were completed; 45 regulations of which 37 were completed; 220 Government notices of which 211 were completed; and 12 general notices of which seven were completed during the 2015/16 financial year.
About 48 bills are expected to be finalised during the 2016/17 financial year.
“This will be challenging given the fact that there are only four experienced and skilled legislative drafters in the ministry,” Kawana said.
Despite the shortage of legal drafters in the justice system, the ministry only allocated a total of N.dollars 38 087 000 of its budget to legal services for the 2016/17 financial year, while the highest cut of the budget was allocated to supervision, coordination and support services with N.dollars 185 726 000.
This programme will provide administrative and technical support to ministerial programmes and ensure proper financial management, gender mainstreaming and capacity building.
The justice ministry identified four programmes to which its N.dollars 300 754 000 portion of the national budget will be allocated as follows:
Administration of justice - N.dollars 60 414 000
Legal services - N.dollars 38 087 000
Promotion of good governance - N.dollars 16 527 000
Supervision, coordination and support services - N.dollars 185 726 000