The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has rejected a provision in the Right To Information Bill, that allows the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to regulate access to information.
The committee wants the ministerial oversight responsibility reposed in an independent commission, which it argues will help ensure transparency and accountability in governance.
The Right To Information Bill has been in Parliament since 2010 and yet to be passed into law.
The house has began discussions on it once again.
Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, K.T. Hammond, urged the house to tread cautiously in passing the bill into law, adding it took decades for developed countries to establish the infrastructure and legal framework required for such laws.
He acknowledged the importance in the frontiers of government being opened up, but added that could also have serious national security threats.
“A country democratic as it may be, can never be that open. Even the democracies like America and the US, has a space for certain documents to be kept away from the public”.
The Constitutional and Legal Committee which worked on the report kicked against the Minister of Justice as the regulator in accessing information and rather proposed that an independent committee takes charge but K.T Hammond disagreed with the committee.
NDC Member of Parliament for Bawku and Minister for Science and Environment, Mahama Ayariga, said Ghanaians have had to go through frustrations in accessing information and believed this was the time for the house to pass the bill into law.
“This country has been cautious enough and it is time for us to courageously move forward when it comes to the pass sage of the right to information legislation and that is for two very reasons Mr. Speaker; One is the fact that to pursue good governance which underpins our constitution we need an open and transparent system and that is not in doubt. And I don’t think that the pursuit of the establishment of an open and transparent system in anyway endangers the national security of any country” he noted.