Speaker orders removal of RTI bill from Order Paper
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye has ordered the removal of the Right to Information bill from parliament’s motion paper on Thursday.
The order preceded a planned reading of the bill for the third time as captured by the Order Paper.
The Speaker’s action was necessitated by the Civil Society Organisations’ decision to make additional proposals to be inserted into the bill.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament and deputy Minority Whip, Ben Abdallah Banda, says parliament should not be blamed for the delay in the passage of the bill.
He noted that the leadership of parliament has “expedited action” on the bill because it is “passionate about it”.
He pointed out, “The executive have done their part, parliament has also done out part, it is the coalition to the Right to Information, they are saying they don’t want it to be passed the way we have done it…so the public should take that it is not Ghana parliament that is trying not to pass the Act now.”
The object of the RTI Bill is to provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by 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 only presented to Parliament in 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 last year (2018) by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok.
The RTI Bill has passed through the first and second readings.