NGO Calls for Passage of RTI Bill

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Teere, a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has joined the campaign for the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.

The delay in passing the bill into law according to the NGO is hampering the fight against corruption in the country.

He made this observation in an exclusive interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) about templates the NGO designed to help in the management of the three percent of the Assembly common fund allocated to PWDs.

The RTI Bill, when fully implemented is expected to enable the media and Ghanaians have easy access to information to aid in the fight against corruption.

The Bill was first drafted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the draft Executive Bill reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never put before parliament until February 5, 2010. It was subsequently withdrawn to review some clauses.

Several efforts to have it passed proved futile until it was again laid before parliament in March this year.

Project Officer of Teere, Mr Prosper Avea said the NGO strived to improve the wellbeing of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and the less privileged.

Mr Avea however lamented that the delay in passing the Bill posed a challenge to the NGO in its quest to seek information from Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper East Region on the 3 per cent allocation of the Assemblies Common Fund to PWDs.

“Some of the Assembly authorities are sometimes not willing to provide us with information regarding the disbursement of the money and this challenge is attributed to the yet to be passed Right to Information Bill” Mr Avea observed.

Teere which significantly means ‘positive change’ is implementing a year’s project dubbed “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the disbursement of the three percent disability fund” and is funded by the French Embassy and implemented in partnership with the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) and the Regional Coordinating Council.

Upper East Regional President of GFD, Mr David Aniah observed that there were some misappropriations of the fund by some signatories to the account and said the practice was a challenge to beneficiaries.

“Officials of the Social Welfare in the Builsa South district claimed to have purchased a bicycle and paid school fees for our beneficiary. But it was later proven to be false after we conducted thorough investigation” Mr Aniah revealed.

Mr Aniah noted that some assemblies do procure logistics and livestock as a settlement package for PWDs, a move he said is borne out of unwillingness from the beneficiaries.

“How can you buy a goat for someone who can’t walk or is visually impaired? This rather puts a burden on the beneficiary instead of supposedly offering them support” Mr. Aniah bemoaned.

Source: GNA

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