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General News of Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

We’re not scared of passing RTI Bill – MP

Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Kofi Amoatey, has refuted claims that Parliament is frustrating the timely passage of the Right to Information Bill (RTI).

He told Citi News after a technical meeting on the bill between his committee and the Right to Information coalition, that the media is to blame for misrepresenting the delay to the public.

“The information that is put on this bill from the media gives the impression that politicians are afraid to pass this bill because when it is passed, it will expose politicians; that is wrong. It is a very wrong impression being created about the bill.”

He said, “Don’t forget that it is the politician who is spearheading this bill through Parliament. It came from the executive and Ghana is practicing democracy now, the right to information bill is part of the tool to deepening democratic processes and so I don’t want the impression to be created that members of parliament are frustrating the passage of the bill. There are several bills pending before Parliament, in some of the bills there is urgency…if they were not passed up to a certain time, maybe the benefits or resources that Ghana is expected to gain from the passage of those bills will elapse,” he added.

The Right to Information Bill allows citizens to have access to information held by government agencies to promote transparency and accountability.

The proposed law, if passed, is also expected to help make access to information held by state institutions easier.

The Bill was drafted sometime in 2002 and has been taken through over a decade of reviews, despite continuous advocacy for its passage.