Bolgatanga, July 15, GNA - The Coalition on the Right to Information Bill has said its approval by Parliament would help address the challenges that the Public Accounts Committee faces in discharging its duties.
The Upper East Regional Chapter of the Coalition, which stated this at a meeting to educate members on an “Opinion Paper” on the Bill, to draw an action plan to spearhead its passage, explained that when the Bill is passed, the various state and private agencies would be mandated to publish their activities periodically.
Members of the Coalition, therefore, called on Parliament to as a matter of urgency speed up the passage of the Bill to enhance accountability and transparency.
However, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Communication of Parliament, Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua, has told the House recently that were waiting for input of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) before the Bill is laid before Parliament for consideration.
The Members of the Coalition also re-affirmed the decision made by the advocates of the RTB that fees proposed in the Bill be limited to production cost and nothing else.
They also reiterated that funds received from the execution of the Law should not be lodged in the Consolidated Fund as proposed by the drafters of the Bill but be utilised by the various state agencies to run activities in relation to right to information.
The Coalition stressed the need for all state and private agencies to keep effective record of information so as to make them easily accessible to whoever may need them.
They re-affirmed the decision on the need to establish an Independent Information Commission to have oversight responsibility on activities regarding information.
The Coalition said the Bill did not capture the Chieftaincy Institution which holds land and other resources in trust on behalf of the people and noted that it should be incorporated in the bill.
The Coalition is to organise radio discussions on the Bill, lobby Parliamentarians, and would hold what they term, ”Right to Information Day” among other activities.
The Right to Information Bill, which was drafted 10 years ago, and designed in accordance with Article (1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution, gives the public the right to access official information which is held by a government agency.
The Bill was proposed in1998 and the country has since changed governments three times.