Govt urged to provide funding, infrastructure for smooth take off of RTI law


The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana has called on the government to provide the necessary funding to ensure that the Right to Information Act commences operation in the next financial year.

“Now that the law has been assented to by the President, we call on government to put in place all needed processes, especially the critical and necessary funding and infrastructure to ensure that the new law commences operation at the start of the next financial year,” said a statement copied the Ghanaian Times by the coalition.

The statement lauded President Nana Akufo-Addo for the urgency with which he signed the law in keeping with his assurance at the last State of the Nation Address that he would give his assent to it as soon as it is presented to him.

 “The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana is delighted with the presidential assent given to the Right to Information Act on Tuesday May 21, 2019, by President Nana Akufo-Addo. The assent brings to a close a two-decade journey for a legislation to operationalise the constitutional right to information held by public institutions.”

While commending President Akufo-Addo for keeping his promise, the statement urged that the same urgency be given to the implementation of the law.

It asked the President to direct the relevant authorities to ensure that some funding is procured in the mid-term budget to commence implementation now.

The coalition said it shared in the President’s view that the law will foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs, and will in turn enhance the quality of governance of our country as it serves as a critical tool in the fight against corruption.

 However, the statement noted that there is still a long way to go in realising these benefits.

Although the law stands to benefit Ghanaians, the statement said, the overarching intent could be achieved if the needed preconditions are established to provide an effective and efficient right to information infrastructure and culture that will ensure substantial pro-active disclosure by public institutions and relevant bodies and drafting and passage of the critical regulations to give full life to the law and designation of information officers.

The coalition urged effective mass education of the population on the provisions of the law and their rights under the law and suggested that appointment of members of the Information Commission shout take into account a proven track record of commitment and defence of human rights, understanding of, and empathy with international norms and best practices in the right to information regime.

It said the works of the RTI Coalition and partners has only just begun, “as we are putting in place appropriate measures to advocate consistently for the effective and efficient implementation of the law.”

BY TIMES REPORTER

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