RTI Law: 2nd deadline for public institutions to submit annual reports elapses today

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Public institutions in Ghana have by close of today, June 7, to submit to the Right to Information (RTI) Commission their written annual reports on their operations since the implementation of the law in January 2020.

This is in accordance with Section 77 of the Right to Information Act, Act 989 which requires that “a public institution shall, within sixty days after the 31st of December each year, submit a written report on the activities of the public institution under this Act during the preceding year to the Commission”.

This is the second deadline given the public institutions by the Commission to ensure they comply, the first having elapsed on May 6, with some institutions failing to submit their reports.

“The commission hereby extends the deadline from 6th of May, 2021 to the 7th of June, 2021. All public institutions are to take advantage of the extension to file these reports in compliance with Act 989”, a statement signed by Executive Secretary to the Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, said

What should the reports contain?

Section 77 of the Right to Information Act, Act 989 requires that “a public institution shall, within sixty days after the 31st of December each year, submit a written report on the activities of the public institution under this Act during the preceding year to the Commission”.

It also requires that the report includes the following:

(a) The number of applications for information during the reporting period [January 2020 to December 2020].

(b) The number of applications approved and the number rejected together with reasons for the rejection.

(c) The number of reviews requested, and the number granted and the number dismissed together with reasons.

(d) The number of applications to the court for judicial review and the results of the reviews, if any.

(e) Such other matters that are worth noting under the Act.

Of what importance are these reports?

The Minister for Information is required by law to lay before Parliament latest June 30 each year an annual report on the activities of the public institutions and the commission in respect of the preceding year based on the annual reports of the public institutions. This is provided for under Section 77 (4).

What happens if a public institution fails to submit its annual report?

Even though the Commission failed to name the exact penalty a public institution risks suffering if it does not comply with the directive to submit its annual report, a careful reading of the Act gives some clues. For instance, Section 82 (1) of the Act provides as follows:

“A failure or neglect by an information officer or other public officer to perform a function authorised by this Act where the occasion arises to perform that function constitutes a gross misconduct”

It is yet unclear how many public institutions have met this deadline. Read more about the Right to Information Law.

By P.D Wedam|3news.com|Ghana

Follow @pdwedam