General News of Friday, 23 March 2018
The Right to Information Bill has finally been laid before Parliament by the Deputy Attorney General Joseph Kpemka Dindiok.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had announced while addressing the March 6 Independence Day parade that the Bill will be laid and passed before the lawmaking body rises.
It is, however, unlikely that the bill will be passed before the House rises today as promised by the President.
According to Starr FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent, Ibrahim Alhassan, the bill has been referred to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the Communications committee of Parliament.
This development comes after Cabinet on Thursday approved the bill paving the way for it to be laid before the lawmakers.
Government came under massive pressure to get the bill laid following fears that the government was deliberately delaying the process.
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.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, however, raised procedural issues and breach of the constitution given that the bill was laid without gazetting.
But his position was dismissed by the majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu who argued that if the two committees determine that the bill is of urgent nature then there will be no requirement for a gazette.