Ghana’s parliament has on Tuesday March 26 passed the Right to Information bill pending a presidential assent.
The Bill was passed following the completion of its consideration stage after several policy changes, amendments and months of rigorous debates on the Floor of the House.
The RTI Bill had been in Parliament for close to two decades despite calls from the media and civil society groups for its passage.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised during the 2016 election campaign to pass the Bill if it won power.
The NPP government has since it came into office being under pressure from civil society groups to pass the Bill into law.
RTI bill passage to cost GHc 750 million
The implementation of the RTI in Ghana has been estimated to cost GHc 750 million over five years, according to a report by the Research Department of Parliament in 2017.
The report sighted by OtecNews indicates that the cost will revolve around the setting up of an RTI Commission.
The breakdown of costs included funds for boards, administrative expenses, district administrative expenses, district office facilities and a head office.
For example, the administrative staff cost at the head office in the first year was marked at GHc 651,968.22.
For all the districts, the staff cost is pegged at GHc 91 million. These figures reduce year to year from 2018 to 2021.
The RTI is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the country’s 1992 Constitution and recognized as a right under International Conventions on Human rights.
The bill as it has been drafted is to give substance to Article 21 (1) (f) of the Constitution which states that “All persons shall have the right to information subject to such qualifications and laws as are necessary for a democratic society.”