Right to Information Bill RTI Bill not Mahama's priority - Minority

President Mahama while speaking at UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication talks in France said the passage of the RTI Bill has suffered some setbacks because of lack of consensus.

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The Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Joe Osei Owusu, has said government’ decision not to prioritise the Right to Information Bill has attributed to the delay in its passage.

President Mahama while speaking at UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication talks in France said the passage of the RTI Bill has suffered some setbacks because of lack of consensus.

READ ALSO: RTI Passage Right to Information Bill has suffered setbacks - Mahama

The president said the Bill “has been at the committee level, the committee decided to go around the country and consult on the Freedom of Information bill. Some say it is too liberal; some say it is too tight, and it should be made more liberal and so Parliament is still working on it. It was submitted to Parliament in the term of the last president, and it has continued in my term, and I believe that it is something that we should complete and make available so that people will have a legal basis for demanding information if there is a reluctance to give the information to them.”

But Osei-Owusu, who is also the Member of Parliament for the Bekwai constituency, said Mahama’s comments are only hypocritical.

“When the president says he is frustrated, I know the president also knows that anytime the executive considers something a priority, it gets done so if it were their priority, it would have been done,” he said on Accra-based Citi FM.

He said “after this Bill, much more voluminous bills have been passed. It came, they did it day by day till late; new income tax amendment bill, new taxing Bill, they were all done, when a government places a priority on it, it gets done. He [President Mahama] knows that the people who determine the business of the house are people on his side so if he truly is frustrated he knows who to talk to.”

The Right to Information Coalition on Monday expressed disappointment in government for failing to ensure the passage of the Bill.

READ ALSO: Right to Information Bill Mahama not committed to passage of legislation - Coalition

According to the Coalition, “President Mahama has not demonstrated a strong commitment to the passage of the RTI Bill, despite his party’s promises in their 2008 and 2012 manifestos.”

Parliament began the consideration of the Bill which has been before the House since 2013.

The general public will have legal access to information such as government documents, data, reports, and so on, once the bill is passed.

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