The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has urged stakeholders in the media and general population to ensure the successful enforcement of the Right To Information (RTI) law.
He said it would be regrettable if Ghana is not able to effectively enforce the law after several years of advocacy for its promulgation.
Addressing a forum in Accra, yesterday, to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), the minister indicated that access to information was a requisite for open and accountable governance.
“Ghanaians are major stakeholders as far as the RTI law is concerned. I call on you all to deepen your efforts and work tirelessly so that RTI is successfully implemented in Ghana,” he said.
The theme for this year’s IDUAI is “Right To Information Act 2019: A tool to Ensure Transparency, Good Governance and Sustainable Development in Leveraging International Cooperation.”
First observed in 2016, the day was proclaimed at the 74th UN General Assembly, to be held on September 28, annually, to drum home the need for access to information to enhance governance.
Giving an update on what Ghana has done so far since the RTI Bill was passed in 2019, Mr Nkrumah said, information units, in line with the Act, have been set up in 539 state institutions across the country.
The minister, who is also the MP for Ofoase-Ayirebi, said Access to Information Division has been established at the Information Services Department, to train and deploy officers to facilitate access to information requests.
“Thus far, the division has trained 1,055 who are tasked to facilitate and process access to information requests for the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The offices have also been equipped with resources and logistics which would support the officers to deliver on their mandates,” he said.
To give further boost to the RTI regime, Mr Nkrumah said the Governing Board of the Commission was inaugurated to epitomise the role of citizens in governance of the country.
He hinted that the fees and charges to govern the implementation of the RTI Act would soon be laid in Parliament for a determination on how much it should cost for the reproduction of an information for an applicant.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, said his outfit has received 16 applications for review from individuals, who had applied for information from public institutions, but did not receive it as requested.
Nine of the applications for review, he said have been determined with the rest being worked on for determination.
Mr Boateng said the Commission would be fair in the discharge of its duties for the purpose of the RTI to be realised.
Chairman of the Board of the Commission, Justice retired K.A. Ofori Atta, urged the citizenry not to be deferred by the financial demand, which may be made of them for the reproduction of information they would request.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI
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