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Open governance hinged on right to information – GII

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RTI Activist right to informationLack of a Freedom of Information Law is a significant blight on open governance in Ghana, the Open Governance Scorecard Country Report of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has indicated.

“One major setback for transparency in Ghana-possibly the major causal factor-for its weak transparency performance is the lack of freedom of information law backing a right to information recognized in the 1992 Constitution even though it does not create the institutional conditions for making access to information applicable in practice”.

Ghana is however “making significant progress in its Open Data Initiative with the establishment of Open governance Data Portal- an important dimension of Open governance,” the GII Report said.

Ghana is ranked fourth in Africa in applying technology and innovation to facilitate open governance, Mrs Mary Awelena Addah, Programme Manager GII, said at a workshop in Ho.

The workshop brought together officials of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Municipal and District Assemblies, Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and Social Accountability Clubs (SAC) to discuss the report and draw work plans to facilitate open governance in those institutions.

The three-year Open Governance Project (OG-P) was launched by Transparency International (TI) in 2013 as part of activities to curb public sector corruption, and is being implemented in Ghana, Peru, Ukraine and Indonesia, the Concept Note of the Project indicated.

The Project focused on three main pillars, transparency, participation and control and oversight over governance.

The overall objective of the Project is to encourage institutional reforms by governments in order to attain transparency, and accountability in the operations of the political administration to ultimately serve the interests of the citizenry.

The Report singled out Control and Oversight as “the best performing part of Ghana’s open governance regime, while transparency is the weakest,” due largely   to lack of Freedom of Information Law.

“The overall performance of Ghana is slightly better in open governance in-practice than in what actually is prescribed in the law in relation to citizens’ rights to participate and access information,” the report indicated.

The Report described the open governance scorecard as a “dashboard with an extensive set of indicators to assess whether basic conditions are met to foster open governance around the three pillars,” transparency, Control and oversight and accountability.

It gathered information on legal provisions related to open governance in diverse legal instruments, system arrangements, how institutions and branches interact between themselves and citizens to facilitate oversight.

It also looked at institutional mechanisms-process through which government branches or agencies disclose information, facilitate participation or comply with oversight provisions.

Source: GNA

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