The Executive Secretary of the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, has called on institutions to cut down on bureaucracy to enhance access to information across the country.
He said that was because beyond funding, bureaucracy was a major challenge prohibiting the culture of transparency and accountability in the country.
Bureaucracy is an excessively complicated administrative procedure or a system of governance in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.
Mr Boateng made the call at the RTI stakeholders’ conference held in Accra yesterday.
He indicated that there was the pressing need for institutions with a heavily enforced chain of command and tightly regulated operating procedures to relax those.
“That is why the law stipulates that we should just have an information unit that allows me to walk in and get the information that I want,” he stated.
“You don’t have to go through the head of institution, departmental heads before you get the delivery of information you are looking for,” he added.
Mr Boateng reiterated that the law empowered all persons to have access to information from public institutions, and relevant private bodies for which reason accessing information should not be made difficult.
He hinted that the commission was in the processing of accessing fund for the establishment of a tribunal.
“The tribunals depend on funding. We are still in the process of accessing funding so when we get funding we will establish that,” he said.
“But that does not stop us from carrying out our functions at all. We still use our little resources to execute what we are required to do under the RTI law,” he added.
The Programme Manager, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Abigail Larbi Odei, stressed the need for the intensification of public education and sensitisation on the law to give all and sundry a better understanding of the law so as to ask questions.
She emphasised that the commission since its establishment had played a number of key roles including media awareness and sensitisation, capacity buildings and stakeholder engagements which were very laudable.
Stating that the RTI Commission was a forward-looking organisation, the programme manager, MFWA, added that “as we go forward we will all suggest and give out recommendations when there are challenges.”
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR