President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday gave assent to the Right to Information (RTI) Act that was passed by Parliament in March, this year.
The RTI Law seeks to give effect, to Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana which states that "All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society."
It, also, seek to operationalise the constitutional right to information by the public, and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent to safeguarding the public interest in a democratic state.
The Presidential assent makes the RTI law a statute under the constitution, which provisions would empower people, contain corruption, and bringing transparency and accountability in the working of the government.
At a short ceremony at the Jubilee House on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said: "I did make a commitment that when it was brought to me, I'll give my assent to it right away."
"It was brought to me yesterday afternoon and I thought I should sign it in the full view of the Ghanaian people," adding "I am glad this long winding parliamentary process has finally come to an end... and I am happy that we now have a Right to Information Act."
The President said the law when applied properly, "would provide a critical tool against corruption and enhance the quality of governance in our country. He congratulated the seventh Parliament for its "courage, sense of responsibility and commitment to good governance in passing this piece of legislation."
He said the purposes of the Act, set in its preamble is to provide for the implementation of the constitutional right to information held by any public institution and to foster the culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs.
Properly applied, President Akufo-Addo said, the law should "enhance the quality of governance in our country and provide a critical tool in the fight against corruption in public life."
He said, Parliament, quite rightly, had provided that the Act should come into effect, the next financial year, in January 2020 as there are financial consequences in the implementation of the law.
First drafted in 1999 by the Institute of Economic Affairs, (IEA), the Right to Information Bill (RTI), after three reviews in 2003, 2005 and 2007, was finally presented to Parliament in 2010. The bill had a chequered journey through the legislative processes, with the document going through various stages of considerations and amendments culminating in the House passing it into law on March 26, 2019.
The Right to Information Act mandates that timely response be given to any citizen who asks for information. It provides for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.