CONGRATULATIONS TO PARLIAMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL

CONGRATULATIONS TO PARLIAMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF RIGHT TO INFORMATION BILL

Press Release

The Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) Ghana, the Media Coalition on RTI and
OccupyGhana (all together as the “Coalition”) have followed yesterday’s proceedings in
Parliament with keen interest just as we have done in the past one year, and we are
happy to note that the House has finally read the Bill the third time and passed it.

We congratulate this 7th Parliament for completing the long awaited passage of this
piece of legislation after 17 years of waiting. Particularly, we recognize the effort of the
Chairman of Joint Committee of Communication and Constitutional, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs and the members of the Committees for their efforts during the
legislative process.

We acknowledge how this Parliament, has in less than one year,
worked very hard to take the Bill through the various stages of the lawmaking process.
However, considering
that Parliament is a House of Records, we wish to use this
platform to correct a wrong information communicated to the House yesterday by the
Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Hon. Ben
Abdallah Banda.

The Chairman informed the House that he agreed with the Coalition to
allow the Bill to go through the Third Reading without our final proposed amendments.
At best, we can describe this information as false and call on the Chairman to do the
honorable thing by requesting through the Rt. Hon. Speaker to have this expunged from
the records of the House.

We also wish to acknowledge the important contribution of many civil society
organizations, citizen activists, media practitioners and citizens across the country for
claiming their constitutionally guaranteed right to information.

Now that the Bill has been passed, we expect that President Akufo-Addo will assent to it
swiftly just as he promised in his last address to Parliament on the State of the Nation.

We are hopeful that government will put in place all needed processes to ensure that
the new law commences operation at the start of the next financial year, which is
January 2020.

Although we are disappointed that the House did not consider a few final amendments
we proposed which goes to the heart of the Bill, especially the ‘timeframe for putting in
place the necessary structure for effective implementation’, we call on all and sundry to
support the smooth implementation of the law. We hope that some of these concerns
will be addressed in the Regulations which will come later to operationalize the law.

.We the people of Ghana have shown true unity of purpose in the advocacy for the
passage of this law, and we thank all Ghanaians for the unflinching support throughout
the process.

We wish to assure the nation that the work of the Coalition and its partners
has only just begun with the passage of the Bill, as we are putting in place appropriate
measures to advocate consistently for the effective and efficient implementation of the
law.

Source: Koowaa.com/Kwame Baffoe Agyekum

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