The Information Minister has revealed that processes are underway to set a standardised fee system all public institutions should charge when people request to access information under the Right to Information (RTI) Law.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, at Ghana’s commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to information (IDUAI), noted that the absence of a standard fee has made it challenging to implement the RTI Law which was passed in 2019.
Thus, government is currently drafting a proposal for Parliament’s consideration.
“I am aware of one review application that has been occasioned by disagreement over charges. As a result, a proposal on the fees and charges has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and will soon be presented to Parliament,” he said on Tuesday.
Besides that, Mr Oppong Nkrumah touted the programmes his outfit has implemented to ensure the effective operation of the RTI Law.
According to him, the Information Ministry has trained 1,055 officers to help public institutions discharge their mandate of providing information for the public under the RTI Law.
“These officers include 478 designated information officers, 478 record officers and 99 newly recruited information officers,” he said.
He said the passage of the RTI Law, coupled with the training and other efforts, is part of significant steps by the government to “promote accountability, transparency and good governance”.
On his part, the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, advised people to take a keen interest in the RTI Law to enable them to exercise their constitutional right to information.
He mentioned that the RTI has afforded all persons the right to access information readily; thus, all and sundry should use it to help resolve many problems.
“Your child is qualified but has not been admitted to a public Senior High School because the authorities say he/she had a certain score. How true is that record? Under the RTI Law, you can challenge the GES to produce the examination marks,” he explained.
The Executive Secretary of the RTI Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, said the RTI is a cardinal principle of democracy, transparency and accountability.
He said the world is now embracing access to information, with governments making access to information the norm instead of secrecy.
The commission, he said, is poised and ready to assist people to actualise their right to information.
He said so far, the commission has, since its formation in October last year, received 16 complaints and determined nine of them.
“The commission launched its offices on Monday, September 27, and processes are underway to get the financial clearance and recruit the required staff,” he said.
The RTI Act was passed in 2019 to operationalise Article 21 (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution, which stipulates that “all persons shall have the right to information, subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary in a democratic society”.
The law gives people the right to access all sorts of information, apart from exempt information.
Per the law, exempt information includes information on the President or the Vice-President, information relating to the Cabinet, law enforcement and public safety, international relations, the economy or any other interest.
Other exempt information includes internal workings of public institutions, privileged information and personal information.
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