- Officials finalizing preparations for trial phase
The Ministry of Justice is preparing to launch an electronic public consultation platform in a bid to conserve resources and assure wider public engagement in the preparation of legislation.
The Ministry, tasked with ascertaining that all legal frameworks passed by government entities have undergone a public consultation process before legislation, is taking the lead in the development of a centralized digital system that will enable the general public to engage more extensively in legislative consultations.
The Ministry is in the final stages of launching a trial phase before making the system public, according to Hanan Abebe, a senior prosecutor at the Justice Ministry.
The digital platform will minimize the need for physical consultations on legislative proposals before the Ministry gives the final nod.
“This electronic platform will enable public consultation using fewer resources for as many people as possible. We expect this to be the most effective method,” Hanan said.
During a media seminar on the Business Environment and Investment Climate (BEIC) project funded by the EU and GIZ International, Hanan expressed high hopes for the resource efficiency of the web-based platform.
The Ministry prepared the platform in cooperation with the BEIC project. When a government agency drafts a law, it will be obliged to make it available on the platform for accessibility, and schedule a time for a public consultation process.
“It actually depends on the laws – as there are laws that can be accessed by the general public and those that can only be reviewed by a few concerned bodies,” said Hanan. “The portal is designed in consideration of this.”
The Justice Ministry will only play a role in controlling the platform, all the while making sure the preparation of legislation has passed through the proper legal procedures for laws emanating from other government offices.
One way to confirm the latter is through a page-by-page review of the report on consultation of the legislation in question, but the Ministry will also have access to a database and the ability to instantly trace the origin of concerns and ideas to the institutions that raised them.
“The Ministry will see if the specific government office in charge of preparing the law actually includes the given comments, and what justification has been given if not,” said Hanan.
She observes that her office has already been grappling with legislation forwarded to the Ministry sans the proper consultations.