A tall list of amendments has been proposed on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill by the Members of Parliament for consideration due to the sensitive nature of the bill.
Although the Consideration Stage began in the House on Tuesday, it appears the bill might not be passed before the House takes a break for the Easter holidays.
The law makers have a daunting task of considering about 52 paged amendments on almost all the 66 clauses under the RTI bill before passing it.
While admitting that the bill might not be passed before recess, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Adjaho, urged the MPs to remain committed and scrutinize all the amendments diligently.
“It is a very important bill but we need to start the process of consideration. Even if we decide to put everything aside, we might not be able to finish within this meeting,” he said and urged the members to proceed with the consideration stage, despite the quantum of work ahead.
The Speaker said he had received a number of communications from various citizens with regards to the bill and urged the House not to be wavered by the quantum of work ahead
The bill seeks to, among other things, give meaning to Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution which provides that “all persons have the right to information subject to such qualification and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.
Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin has assured the public that the bill, which had been ‘hanging’ in Parliament since 1999, would be passed before the dissolution of the current Parliament.
The rationale for the Bill is to give right and access to information relating to what government is doing with tax payers’ money.
The Bill provides for access to official information held by public institutions as well as private entities which perform public functions with public funds.
It also contains the conditions under which access to information held by public institutions should be obtained by the public as well as the establishment of the Right to Information Commission to ensure independence of the review processes.
However, the Bill also has outlined a list of information which are exempted from the type of information that can be accessed by the public.
This include information from the office of the President and his vice, relating to the cabinet, relating to law enforcement, public safety and national security, affecting international relations, the defence of the country, economic and any other interest, among others.