President Nana Akufo-Addo
The signing ceremony took place at the Jubilee House, the seat of Government in Accra.
He had earlier made the announcement about his readiness to sign the Bill today via a tweet, saying “later this morning, I will be giving the constitutionally required assent to the Right To Information Bill passed by Parliament, after 17 years of its introduction.”
In his remarks, before giving assent to the Act, President Akufo-Addo expressed his satisfaction that the passing of the Act came into effect during his time as President, and in the time of the 7th Parliament.
“I want to congratulate the 7th Parliament for its courage, sense of responsibility and commitment to good governance in passing this significant piece of legislation,” the President added.
“I am very happy that this law has finally been passed, and I did make the commitment that, when it was brought to me, I would give my assent to it right away. It was, in fact, brought to me yesterday afternoon,” the President said.
He continued, “But, on second thought, I felt that I should sign it in the plain view of the Ghanaian people, for you to know that this long-winding parliamentary process has finally come to an end.”
The bill was passed by Parliament on March 26, 2019. The law is expected to take effect from January 2021.
Prior to its passage, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had announced on Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Accra that the bill was going to be passed this.
There were doubts about Government’s commitment to passing the bill after several years of similar promises not being honored.
The first RTI bill was drafted by the executive arm of Government in 2002. The draft executive bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
After the review, it was never laid before parliament until February 5, 2010.
On Friday, March 22, 2019, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye halted the third reading of the RTI Bill.
The third reading of the RTI Bill had been advertised on the Order Paper for that day’s business of the House, but the speaker asked that it should be deferred since there had been further proposals and amendments by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to certain aspects of the bill, which when passed, will not serve the best interest of the ordinary Ghanaians.
The object of the RTI law is to provide for the operationalisation of the constitutional right to information held by public and some private institutions, subject to exemptions that are necessary and consistent with the protection of public interest in a democratic society.
It also seeks to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and provide for related matters.