General News of Monday, 29 May 2017

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

RTI Bill not on Parliament’s agenda as it reconvenes for second sitting

Journalists and citizens who eagerly anticipated the presentation of the RTI bill to parliament for scrutiny and passage would have to wait till the third sitting of the 7th parliament for any hope of its passage.

The Bill which when passed will give live to Article 21(1)(f) of the constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualification and laws as are necessary in a democratic society” has been in parliament for more than a decade.

The RTI Bill was drafted in 1999 and reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was not presented to Parliament.

The first attempt at enacting the law on the right to information was made when the Bill was presented to Parliament on February 5, 2010.

However speaking to www.ghanaweb.com, the Acting Director of Public Affairs, Parliament, Kate Addo she explained that Parliament has the luxury of time before its tenure ends therefore there is the possibility of it being passed at some point.

“This is only the second meeting of the first sessions. We have four sessions to go and we have three meetings in each session. We are expecting that at some point in the life of the 7th parliament it will be reintroduced, the leaders and various actors have indicated their interest in saying the Bills passed” she said.

She also added that unlike previous parliaments, the leaders and the key stakeholders involved have expressed willingness to ensure that the bill is passed during the lifespan of the 7th parliament.

She was emphatic that even though the Bill will be reintroduced, it will not be unduly delayed if presented to plenary as the actors remain the same and more committed to it.

“When it is reintroduced, there’s a lot of work already which is going to inform how it is conducted this time and hopefully it will be passed. There is a lot of political from both sides of the divide to ensure that it will be passed and so we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that it will be passed as soon as possible.” she noted

The enactment of the Bill into law will make it easier for individuals to seek and obtain information.

In the last hour of the erstwhile administration, attempts were made to pass the bill into law but to no avail as both sides of the house couldn’t agree on the content of the bill.

Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday May 30th 2017 after breaking for the Easter in April, 2017.