The Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament Ben Abdallah disclosed on Wednesday that the cost of implementing the Right to Information Law is unknown to Parliament, barely 24 hours after its passage.
Ghana’s Parliament passed the long-awaited RTI Bill into Law on Tuesday.
The Bill, which was relayed before Parliament in March last year by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joseph Kpemka Dindiok after the previous parliament, the sixth of the fourth republic failed to pass it into law was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) over two decades ago and more than a decade since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI Bill.
Speaking to Starr News’ Parliamentary Correspondent Ibrahim Alhassan barely a day after the Bill was passed into Law, Abdallah said the cost involved in the implementation of the RTI Law is unknown because of some procedural mishaps.
“The law requires, section 100 of the public financial management act requires that every Bill that is brought to Parliament must be accompanied by a fiscal impact statement. Unfortunately, that was not done with respect to the Right to Information Bill. If that was done Parliament will have known in advance how much it will cost for the Right to Information Bill to be implemented,” he stated.
That notwithstanding, he expressed delight in the ability of the seventh Parliament of the fourth republic to pass the RTI Bill into Law.
“I feel good. It is like you have been given an assignment and you have been able to complete the assignment. You feel very relieved. It is like you are carrying a load and that load has been taken off your head. You feel very elated, you feel very happy more especially when the Right to Information Bill has suffered a lot of parliamentary adjournment so to speak.
“It has travelled from 1999 that is when we started this journey, it comes to parliament then it goes back because when a Bill enters Parliament and Parliament is not able to deal with the Bill automatically lapses. That has been the trajectory and the checked history of the Bill.
So, if ultimately the Bill has crystallised into law it is good for all of us, it is good for democracy, it is good for Ghana and it is good for parliament,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Communications consultant and dean of communication studies at the Wisconsin University College Professor Kwame Karikari has urged Ghanaians and the media to be cautious with their jubilation over the passage of the Right to Information Law by Parliament.
He says until the content of the new law is studied and accepted to be responsive to the challenges with information gathering in the country, there is a need for caution among stakeholders.
“The RTI bill may either enhance the access to information or rubbish the whole process and that is why we are interested in the content of the bill. Until we see, read and study what the act contains, we cannot jubilate and have a party.
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