A day’s training workshop on the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) has been organised for Chief and Coordinating Directors from across the country.
The training forms part of a series of activities being undertaken by the Ministry of Information in readiness for the implementation of the Act in January 2020.
Addressing the media after opening the workshop in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said as part of the roadmap for the implementation of the Act, the ministry had lined-up a series of activities to ensure that it took-off smoothly.
He said as part of the exercise, the directors were taken through the various sections of the law to bring them up to speed on what was expected of them to do at their various ministries.
Furthermore, they were taken through data mapping exercise, essentials of the Data protection law and the imminent establishment of information units.
The Minister said the training would enable the participants to be abreast of the new law and support the government’s implementation drive.
He said the law mandated that about 600 information units were established in the country and this would come along with the recruitment of information officers to manage these units, adding that “Government is committed to equipping these information units with the requisite equipment in order for them to deliver on their mandate.”
Mr Nkrumah said a budget had already been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and they were in the process of validating it, however, in order for a lacuna not to be created, they had agreed to advance some monies towards that process.
He said a pilot of the process would commence in December to allow the Ministry assess possible challenges that may pop up with the full implementation of the Act.
On his part, the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, said the RTI law required that government was proactive in providing information to the citizenry without necessarily waiting for someone to apply for it.
He said there were some classes of information that were exempted from being provided to the public and this was grounded within the RTI Act.
Mr Abdallah Banda explained that public institutions as captured under the Act referred to all government agencies and any public or private entity undertaking public projects for which it would be paid from the consolidated fund.
The RTI law seeks to give effect to Article 21 (1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society”.
By Cliff Ekuful