The Right to Information (RTI) Secretariat was commissioned on Friday, to provide backend support to the designated RTI Officers and Assistant Officers at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the public sector to fully operationalise the RTI Act.
The RTI Secretariat is a Division of the Information Services Department (ISD), which would help the MDAs to process information requested by the citizens.
A Divisional Head is expected to be appointed soon to manage the daily administrative activities of the Secretariat.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who cut the tape to officially open the Secretariat in Accra, implored the ISD staff who would be working at the office to be professional in their dealings to ensure timely release of information to applicants.
“You’re to provide the information as it is required and not hide it, and should be dedicated to the tenets of the law to ensure that the rights given to citizens by the Constitution are upheld”, Mr Oppong Nkrumah stressed.
The Minister said the first batch of Assistant RTI officers were recruited to support the designated RTI officers at the various MDAs to process requests made by individuals and organizations.
The RTI Bill was passed on March 26, 2019 by Parliament and the President subsequently assented it into law on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
The Act provides for the implementation of the constitutional right to information held by any public institution and to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs.
The law is a critical tool in the fight against corruption in the country.
Mrs Mamle Andrews, the Chief Director at the Ministry of Information, in her welcome address, said the Secretariat would help in monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the activities of the RTI law across the public sector.
The effective rollout of the law, she said, would help the government in policy formulation and decision-making.
The Information Ministry was tasked by the government last year to assist in putting up the requisite infrastructure towards the full operationalisation of the Act within a year of the passage of the law.
Information Minister Oppong Nkrumah, his Deputy Pius Enam Hadzide and members of the RTI Implementation Committee toured the facility.
The fully air-conditioned Secretariat has furniture, computers, a Server and a Free Conference equipment for organizing virtual meetings.