Parliament re-lays RTI Bill
Parliament on Thursday evening concurred that further work by the House on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill should not be done under a certificate of urgency.
It “should be taken through the normal legislative process in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution” of Ghana.
The House at a plenary, following a recall by the Speaker, voted in favour of a joint committee determination that “even though there is a high public interest in the matter” it does not need to be taken with a rush.
Deputy Attorney General Joseph Kpemka Dindiok, laid the much awaited Bill on Friday, March 23, 2018, the same day on which the House broke for the Easter holidays, to resume on May 15, 2018.
Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye referred the Bill to a joint committee of the Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and Communications for consideration and report to the plenary, amidst immense public pressure for a speedy passage.
Due to the recess, the passage of the Bill had to wait till at least June this year; or members would have to be recalled during the holidays to deliberate on the bill.
On Monday, April 23, 2018, the Speaker, in press statement, recalled the legislators to report on Thursday April 26 and Friday April 27, 2018 to consider “some urgent parliamentary business.”
Among the business done by the House when MPs came back, during the break was the unanimous vote and consequent withdrawal of the RTI Bill that was later re-laid it.
By the unanimous decision, the Bill would now go through the normal legislative process for passage.
“The Committee is mindful of the need for speedy passage of the Bill into law and the work that has been previously on the Bill.
“However, the Committee’s preliminary discussions and Memoranda received from Stakeholders require that due consultations be made,” the joint committee report said.
It added: “The Committee … believes that there still remain some critical issues which demand extensive consultations.”
The House on Thursday evening adjourned Sine Die.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, announced at this year’s Independence Day celebration on March 6, 2018 that the Bill would be laid and passed.
There has also been pressure from a number of stakeholder groups and civil society groups for the Government to expedite the passage of the more than two decades old bill.