SONA 19 Update: RTI to Be Passed This Year

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that “Parliament has virtually completed its deliberations on the Right To Information Bill, and that, any moment from now, the nation will hear the news of its long, anticipated passage.”

 

The Right to Information has been the most suffered bill in the history of Ghana having lasted for over two decades and transcending beyond four political administration without being passed.

The processes of getting for the country, a Right to Information Law started in 1999. The first draft bill of the law was drafted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

 

The bill was reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007. In 2010, it was presented to parliament for the first time. It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but could not be passed till the expiration of that Parliament on January 6, 2017.

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After months of waiting, the Bill was laid in Parliament again in early 2018 by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka.

 

Objective

The objective of the RTI Bill is to provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.

It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.

 

The Bill is currently before the parliament of Ghana awaiting passage.

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Several groups such as The Coalition on the Right to Information, Right to Information (RTI) Action Campaign Group, CDD – Ghana, the newly formed Media Coalition on RTI, among others continuously called on the government to get the bill passed.

According to Sammy Obeng, the Executive Director for Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), the recent works of the newly formed Media Coalition on RTI, has made the Bill advocacy gained renewed impetus and this has helped greatly in getting parliament to work on the Bill, albeit at a rather slow pace.

 

NPP Manifesto

The 2016 Manifesto of the ruling New Patriotic Party under the heading “Governance, Corruption and Public Accountability” stated that The NPP is irrevocably committed to the establishment of a solid, efficient machinery for good governance, comprising accountable government and respect for the rule of law and human rights.
Under point ‘G’ the party stated that “the NPP will ensure the passage of the Right to Information bill if the present Parliament delays in doing so”

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Delivering the state of the Nations address on Thursday 21st February, 2019, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that he “will, happily, assent to it(RTI) as soon as it is brought to my table” after parliament has passed it.

Source: The Evening Mail

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