Public officers and other officials who receive requests under the RTI Law are being urged to desist from charging unreasonable fees.

The RTI law was passed in 2019, but close to two years after that, the law is yet to see the passage of a legislative instrument to ensure its optimum implementation.

Its implementation in the past two years has been countered by the sometimes vicious pushback by state officials. Already, there have been major bottlenecks, including delays in accessing requested information and fees being charged for the requests made.

But at the launch of the Media Foundation for West Africa’s RTI Manual, Lawyer and reigning journalist of the year, Samson Lardi Anyenini challenged public office holders to charge fees commensurate with the information requested even as the RTI Commission works to get Parliament to pass an LI to guide the implementation of the law.

“The fees to be charged, according to the law, are just to be for the reproduction of the information requested. If the information is on a pen drive, the question is, how much is a pen drive? If the information is on a CD, the question is how much is a CD? Or if it is a photocopy that we need, the question is how much is a photocopy?” he asked.

The law spent more than a decade in Parliament as a draft Bill. It took several protests and petitions to get it finally passed in 2019.

But with a legislative instrument yet to be passed to guide the smooth implementation of the law, there is disagreement on certain portions especially on the fees for reproduction of requested information.

Executive Secretary of the RTI Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, says a draft of the fees has been submitted to parliament awaiting approval.

“We are required under the law to make proposals on charges for onward approval from parliament. As far we are concerned, that proposal has been made. We submitted our proposal to parliament sometime in March or April, but the house was on recess. We are hoping that now that it has resumed, it will be considered,” he noted.

For former Chair of the RTI Coalition, Seth Abloso, the LI to be passed by Parliament must streamline a proper sanctioning regime for public officials who flout the law.

Mr. Sarpong Boateng, however, says he expects the LI for the RTI law to be passed in no time.