- The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has announced via Twitter he is signing into law a bill guaranteeing the right to information on Tuesday, May 21, 2019
- Right to Information bill was finally passed by Parliament after 17 years of relentless campaigns by local rights groups
- Even when assented to by the President, the law will take effect from January 2020
- The opposition National Democratic Congress contends the government does not want to be held accountable. That is why the date of implementation is being pushed to 2020, an election year.
- The government says it will cost 750 million cedis to implement in the first five years
President Nana Akufo-Addo Tuesday morning assented to the Right to Information law, fifty-six days after it was passed by Parliament.
In a Twitter post, the President noted that the law “presents further opportunity for Ghanaians to have access to relevant information on how the country is governed.”
The law will ease citizens’ access to information from public offices and officials when it comes into effect.
It is also expected to disarm office holders from arbitrarily holding back critical documents like details of contracts signed on behalf of the state from the media.
The RTI law will as well give meaning to Article 21/1 (f) of the 1992 Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”
The 17-year-old bill was passed after a last-minute amendment setting the date of implementation as January 2020.
Despite resistance from civil society groups, Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu explained that the amendment was necessary to enable the government to prepare for the financial implications of its implementation.
The opposition NDC however, said the government was pushing the implementation to avoid being ‘bitten’ by the law which will bring about transparency in government’s dealings.
How much will it cost to implement RTI?
A research conducted by the House found that it will cost the state GH¢750 million to implement the RTI over the next half-decade.
“The overall expenditure for establishing the Right to Information Commission and its administrative cost is the total addition of all components of cost,” the research found.
“These costs are the costs incurred in paying salaries to all personnel and the cost involved in acquiring logistics, maintaining assets and rent as well as the cost of employing the Executive Secretary to efficiently manage and operate the office.”
The research added, however, that if any of the underlying assumptions should change, the estimated cost will also be adjusted.