RTI bill will be passed February 2019 -Speaker

Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye has urged civil society groups not to interfere with its work on the Right To Information (RTI) bill.

He has set February 2019 as new deadline for passage of bill. It’s official now that Parliament couldn’t approve the bill by end of year as promised despite huge public pressure.

The house went on recess over the weekend with the bill still under consideration.

Leaders in Parliament had offerred a new deadline in 2019 and Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia added his voice.

“It looks like all things being equal, early in the next session of parliament” this bill “by the grace of God” and with “your effort”, the RTI bill will be passed, he indicated December 12, 2018.

This comment confirmed the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, had broken his promise on March 6, 2018, on Ghana’s 61st birthday, to have the bill passed by December 2018.

It has been 22 years since the first Right to Information RTI Bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA and 16 years since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI Bill.

The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.

It was brought back to the Sixth Parliament but could not be passed till the expiration of that Parliament on January 6, 2016.

After months of waiting, the Bill was laid in Parliament early 2018 by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok.

But as the year ends, the Bill remains at the Consideration stage where was about 138 proposed amendments to the 57-page bill.

The RTI bill is expected to deepen Ghana’s democratic culture of accountability and transparency.