General News of Friday, 23 March 2018
The two decades old Right To Information (RTI) Bill is likely to be laid in Parliament today, Friday, March 23, 2018, following Cabinet consideration Thursday night.
The passage of the Bill will, however, have to wait until at least June this year.
Civil Society Groups including the RTI coalition stepped up pressure after President Akufo Addo’s independence day speech in which he committed to have the Bill presented to Parliament before it rises today, Friday.
It has been 22 years since the first Right to Information RTI Bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA.
Also, it is 16 years since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI Bill. The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.
Government is under massive pressure to get the bill laid before parliament rises on Friday, March 23 following fears that the government was deliberately delaying the process.
“The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu expects the Communications Committee of Parliament to study and consult widely on the Bill during Parliament’s recess to enable speedy work when the House reconvenes in May.
“This is not a Bill that can be considered under a certificate of urgency and be completed in one day. So the import of introducing it in Parliament will be for the Committee to be seized of it so that they can take it home during the recess and do the necessary consultation and report back to us mid-May. So that when we come back mid-May into when we shall adjourn again which will be July ending, we would have dealt with it.
” If the coast is clear sign is given, it will have to go to the Assembly press for gazetting, if it does go it can then come back to Parliament which is why I’m telling you it will come to Parliament in that state for it to be referred to the committee.”