Gov’t Unveils RTI Roadmap
The government has unveiled a roadmap towards the implementation of the Right to Information bill, (RTI) which is expected to be passed into law this week.
At a press briefing in Accra yesterday the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the roadmap includes establishing information offices in all government offices that need to have one.
The 7th Parliament of the 4th republic has in good time completed the consideration stage of the RTI bill after several policy changes and amendments and months of rigorous debates on the floor of the house.
“Even currently there are further new petitions asking for further amendments to provisions of the bill,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.
However, Parliament is minded to pass the bill into law this week, and send it for Presidential assent soon thereafter.
The bill in its current form requires the establishment of Information Units in all public offices, recruitment and training of information officers to man these units, the establishment of the RTI commission and the completion of various administrative protocols before the commencement of the next fiscal year.
According to the Information Minister, these are necessary to ensure that there will indeed be the infrastructure that can deliver on the RTI requests filed under this new law.
The new law will be a major addition to the credential of Ghana as a strong democracy and President Akufo-Addo who for many years has championed the cause of enhancing the frontiers of human rights, Mr Oppong Nkrumah stressed.
He said government through the Ministry of Information, which will be the implementing ministry, has already commenced engagements in preparation of a roadmap for implementation.
“We ask all who have followed the entire process to join in heralding the final passage and to cooperate with us in its implementation,” he added
Meanwhile, the government has offered to pay for the treatment costs of the injured persons in the recent road accident that claimed over 60 lives on Friday.
According to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister for Information, the government has undertaken to underwrite the treatment costs of the all the injured in the carnage.
He said the government reiterates its commiserations to victims and families affected by the incident.
On Friday, over 90 people died in two separate accidents on the Kintampo Atebubu and Cape Coast roads.
The Kintampo-Techiman crash was caused by a head-on collision by two buses on the road leaving 57 passengers dead.
Fifity-five died on the spot while the other two died in hospitals where they had been sent for treatment.
The Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi Constituency recalled that the President Nana Akufo-Addo speaking within hours of the incident on Friday morning, sympathised with the families and challenged the Police council which is seized with the power to regulate road traffic, to speedily implement the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee set up last year to propose ways to deal with carnage on our roads.
He said reducing road accidents in the country is a major priority for government, the reason why agencies like the National Road Safety Commission and the Police MTTD continue to receive support from central government to address road safety issues and also to tackle the major factors that contribute to road accidents in the country.
“Government is also reviewing the road traffic regulations to address some implementation challenges as well as incorporate innovations in the management of road transport services” he stated adding that “We must also scale up road safety education and sensitization to ensure compliance to road safety measures, procedures, and policies.
Beyond the issues of road accidents, Oppong Nkrumah said the government through the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has begun a campaign to encourage supermarkets and foreign retail shops in the country to promote locally produced goods dubbed “Made in Ghana Display”.
The FDA the Information minister said has commenced engagements with major supermarkets and retail outlets to allocate specific sections in their supermarkets and shops for Made in Ghana products.
This, the Ofoase-Ayirebi Constituency MP insisted is aimed at enhancing easy access to local products even in these shops and adding to efforts to deepen markets for made in Ghana products.
In response some of these shops have already begun dedicating prime shelves to Ghanaian manufactured products Oppong Nkrumah said.
He said that while at this, the FDA is also poised to expedite the registration of locally manufactured products to meet International standards noting that the move will facilitate easy admission into global retail outlets both here and abroad.
“It is worth noting at this point that, the food industry contributes hugely to the local economy and the efforts of the FDA to bring this industry to international standards and create more shelf space for it in our local supermarkets cannot be overemphasized.”
The minister urged the local manufacturing companies and start-ups to take advantage of this and register their products so they can equally compete on the market.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson