Pressure continues to mount on government to speed up processes for the passage of the ‘Right To Information’ Bill into law.
The Bill which is to give right and access to official information held by public institutions and private entities which perform public functions with public funds has been stalled for nearly two decades.
Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has joined calls by state actors, political commentators and civil society groups charging government to pass the 17-year-old Bill to empower the general public to demand accountability.
Speaking at the 2018 IEA’s Petroleum Transparency and Accountability (P-TRAC) index forum, Senior Research Fellow at the IEA, Professor John Asafu-Adjaye observed that, a quick passage of the Bill will enhance access to information.
“We are really looking forward to the immediate passage of the RTI Bill. Not only will it enhance access to information or monitor petroleum revenue but it also enhances transparency in the public sector.”
While presenting his finding for 2017 P-TRAC, Professor John Asafu-Adjaye stressed the difficulties he faced with accessing information, especially from public institutions for his research work.
Many years down the lane, Ghana is still struggling to pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill. This Bill, which will ensure enhanced transparency in the governance process has remained on the drawing board and all efforts to get it passed into law continue to be a mirage.
The right to information is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognised as a right under international conventions on human rights.
The Bill, when passed, will give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states: “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society.”
Clearly, the right to information has been provided for by the Constitution, but how to access that vital information has become the albatross hanging on the nation’s neck.
It will be recalled that during the latter stages of last year, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government appeared poised to pass the Bill, but, somehow, strangely, the whole move fizzled into thin air. Earlier governments too had expressed their intentions to pass the Bill but to no avail.
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