Fatimatu Abubakar

The Minister for Information has outlined several significant challenges faced in 2023 during the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2019.

Presenting a statement to Parliament on the 2023 implementation of the Right to Information Right (RTI) Act 2019 on Friday, she stressed the need for increased financial resources and cooperation from public institutions to ensure the effective functioning of the RTI architecture.

Fatimatu Abubakar identified five primary challenges; inadequate financial resources, logistical constraints, attrition among RTI officers, limited cooperation from public institutions, and bureaucratic practices impeding the timely response to information requests.

According to her, the lack of adequate financial resources to undertake activities that ensure the effective functioning of the supply side of the RTI architecture, including quality assurance, has been a major obstacle.”

She said, “Logistical constraints, particularly unreliable internet infrastructure, have also hindered the work of Information officers, especially in the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).”

The Minister also underscored attrition among RTI officers and stressed a notable number of resignations during the year.

“The reasons cited by the exited officers included traveling for further studies and job opportunities. This has reduced the number of RTI officers across various public institutions, making it difficult for the Division to provide back-end support to institutions,” she explained.

The Ministry, she said, also experienced challenges in getting some public institutions to comply with certain aspects of the law. According to her, some heads of public institutions still sign off responses to RTI requests contrary to Section 19 of the RTI Act, 2019.

She added that bureaucratic practices within public institutions have impeded the turnaround time for responses to information requests, further complicating the implementation process.

Fatimatu Abubakar called for increased budgetary allocations for both the RTI Commission and the ATI Division of the ISD to address the situation.
According to her, in the ensuing years, the budgetary allocations for the RTI Commission and the ATI Division must be shored up to enable them to function effectively.
Financial clearance needs to be provided as a matter of urgency to enable the RTI Commission to complete the recruitment of its full complement of staff to resource its regional offices in Kumasi, Sunyani, and Bolgatanga.”

“Similarly, the ATI Division must replace exited officers and populate the outstanding 333 public institutions with information officers to ensure full compliance with the Act,” she stated.

She affirmed that the successful implementation of the RTI Act is crucial for promoting transparency and accountability in Ghana and stressed the need to overcome these challenges to ensure every citizen can exercise their right to information.

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