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24.05.2019 Press Release

Presidential Assent To The Right To Information Act: A Welcome Development

By Alhaji Alhassan Abdulai
Presidential Assent To The Right To Information Act: A Welcome Development
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The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana, is delighted with the Presidential assent to the Right to Information Act on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, bringing the close to two decades journey for legislation to operationalize the constitutional provision on the right to information held by public institutions to a close.

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.

We, however, wish to emphasise that we still have a long way 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 is taken into consideration when appointing members of the Commission, which should include a proven track record of commitment and defense of human rights, understanding of/and empathy for 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 to ensure that the new law commences operation at the start of the next financial year.

We wish to assure the nation that the works of the RTI Coalition and partners have only just begun, as we are putting in place appropriate measures to advocate consistently for the effective and efficient implementation of the law.