May 1, 2012

The Coalition of Right to Information, a civil society organisation, on Tuesday called on Parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Right to Information bill.

According to the group, the bill when passed into law the bill would promote good governance and accountability, local economic development and also facilitate access to especially health information.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview immediately after the May Day celebration in Sunyani, Mr. Gabriel Gbiel Benarkuu, Chairman of the coalition, said it was high time the bill was given the needed attention and passed into law.

He emphasised that as spelt out, the bill when passed, would empower ordinary citizens to seek relevant information especially on health and also contribute meaningfully to national development.

According to him, most public officials had strongly kicked against the passage of the bill because of the level of corruption in the public sector.

Mr. Bernakuu observed that since transparency and accountability were the key principles of good governance, the better Ghana agenda would be enhanced if the bill was passed.

He said efforts by successive governments to promote decentralization and to bring governance to the doorsteps of the ordinary Ghanaian had not been achieved because the local people could not access information.

Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu, Secretary of the coalition, said the delay in the passage of the bill negatively affecting efforts to bring under control the high rate of corruption and bribery in the country.

“We believe that corruption can be brought to the barest minimum if the Right to Information bill is passed into law”, he said.

He called on traditional authorities, civil society organisations, religious bodies and the media to join the campaign for the rapid passage of the bill.

Mr. Ahenu noted that since the media had a critical role to play in the free flow of information, it was incumbent on them to ensure that all barriers to the passage of the bill were removed.

He emphasised that when passed, the bill would also help increase productivity and consequently boost the middle income status of the country.