Ghana’s Right To Information Coalition has extolled President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for swiftly signing the Right To Information (RTI) bill into law.
The Coalition, in a statement, commended the President for the importance he attached to the bill, saying: “The Coalition recognizes and commends the urgency with which His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo signed the law in keeping with the assurance he gave at the last state of the nation address that as soon as the law is presented to him, he would give his assent to it. We do hope that this same urgency will be accorded to the implementation of the law.”
Mr. Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, 21 May 2019 assented to the bill, as approved by Ghana’s parliament. The law will be operational next year.
“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 legislation to operationalize the constitutional right to information held by public institutions.
“The Coalition recognizes and commends the urgency with which His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo signed the law in keeping with the assurance he gave at the last state of the nation address that as soon as the law is presented to him he would give his assent to it. We do hope that this same urgency will be accorded to the implementation of the law.
“We share 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.”
The statement further stated that: “We, however, wish to emphasize that we still have a long way to go in realizing these benefits. The law only stands to benefit the good people of Ghana with the establishment of the following necessary preconditions as the Coalition has already communicated:
1. an effective and efficient right to information infrastructure and culture that will ensure substantial pro-active disclosure by public institutions and relevant bodies;
2. the drafting and passage of the critical regulations which will give full life to the law;
3. the designation of information officers and their training, which are key conditions for the realization of a truly robust and effective right to information law;
4. the criteria that are taken into consideration when appointing members of the Information Commission, which should include a proven track record of commitment and defense of human rights, understanding of, and empathy with international norms and best practices in the right to information regime;
5. effective mass education of the population on the provisions of the law and their rights under the law;
6. the provisions of necessary resources, including funding, to make the law work.
“Now that the law has been assented to by the President, we call on the 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. It is, however, necessary that provision be made in the mid-term budget for funding to begin setting up the basic infrastructure and recruiting of the human resource necessary for the implementation of the law. We are, therefore, calling on His Excellency to give the necessary directives to the relevant authorities to ensure that some funding is procured in the mid-term budget to commence implementation now."
“We wish to assure the nation that 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.”
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