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General News of Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Akufo-Addo makes a strong case for RTI bill passage

The President has said the decade-old Right to Information Bill is critical in the fight against corruption, promising to present it to Parliament again for passage in the coming days.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said Tuesday that the bill, when it becomes a law, would increase transparency and add another critical arsenal in the fight against corruption.

“After many years of hesitation, we intend to bring a Bill again to Parliament and work to get it passed into law before Parliament rises,” the President said at the Black Star Square during a speech to mark Ghana’s 61st Independence Day anniversary.

The bill when passed will give power to the constitutional provision that gives every Ghanaian the right to information.

It will form the basis for every citizen to go to any government agency to demand information that should be public but may have been unpublished.

The bill was presented to legislators for passage in 2013 but never saw the light of day several years after.

The Right to Information Coalition that has been pushing for the passage of the bill into law believes the law will deepen transparency and firm up Ghana’s democracy.

But the two major political parties have lacked the will to pass the bill into law.



Meanwhile, the Right to Information Coalition has welcomed the President’s announcement on Tuesday that the RTI Bill will be laid before parliament again.

Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah, who is a member of the Coalition, says he has confidence the President will live up to the promise.

“I think it is a welcoming piece of news. The New Patriotic Party [the President’s party] in their campaign manifesto highlighted it as one of the things they will do [to deal with corruption] and on assumption of office a number of promises have been made.

“But I think this is the first time that we are hearing from the President himself directly at an important forum such as the Independence Day anniversary and not only has he made a promise, I think it is important that he has put a timeline to it,” Mr Braimah said.