The Coalition on Right to Information (RTI) Ghana, has called on His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addoo, to give the necessary directives to the relevant authorities to ensure that some funding is procured in the mid-term budget to urgently commence the implementation of the law.
Meanwhile, the Coalition has welcomed and expressed delight with the presidential assent given to the Right to Information Act by the President on Tuesday, May 21,2019.
The assent according to the Coalition in a release copied to News Ghana, brings to a close a two-decade journey for a legislation to operationalize the constitutional right to information held by public institutions.
It also 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.
Adding that “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 emphasize that we still have a long way to go 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; 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; 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 criteria that are taken into consideration when appointing members of the Information Commission, which 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;
effective mass education of the population on the provisions of the law and their rights under the law;
and the provisions of necessary resources, including funding, to make the law work,” The Coalition emphasized.
The Coalition further intimated that,
“Now that the law has been assented to by the President, we call on government to put in place all needed processes, especially the critical and necessary funding and infrastructure to ensure that the new law commences operation at the start of the next financial year.
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.”
They however assured Ghanaians that, the works of the RTI Coalition and partners has only just begun, as they are putting in place appropriate measures to advocate consistently for the effective and efficient implementation of the law.