Parliament must stand up on Right to Information Bill – GII

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on Tuesday called the Parliament to enact the Right to Information Bill (RTI) without any further delay to enable the country to be counted among the countries that have a Freedom to Information legislation.

“Ghana must stand up to be counted among West Africa’s democracies that have a Freedom of Information Law,” it said.

Nigeria and Liberia are the only West African countries that have a Freedom to Information Law out of the 10 African countries that have such a law.

A statement in Accra by the GII and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said it was very sad that Ghana’s Parliament found excuses for delaying the passage of the Bill.

It said under both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), “we have seen Bills passed under emergency at the speed of light”.

“The Representation of the People Amendment Bill (ROPAL) was one such bill. In some situations, Parliamentarians have been recalled from recess to approve bills at an unknown cost to the tax payers of this country. The recent passage of the $3 billion Chinese loan is another of such bills,” the statement said.

It added that the Right to Information Bill was more important than all those Bills because the RTI legislation would help ensure that transparent processes, be they the electoral processes or procurement processes, were for the benefit of the majority of Ghanaians.

“Ghanaians need to know how loans are spent, the contracts that will be awarded, who the contracts will be awarded to and on what criteria. Transparency is clearly linked to good governance, economic growth and poverty reduction,” it added.

It said every citizen, including members of the Executive and the Parliament, whether they belonged to the ruling or opposition party, was a key stakeholder in the fight for transparency and access to information.

“It is time for Ghana’s Parliament to also live up to its responsibility to the electorate and enact the Bill without delay,” it added.

Source: GNA

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