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27.05.2019 General News

Use Mid-Year Budget To Fund RTI Law In the Interim – RTI Coalition Tells Gov’t

By Clement Akoloh
Use Mid-Year Budget To Fund RTI Law In the Interim – RTI Coalition Tells Gov’t

The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana has called on President Akufo Addo and his government to make room in the mid-year budget to fund the commencement of the implementation of the Right To Information Law which has just been assented.

President Akufo Addo gave his assent to the Right To Information Act on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, just a day after the Act was forwarded to his office from Parliament. His swift response to the Act was in line with a promise he made to the effect that, he would not hesitate to do same when it was brought to his table to demonstrate his commitment to good governance.

While the RTI Coalition commended the President and his government for what they have done so far to bring closure to a two-decade journey for a legislation to operationalize the constitutional right to information held by public institutions, they expressed the hope that the same level of commitment would be demonstrated in the implementation of the law.

They emphasized that Ghanaians only stands to benefit from the law with the establishment of the stated necessary preconditions including: an effective and efficient right to information infrastructure and culture that will ensure substantial pro-active disclosure by public institutions and relevant bodies; the drafting and passage of the critical regulations which will give full life to the law; and 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.

The other preconditions they also mentioned are: Effective mass education of the population on the provisions of the law and their rights under the law; the provisions of necessary resources, including funding, to make the law work; and the criteria that are taken into consideration when appointing members of the Information Commission, which should include a proven track record of commitment and defense of human rights, understanding of, and empathy with international norms and best practices in the right to information regime.

Following this, the group has noted that it was necessary for provisions to 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.

“We are therefore calling 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,” the release from the coalition indicated.