Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has given the strongest indication yet that parliament will pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into an Act by close of 2018.
Professor Oquaye disclosed this at a media engagement with some selected journalists in Accra on Monday, November 12.
According to the Speaker, Parliament is focused on passing the Bill; hence, it will do all it can for the Bill to be passed before the year ends.
“The Right to Information Bill will be a thing of the past by end of this year. I can assure you, it will be done,” he stressed.
“The budget will come, we will deal with the budget, and at the same time RTI will be a thing of the past by the end of this year,” Professor Mike Oquaye assured.
There have been many concerns raised about the failure on the part of successive Parliaments to pass the RTI bill into law to allow citizens, most importantly, journalists get access to information regarding state issues.
The RTI Bill has been before Parliament for over a decade, with all attempts to get the Bill passed failing.
Journalists across the country have been at the forefront of crusade to getting the RTI enacted, as it is very crucial to their work as people who serve as a link between government and the masses.
Pushing this agenda under an umbrella body, ‘Media Coalition on RTI’, the group has written several petitions and embarked on demonstrations to register their disappointment in Parliament for not passing the Bill.
On October, 30, 2018, the Coalition stormed the premises of Parliament to get the legislators to place premium on ratifying the Bill, but they were prevented from entering the main chamber for wearing branded T-Shirts.
Despite their inability to get through to the legislature, the Media Coalition on RTI still remains adamant, and has promised to use all available legitimate means to get the Bill passed.
With the latest assurance from the Speaker of Parliament, perhaps the Coalition can heave a sigh of relief, with the hope that true to the Speaker’s words, the RTI Bill will be passed before 2019.
By Irene Amesimeku| 3news.com| Ghana