Ghana: House Resumes Work in RTI Bill

Newspaper, press, media.
13 December 2018

PARLIAMENT has resumed work on the Right to Information (RTI) Bill as pressure continues to mount on the legislature to pass the bill into law.

The resumption of the amendment to the clauses follows a reassurance by the Vice President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia that the bill will be passed during the first meeting of the next session which starts in January next year.

The bill has been under consideration but work on it stalled since the presentation of the 2019 budget statement by the Finance Minister on November 15.

Yesterday's consideration, however, lasted about an hour in the morning and after other businesses, the House returned to it later in the afternoon.

Uncharacteristic of the House, the RTI was the first public business to be done though it was the 28th item on the schedule.

Parliament has come under pressure from the media and civil society for the slow pace of work on the bill.

The resolve to pass the RTI suffered a setback in the recent past with the House pulling the break on the consideration because it did not have the quorum to conduct business.

Chairman of the Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah Banda, speaking with journalists said the House was committed to the passage of the bill.

The Offinso South MP explained that work on the amendment of the clauses stalled because the House was now obsessed with the approval of the budget and the passage of the Appropriation Bill which would give government the authority to spend from the consolidated and other government funding sources.

He acknowledged the importance of the RTI to the fight against corruption and said Parliament will not shirk that responsibility to ensure that it was passed.

A Steering Committee member of the RTI Coalition, Clement Sena Akoloh, speaking in an interview with Ghanaians Times said the move was in the right direction.

"We are happy that the leadership of Parliament has seen reason in our advocacy.

"If they had been doing it like they are doing today by amending at least five clauses in a day, we would have been nearing the completion of the consideration," Mr Akoloh said.

The push for the speedy passage of the RTI law, Clement Akoloh said was not ending until the last clause was amended.

The House, meanwhile, approved a GH¢246,966,071 budget estimate for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources for its programmes and projects for 2019.

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