Access to information requests increases – Minister
Access to information requests has witnessed remarkable increase over the last three years, following the implementation of the Right to Information Act, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said.
He explained that the year-on-year application received between 2020 and 2021, was 974 per cent, whereas between 2021 and 2022, it was 217 per cent.
The minister said applications approved year-on-year growth rate was 894 per cent between 2020 and 2021, whereas between 2021 and 2022, it stood at 317 per cent, while the number of applications rejected stood at 75 per cent.
Mr Nkrumah disclosed these in Accra, yesterday, when he addressed journalists on the status of the RTI Act.
He explained that the RTI Act was a law passed by Ghana’s Parliament on March 26, 2019, to outline the procedure by which the Right to Information, which was promulgated in the 1992 Constitution could be accessed.
Mr Nkrumah said the RTI Act was a constitutional guarantee that offered the Right to Information in addition to many other rights.
“What was missing for this particular right was the procedure for accessing this right. Act 989 is therefore a procedural act, passed to expressly provide for points of application, timelines and remedies in an effort to access the right given in Article 21 (1) (f) of the constitution 1992,” he said.
The minister said the RTI Act was finally passed on March 26, 2019, and after it was eventually laid on the President’s desk, he assented to it within 24 hours on May 21, 2019.
He said the enforcement of the law did not begin immediately because of a provision in Section 86 of the Act, which stated that; “this Act shall come into force at the commencement of the next financial year.”
Mr Nkrumah said the delay was necessary in ensuring that the needed infrastructure and personnel were put in place prior to implementation.
“The law provides a framework of transparency and accountability in public affairs,” he said.
Mr Nkrumah said access to Information Division (ATID) provided the technical support to public institutions, to enable them fulfill their obligation in granting access to information.
He explained that when institutions took advantage of this, they avoided any compliant issues.
“The RTIC is fully backed by law to sanction institutions that do not comply. Additionally it has prosecutorial powers from the AG to prosecute offenders under the Act,” the minister said.
The effective usage of the RTI Act will further strengthen our democracy so we encourage all to play their part,” he said.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL