With just eight days for parliamentarians to rise for the Christmas break, the Media Coalition on the Right to Information (RTI) is pushing hard for parliament to pass the bill that has dragged for over a decade.
The pressure group, which is made up of journalists and media practitioners, is calling on the House to ensure that the bill which usually stirs controversy anytime it comes up for consideration, is passed before the end of the year.
Parliament has in the last few weeks been giving assurances of passing the bill by the end of 2018 but it emerged Monday that it will not be possible for the House to pass it in 2018.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday said his checks at Parliament has revealed there were still a lot of work to be done on the bill which is currently at the consideration stage in Parliament.
“I just asked the right honourable first deputy speaker where we are because we keep asking for updates and he tells me they have considered about half of the amendments to the bill so far…it looks like all things being equal, early in the next session of parliament, he tells me, this bill that has been sought after for the last 20 years, by the grace of God and with your effort, we should see it passed,” he said.
But the Coalition appears unconvinced and expressed regrets that the bill has been neglected by the MPs after the presentation of the 2019 budget statement to the House.“The Coalition has observed with regret that ever since the Finance Minister presented the 2019 budget statement to the House on November 15, 2018, RTI bill has never come up for consideration.
“This means that after the budget, Parliament sat for eleven (11) days without considering the RTI Bill,” the Coalition observed in a statement on Monday, December 10, 2018.
The Coalition and some other Civil Society Organisations are therefore calling on Parliament to pass the Bill before rising on December 22.
It said although some Members of Parliament have given assurances that the RTI bill will be passed before the year ends, there is little being done by Parliament to get the bill passed.
The Coalition is calling on Members of Parliament to ensure that the bill is passed to avoid doubts about their commitment towards passing the bill, it said
“It is the candid opinion of the Media Coalition that any attempt to delay the passage of the bill before the end of this year will be unfortunate and Parliament would be seen as treating the concerns of Ghanaians with contempt,” it added.
When passed into law, the bill will grant Ghanaians access to official information held by public institutions and private institutions which performs public functions with public fund
By Irene Amesimeku|3news.com| Ghana