General News of Thursday, 22 March 2018
The Right to Information Coalition and Action Campaign Group is mounting pressure on government to, at least, lay the RTI Bill in Parliament before the House rises on Friday, March 23, 2018.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced while addressing the March 6 Independence Day parade that the Bill will be laid and passed before the lawmaking body rises. On Monday, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia revealed cabinet has approved and forwarded a revised version of the RTI Bill to parliament for consideration.
“Cabinet has given approval to the Right to Information Bill to be laid in parliament for debate and approval because it is very critical that we pass the Right to Information Bill and it is our hope that it will add additional feather in our fight against corruption,” he stated.
On the eve of Parliament’s recess, the Coalition said: “While we accept that the Bill cannot be passed immediately, at the minimum we expect the bill to be laid in Parliament before it goes on recess, tomorrow.”
Below is the full statement from the Coalition
THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION (RTI) ACTION CAMPAIGN GROUP
Today is DAY 9 of the 10-day Countdown that was initiated as part of the coordinated Campaign for the speedy passage of the RTI Bill into law in 2018. By this statement, the RTI Coalition and the RTI Action Campaign Group is reminding H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of his 6th March pledge to have the near two decades old RTI Bill laid and passed before Parliament rises.
Parliament goes on recess tomorrow March 23, 2018. While we accept that the Bill cannot be passed immediately, at the minimum we expect the bill to be laid in Parliament before it goes on recess, tomorrow.
We are united in our belief that passage of the RTI Bill is necessary to make credible and effective existing anticorruption legislation, including the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act and the Whistleblower Act. Similarly, we are confident the passage of the RTI Bill will help address the public financial management and institutional weaknesses noted in the recently concluded Auditor General report on the liabilities of Ministries, Department and Agencies ending 31st December 2016. It is in the interest of the citizens of Ghana and for the urgent need to give meaning to the article 21 “Right to Information” and the article 41 citizens duty “to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property”, for him to keep this promise.
We are unable to find any reasonable justification for the continued inaction on the RTI Bill and hereby call on H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government, to ensure that the RTI Bill, is laid in Parliament tomorrow. The time for talking is over. If we mean business, then we must act.
The RTI Coalition and the RTI Action Campaign Group calls on the media fraternity to continue with their support of this campaign and on citizens to join the campaign for the passage of the RTI Bill.