Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says over 1,000 requests have been placed using the Right to Information (RTI) law in the last three years.
According to him, since 2020 there has been an increase in the number of people who have invoked the law to access information.
The law started came into force in 2020, and according to the Information Minister, “…23 requests came through, the number went up in the second year after the reconciliation, to about 247 requests which is a very huge jump. By the third year, 2022, we received 783 requests across the various information units in the public institutions of our country. Cumulatively, we have crossed over 1,000 RTI requests so far,” he said.
Speaking at a press briefing on the Right to Information law, he explained that over the years more people have had their request for information granted.
“In terms of the numbers that have been approved or granted, initially about 16, then about 159, in the following year, and then 663 by the third year.
“Again, you begin to notice that there are a lot more grants that are going on up there, and there have also been transfers,” he added.
The Information Minister added that the law has made provision for applicants to apply for a review if their request for information is not granted.
Touching on the process, he said “the application must go first to the information officer, if you are not satisfied with the determination of the information officer, you need to first apply for review from the head of the institution. That is why we often discourage the information from going directly to the head of the institution because the head of the institution will respond to an appeal that has been brought to him by the information officer. If you are not satisfied then you make an application for review at the regulator, the RTI Commission.”
He stressed that after an individual has used all the processes and is still not pleased with the outcome, then they can proceed to court.
“So the court is not a forum of first instance, now that this act is in force,” Mr Nkrumah added.
The Right to Information Act, 2019 (ACT 989) was passed by the Parliament of Ghana in 2019, to allow for transparency and accountability by enabling people to access information on central and local governments as well as non-governmental organisations, which are publicly funded.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.