Ablakwa: Right To Information Bill Will Not Be Rushed

The deputy Information Minister, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, says although government is expediting action on the Right to Information Bill, it would not rush its implementation. Even though Mr Ablakwa would not put definite time-lines to the passage of the bill into law, he maintains Ghanaians could expect it within the first term of the NDC�s tenure of office, consistent with the party�s manifesto promise. �It would not serve anybody�s interest if we just rush it through and then we even put an implementation time-line to it that [although] we have passed it we have to put some structures in place so that we may probably start implementing it [later],� Mr Ablakwa told Joy Fm. ��by the end of our first term in office we are still having that time frame in mind but we are working assiduously to even beat that time frame so that if it can come earlier, we will be excited about it.� Action on the Right to Information Bill was cited as part of the triggers Ghana was required to pursue to fully benefit from its 2009 budgetary support from the World Bank. The bill was taken to Cabinet in June this year and was subsequently referred to the parliamentary sub-committee on governance for advice and recommendations. The right to information bill will recognize the legal entitlement of all persons to seek and obtain information in the custody of government institutions. �And while it is a right to seek information, government has a duty to enable you access this information and also proactively provide this information to [the] public even without request,� Florence Nakazibwe, a coordinator for the Right to Information Bill said. The Kufuor administration failed to pass the bill into law because of certain resource constraints, as suggested by some ex-government officials. There are however suggestions that rolling out the bill could amount to government shooting itself in the feet. But responding to the issues, Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission, Mr. George Sarpong said passing the bill must be in the interest of any government. �Indeed government stands to gain a lot because it could reduce a lot of the speculation government is put through,� Mr. Sarpong said. He said the passage of the bill into law has been delayed because of what he referred to as �the fear of the unknown.� The Media Commission boss said government must indeed work hard to ensure that the law comes into being to facilitate information flow in the country.