Report by:Ishmael Barfi
The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) has commended the President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo for the presidential assent given to the Right to Information Act on Tuesday, May 21,2019.
To the Coalition, this assent brings to a close a two decade journey for a legislation to operationalize the constitution right to information geld 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”.
This was contained in a press release issued by the Coalition to thenewindependentonline. Com
Furthermore, it explained , ‘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’.
However, it emphasized that, as a country, we still have a long way to go in realizing these benefits
Adding, 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 which are an effective and efficient right to information infrastructure and culture that will ensure substantial pro-active disclosure by public institutions and relevant bodies;
In addition, the drafting and passage of the critical regulations which will give full life to the Act.
Furthermore. 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 as well as the criteria that will be taken into consideration when appointing members of the Information Commission, which according to the Coalition should include a proven track record of commitment and defence of human rights, understanding of, and empathy with international norms and best practices in the right to information regime;
The release also indicated the need for effective mass education of the population on the provisions of the law and their rights under the law; as well the provisions of necessary resources, including funding, to make the law work.
In conclusion, the Coalitio called on government to put in place all needed processe, especially the critical and necessary funding and infrastructure to ensure that the new law commences operation at the start of next financial year now that the law has been assented to by the President.
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,it added
Therefore called 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.
And used the occasion 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.