The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) has asked the Parliamentary Table and Legislative Drafting Offices not to deviate from the core components of the bill as amended from the Chamber of the House.
The Coalition cautioned that it had followed the deliberations in Parliament very closely and has captured diligently every amendment adopted by the House.
Therefore not less was expected than what has been agreed by Parliament when passing the bill.
Addressing the media on the update of the bill which was passed by Parliament three weeks ago, the steering committee members, led by their spokesperson, Mr Akoto Ampaw, who is also a private legal practitioner said the coalition was patiently waiting for the presidential assent.
“We understand that Parliament, particularly, the Table and Legislative Drafting Offices have a lot of bills they are managing; however we entreat the offices to work expeditiously for the President to sign the RTI Bill,” he said.
He said it was the coalition’s expectation that the President would also give his assent to the bill immediately it gets to him in keeping with the assurance he gave the people of Ghana at his recent State of the Nation Address that as soon as the bill was presented to him, he would give his assent to it.
He said there was the need to put up an effective and efficient right to information infrastructure and culture that would ensure substantial pro-active disclosure by public institutions and relevant bodies, adding that the regulations that would give full life to the law must also be fast-tracked.
He said in appointing members of the information committee to supervise the implementation of the law, government must take cognisance of people with proven records of defence of human rights and understanding of international norms and best practices.
Mr Ampaw said the government also need to be proactive in the designation of information officers and their training which were key conditions for the realisation of a truly robust and effective right to information law.
He said there was the need to put in place an effective mass education on the provisions and rights under the law, including funding to make the law work.
Mr Ampaw called on government to give administrative directions immediately for the appointment of information officers from the existing stock of record keeping officers and public information officers, adding that public institutions should also begin to put their records in proper order to facilitate retrieval upon request.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI