Right To Information Bill Back To Parliament

mahama ayariga 1_3The Right to Information (RTI) Bill that seeks to give citizens the legal right to request for any type of information from the government has been reintroduced to Parliament for approval. consideration and approval.

The bill is among a number of bills to be officially introduced to the House this week. The Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Kwame Agbesi, announced this in Parliament last Friday when he delivered the Business Statement for the third week.

He said the bill would read for the first time today (Tuesday November 12,) for the processes towards its approval to begin.
The legislative approval of the RTI Bill will give meaning to Article 1 of the 1992 Constitution which states “All persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws, as are necessary in a democratic society”.

When passed into law, the RTI Bill would give the public the legal right to have access to information such as government records, files, registers, maps, data, drawings, reports, among others.

It would also give the public the right to access information on issues concerning projects that directly affect them or the environment, information on health, agriculture, weather conditions, among others.

The passing of the bill would also offer the public the opportunity to hold public officials and institutions accountable on regular basis to ensure transparency in governance.

The RTI bill has been going back and forth in previous Parliaments for the past decade and was one of the important bills the previous Parliament failed to pass into law.

Notwithstanding the continuous and aggressive pressure mounted on the previous Parliament by civil society organizations such as the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Economy of Ghana Network (EGN), the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), among others, the bill never went beyond the consideration stage in Parliament.

Currently, Ghana is lagging behind neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Togo, Sierra Leane, Liberia, among others who have all passed their RTI Bill into law.  By Yaw Kyei.

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