CDD: Fiscal impact of RTI implementation misplaced

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), has faulted the estimated GH¢750 million as the cost for the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.

It explained that some of the considerations that determined the fiscal impact of the RTI implementation are misplaced.

Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, CDD, noted that although fiscal impacts of policies were among some of the issues the Centre had been urging the legislature to do often, the thinking that went into the cost of RTI implementation were problematic.

“Also, it estimates that you are going to set up the RTI Commission in every district all at once in one year, I think there are some permutations and estimations and underlying factors that are flawed.

“This is supposedly a five-year budget for the RTI since the Minister of Finance is not going to approve a five-year budget for any agency, however, the timing of the research findings and cost impact discussions it has generated just disperses energy we had in terms of the processes for the RTI implementation step by step.
“If you haven’t done a proper assessment, I don’t think the calculations that have been done or the factors that are being considered are the right way to approach it,” Dr Asante indicated.

Mr Abdallah Bandah, Chairman of Parliament’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, revealed that the research was not commissioned by Parliament but by the Director of Research in Parliament.

According to Mohammed Nyasi, Director of Research in Parliament, the cost for establishing the RTI Commission and associated administrative activities would cost GH¢750.7 million in five years saying, “the costs are incurred in paying salaries to all personnel, acquiring logistics, maintaining assets, rent and employment of an executive secretary to efficiently and effectively manage and operate the office”.

The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana, the Media Coalition on RTI and Occupy Ghana recently raised concerns over the new amendment to the bill.

Parliament last week approved an amendment to the RTI Bill which seeks to extend the date for the implementation after it is passed, and the amendment states it has to take effect in the next succeeding year after it is approved by Parliament and assented to by the President. –myjoyonline.com

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