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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Right to Information Coalition has questioned the commitment of government and Parliament in passing the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.

 

Addressing a news conference in Accra today [Thursday], the Coalition accused the organs of state of sabotaging the passage of the Bill for fear that it will give some form of power to the citizens.

A member of the Coalition, Vitus Azeem, wondered why Parliament was dragging its feet as far as the passage of the bill is concerned.

“It will be recalled that the NDC party in their manifesto in 2008 and 2012, promised Ghanaians that when they get into power they will pass the Right to Information Bill. Basically in 2008, the NDC promised to deepen public accountability and transparency to enhance the disclosure of budget, public expenditure and procedures.”

“President Mahama has indicated on many occasions that when the Bill gets to his table, he will sign it without delay. Interestingly, the Bill has not been discussed. As of today [Thursday], Parliament has only considered 29 clauses out of 157 clauses of the amendment proposed. The Bill was considered on June 21 and till date, it is not clear why Parliament has decided not to proceed with the consideration process.

The RTI bill will allow citizens to have access to information held by government agencies to promote transparency and if passed, it is also expected to help make access to information held by state institutions easier.

The Bill was drafted sometime in 2010 after being taken through over a decade of reviews, despite continuous advocacy for its passage.

Many Civil Society groups have been demanding an immediate passage of the bill, which they claim will facilitate access to information.

The UN recently queried government on issues pertaining to privacy breaches and the status of the RTI legislation and matters relating to press freedom violations.

By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana