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General News of Monday, 19 March 2018


Cabinet has approved RTI Bill – Bawumia

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has revealed that Cabinet has already endorsed the Right to Information (RTI) Bill and expressed optimism that it will soon be laid before parliament for passage.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, Cabinet has given approval to the Right to Information (RTI) Bill to be laid in parliament for debate and approval because it is very critical that we pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill,” he said in an address at the Norway Ghana Business Forum in Accra.

Dr Bawumia added that “it is our hope that this will be an additional feather in our cap to the fight against corruption”.

His comments come in the wake of mounted pressure on parliament to ensure that the bill is passed before parliament rises.

2018 marks 22 years since the first RTI Bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA.

It also marks 16 years since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI Bill. The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid before Parliament until February 5, 2010.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo revealed government’s commitment to the passage of the bill in his speech at Ghana’s 61st independence celebration.

“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,” he said.

After several calls for parliament to follow through and pass the bill, first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu, said no pressure group can threaten Parliament to pass the bill into law.

But Private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, is urging legislators to get to work and stop the rhetoric and has indicated that no group has issued threats against President Nana Akufo-Addo or parliament over the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.

Mr Anyenini, a member of the Action Campaign Group, further urged legislators to be focused and ensure that the bill is laid before parliament rises on Friday, March 23.

“No group is threatening parliament, no group threatened the president to make the declaration on the 6th of March that the bill will be laid and passed before they rise. They are rising on Friday; we have said that we know the President’s promise was not realistic but at the minimum we should have the bill in parliament,” he told Moro Awudu on Monday 19 March 2018.

For him, “there is no bill that has been worked on thoroughly like this one” in order to empower ordinary citizens.

He said the bill is for the public but journalists find themselves in positions where they will use it a lot more but “it is not for journalists”.

He maintained that public information is not a private property for anyone to hoard.

“The president knew what he was doing before he made the promise because he knew the bill was ready, what is the problem now?” he questioned.

He stated that the president must redeem his image and ensure that the bill is passed.