Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed that 285 public institutions have complied with the requirements of the Right to Information Act (RTI) 2019 (ACT 989) in the first year of its implementation. artwork.
He said that out of this number, 219 public institutions have submitted their annual reports on RTI activities within their respective institutions.
In addition, an analysis of these reports revealed that 85 requests for information were received and processed in 32 public institutions. In addition, 72 requests were accepted while others were deferred, transferred, referred or refused in accordance with the law.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah made this observation when he briefed the Chamber on the implementation of the RTI Law by public institutions for the period from January to December 2020, and the report of the RTI Commission thereon.
The RTI Act provides for the constitutional right to information held by a public institution, subject to the necessary exceptions and compatible with the protection of the public interest in a democratic society.
The law aims to strengthen democracy, open governance and sustainable development. The RTI law was adopted by Parliament and sanctioned by the President on May 21, 2019.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said Article 86 of the law provides for the start of the implementation of RTI in public institutions by January 2020.
“I am happy to inform this august Assembly that during the first 12 months following the entry into force of this law, significant progress has been made in the implementation of the law by public institutions”, a- he added.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also explained that following the adoption of the law, the Ministry of Information was responsible for ensuring that public institutions are properly prepared to satisfactorily fulfill their obligations in under the law. He then led the process of planning and implementing a roadmap.
This was done in consultation with key stakeholders, including the Select Parliamentary Committee on Communications, the RTI Coalition, the Data Protection Commission, UNESCO Ghana and heads of civil and local public services.
He said stakeholders have guided the formation and development of appropriate and standardized systems and an implementation framework of the RTI law aimed at preventing violations and ensuring uninterrupted operationalization.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also said that the Access to Information Division (ATI) was established and put into operation within the Information Services Department on July 17, 2020.
The Division trains and deploys RTI agents in MDAs to respond to access to information requests from respective MDAs and provides downstream support to RTI agents in their day-to-day activities.
He is also responsible for carrying out all of the Minister’s other obligations under the RTI Act.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also explained that at the beginning of 2020, 539 public institutions comprising 263 ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) and 260 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDA) and 16 regional coordination councils were entered in the ministry’s database as institutions necessary for the implementation of the RTI law in the country.
He said that as part of the transitional arrangements, a dossier including the law, standard operating procedures and application forms has been distributed to all line ministries, local governments and independent public institutions.
These documents were documentary resources modeled on Articles 5-19 and 23-25 of Law 989 and designed to help public institutions implement the law gradually from early 2020 until the systems and internal processing structures are fully established. .
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah revealed that between January and December 2020, a total of 478 information units were set up in the 539 institutions in accordance with article 3 (3) (b) of the law.
He said a total of 1,055 public service workers have been hired to play various roles in the implementation of the RTI law. This included 478 designated RTI officers, 478 case officers and 99 recruited information officers who were trained and provided with the necessary resources to facilitate the processing of requests received by the institution.
In accordance with Article 3 (1) of the RTI Law, each public institution is required to compile and publish an information manual to document the nature and scope of information that a candidate can access within that institution.