Speaker wants action on RTI bill report expedited and submitted to Parliament

Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye has tasked the committee working on the Right to Information Bill (RTI) to expedite action on its report and present same before the House for consideration. The RTI, which was sent to parliament under a certificate of urgency during the last meeting of parliament, was withdrawn and re-laid to be taken through the normal parliamentary procedure. READ: Parliament withdraws RTI bill again for ‘not being urgent in nature’ While on recess, the joint committees on Communication and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs have been working on the over decade old bill which has been moving in and out of parliament over the years. A stakeholder’s forum was held during the period at which complaints about too many exemptions were deliberated upon. Addressing Members of Parliament Tuesday on the first day of resumption from their break, the Speaker asked the joint committee to make available to the House, its report for the MPs to discuss same for consideration. “I will appeal to the joint committees on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary affairs who have already done a great deal of work during the recess on the Right to Information Bill 2018 to make a report as quickly as possible in order for us to deliberate thereon,”  Prof.  Ocquaye  said. He urged the MPs to desist from leaking information tabled before the House that have not been discussed to the media. This was after the majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had raised concerns about the practice. [caption id="attachment_54445" align="aligncenter" width="564"] The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu[/caption] “Even though this is a forum for debate, we do them outside, that really develops some turbulence. Mr Speaker, if we have to walk together as a collective, we must be very consultative and share information and not take anything from this House outside to the media; it doesn’t help,” Mr. Kye-Mensah-Bonsu said. In affirmation, Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak promised his side would cooperate with the majority side of the House. Presenting the business statement for the week, the majority leader said the commission of inquiry on the creation of new regions would brief members from the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Volta and Western regions on May 18, regarding their activities which had been brought to an end. Papers on agreements between Ghana and four other countries on double taxation were presented to the house by the Finance Ministry. But ranking member of the finance committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, had concerns and questioned what Ghana stand to gain from the agreements. “What is the motivation, why we are rushing to come to parliament to get approvals for four different double tax agreements?” he quizzed while demanding an explanation. “We want them to give us the fiscal cost to the state, we want them to give us evidence that Ghanaian businesses are also going to benefit from those countries”

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By Evelyn Tengmaa|3news.com|Ghana]]>