THE Western Regional Chapter of the Right to Information Coalition has urged the government to take steps to pass the Right to Information Bill (RIB) as a pre-requisite for good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
According to the chapter, it had, since 2003, been at the forefront of the campaign for the enactment of the Right to Information Law.
It, therefore, called on the good people of Ghana to add their voices to the clarion call by urging Members of Parliament (MPs) to urge the Executive to lay the bill on the floor of Parliament without further delay.
Speaking at a press conference in Takoradi, a spokesperson for the chapter, Mr Nathaniel Mensah, noted that the passage of the RIB had become more critical now with technological advancement which had made information dissemination faster and more efficient and at lower cost.
“It is in the light of this that the coalition wishes to bring to the notice of MPs to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to urge the President and Cabinet to submit the RIB to Parliament without further delay for its passage into law,” he explained.
He said the longer the passage of the bill delayed, the more it bred suspicion, mistrust and unsubstantiated rumours among the citizenry.
Mr Mensah said transparency, mutual respect, open and constructive dialogue should be upheld as the hallmark of the country’s democracy.
He said the Right to Information Law would make it possible for majority of Ghanaians to have access to public information and demand accountability from their leaders and institutions without adopting apathetic attitudes towards governance.
He called on the President to take due consideration of the proposals the coalition had made and assure Ghanaians of his government’s commitment to put in place a substantial legal framework that would facilitate full enjoyment of the fundamental right to information.
The spokesperson said in the absence of effective and transparent monitoring mechanisms by which the people would be empowered to participate in governance and development processes through access to information, the potential benefits of the oil find in the region would still meet similar challenges.
“Ghanaians, especially residents of the Western Region, have become keen on accessing information on the oil sector, its resource allocation, management, development, distribution, environmental challenges and its effects on the ocean,” he pointed out.
He added that adequate responses to those issues could be secured with a right to information law in place.