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General News of Wednesday, 30 January 2019


NPP MP seeks 1 year grace period after RTI passage

Parliament of Ghana Parliament of Ghana

The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday accused government of sabotaging the yet-to-be-passed Right to Information bill into law.

The allegation of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs stems from the introduction of an amendment by Suhum MP Frederick Opare Ansah for a 12-month implementation clause after the passage of the bill.

Mr Hammond argued government will need that grace period to put its acts in order.

The proposal was, however, vehemently opposed by the minority MPs.

Speaking to Starr News, former Deputy Attorney General and a member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament Dr Dominic Ayine said the government is manipulating the majority to make the RTI law toothless.

He said: “There’s no rational basis why we should delay the passage of the bill or say that we have passed it but we want to delay its implementation for 12 months. In the interim what’s going to happen? Is it the case that the bureaucracy will now have to prepare itself, to open itself up to a transparent manner that’s required by the bill? Is that what the proponent of that amendment is saying?”

He urged the majority to reject the proposal saying “if they are afraid that in the 12 months the government will be exposed because there’ll be a request for information that’ll expose them they should just let us know.”

He stated that he suspected that “there’s an intention to delay the RTI in other for the government to operate in the manner that it is operating now without any scrutiny.”

Chairman for the Committee Ben Abdallah, however, disagreed. The Offinso South MP argued that a delay in the implementation of the RTI bill will not hurt anybody after waiting for such a law for 20 years.

He, however, disclosed leadership of Parliament has been tasked to consider the amendment before consideration of the bill resumes.

The RTI is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and ratified as a right under International Conventions on Human rights. It was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament.

The bill was presented to Parliament on February 5, 2010, but has since not been passed despite undergoing a countless number of amendments. The delay in the passage of the bill has attracted many groups in recent times including the Media coalition on RTI to exert torrid pressure on Parliament to pass the bill before it rises.