Nana Addo signed the bill on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at the Jubilee House in Accra.

The RTI Bill stayed in Parliament for close to two decades despite calls from the media and civil society groups for its passage.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised during the 2016 election campaign to pass the bill into law when voted to power.

The government has since being under pressure from civil society groups and the media to pass the bill into law after Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, promised in February 2017 that the bill was going to be passed within 100 days. 

Cost if implemented

A report by the Research Department of Parliament in 2017 has estimated that the implementation of the RTI bill into law will cost GH¢750m in five years.

The amount involves the setting up of an RTI Commission, funding for boards, administrative expenses, district administrative expenses, district office facilities and a head office.

The administrative staff cost at the head office in the first year was marked at GH¢651,968.22.

Right to Information (RTI) bill
Right to Information (RTI) bill

For all the districts, the staff cost is pegged at GH¢91 million. These figures reduce year to year from 2018 to 2021.

READ MORE: Implementation of RTI will cost GH¢750m – Report

The RTI bill will create about 323 public sector jobs.

Reactions from Parliament

Some Members of Parliament contented with the passage of the RTI bill into law.

MP for Asokwa, K.T Hammond mounted strong opposition to the passage.

He said the bill will render the country ungovernable.

"It is a recipe for disaster. It is a recipe for bad governance... Ministers can't operate, governments cannot proceed effectively, governance cannot take place meaningfully," he said.

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye urged pressure groups to leave parliament alone to work on the bill.

He said 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 Minority in Parliament also kicked against a proposed transitional provision to delay the implementation.

MP for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Abdulai Fuseini; MP for Wa West, Joseph Yieleh-Chireh, and MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, therefore, asked the House to reject the transitional provision.

Duration of the bill

The bill was first drafted 22 years ago under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA.

The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.

It was subsequently withdrawn to review some clauses.

Since then, efforts by several advocacy groups to put pressure on the duty bearers to have the bill passed have also not yielded any positive results until now.

Nana Addo assents to RTI
Nana Addo assents to RTI

Observers have criticized successive governments for lacking the political will to pass the Bill.

Purpose of RTI

The RTI law will provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by the public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.

The RTI bill was introduced with the sole objective of empowering people, containing corruption, and bringing transparency and accountability in the working of the government. 

READ MORE: Police block journalists from Parliament over RTI bill

Every public authority is obligated to maintain computerised versions of all records in such a way that it can be accessed over a network anywhere in the country and issued to the person who has requested for information.

Every public officer should provide essential information to the public through various channels of information (including internet) at frequent intervals so that the use of the RTI bill to obtain information can be kept to a bare minimum.