RTI Bill: Date of Commencement halts progress in Parliament

Parliament has given the Executive arm of Government up to Tuesday, February 5 to state its stands on when the Right To Information Law should take effect after it is passed by the House and assented to by the President.

This follows a debate on the floor of Parliament on a motion moved by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Suhum, Fredrick Opare-Ansah, seeking to defer the commencement of the implementation of the Bill till after 12 months.

According to his proposed motion captured under the title: Transitional Provision, “The provisions of section 18 and other consequential sections shall come into force 12 months from the date on which this Act is assented to by the President.”

He was of the view that the 12 month period will give room to public institutions to put measures in place to offer adequate information to the public when they start making requests.

The proposed amendment was however met with serious opposition mainly from members of the Minority side of the House on Wednesday when it was moved by Opare-Ansah. The Members were not convinced by his justification for the deferment.

The Minority side challenged the capacity in which the MP was making the proposal when he is not a member of the Executive who is the sponsors of the Bill. They also expressed the concern that it will create unnecessary image deficit for parliament given the huge public interest in the Bill.

Following the inconclusive debate on the issue, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Michael Oquaye, stepped in on Thursday in an attempt to bring clarity and closure to the issue.

He told the House that, “The suspension of the Right To Information Bill after its passage will not sit well with the public.” And therefore parliament will not be part of such a decision because parliament has already been at the receiving end of criticisms for the delay in the passage of the Bill.

The Speaker ruled on the matter and gave a directive to the leadership of the House to inform the Executive to come clear on the date of commencement for the law by Tuesday, February 5 for parliament to finally pass the bill.

Source: Clement Akoloh || Africanewsradio.com


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