Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has disclosed that 223 Right to Information (RTI) requests have been received so far from public institutions and individuals after the Act was passed into law.

According to him, it has become necessary to create awareness about the existence and accessibility of the RTI law to the general public due to the low level of utilisation of the law by the public.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, the MP revealed that the timelines for provision of information, when requested, differs provided it does not breach the security and privacy of individuals.

“I want to encourage any person who has reason to feel that timelines have been delayed to take advantage of the provision of the Act which says consider it as denied and appeal to the head of institution or the commission and get it redressed immediately”, he said.

He also urged the academic community to take advantage of the Act to seek information from public institutions for their research projects.

“May I take the advantage to reach out to the entire country, particularly the academic community, to make use of the Act, to apply for information from public institutions. Many of our young people have complained about difficulties in getting access to information when preparing their dissertations.

“The RTI gives you legal cover to apply for information from public institutions for purposes of academic exercises and dissertations.”

The Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker described as disappointing, the sharp decline in the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to access public information due to the number of requests so far.

According to him, only 10 applications have been received this year, which he says is in sharp contrast with the average number of 32 recorded quarterly since the passage of the Bill.

“To our colleagues in the media, we want to encourage a lot more use of the RTI Act and a lot less resort to speculation and hearsay. The RTI Act grants you, by law, access to information for purposes of media work as well.

“For all the amount of money that has been spent, all the hours of executive and parliamentary times spent in legislating the RTI, it is a bit disappointing that even in subsequent years, these are the very few numbers of requests that have come through. I encourage various stakeholders to use the Act to access information,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.

Meanwhile, he has appealed to the House to approve the fees accompanying the Act to address the discrepancies over the fees charged by some public institutions.

Passage of RTI law

Parliament in 2019 passed the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law to allow for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by the public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.

It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and to provide for related matters.

The RTI Bill was first drafted in 1999, reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was presented to Parliament in 2010. But it could not be passed due to the many recommendations for amendment. It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but could not be passed as well.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.


DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.