There were 247 information requests in 2021 on public institutions in Ghana. The figure represents a 974 percentage increase from the 23 requests made in 2020.

This indicates an increasing interest in the use of the Right to Information Law by members of the public to access information and hold public institutions accountable for their work.

This came to light at the induction and workshop in Kumasi on the Right to Information Act, 2019, Act 989, for designated Right to Information Officers at the 16 regional offices of the Lands Commission in the country.

The Right to Information ACT, 989 was passed by Parliament and assented to by the president on 21st May, 2019.

The Act guarantees the General Public access to Information from public institutions and relevant private bodies. Access to information is a right under Article 21 paragraph (f) clause (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The main goal of the law is the promotion of transparency and accountability in governance.

At an induction ceremony in Kumasi, for Right to Information Officers at the 16 regional offices of the Lands Commission , the Executive Secretary of the RTI Commission, Yaw Sarpong Boateng, charged RTI Officers to be committed to working hard toward smooth implementation of the RTI law.

‘’There are still institutions that are averse to proactive disclosure of information and release of information to applicant. I end by reiterating,  that the objective of the RTI ACT is to help build culture of transparency and accountability in public affairs and provide for such related matters. I therefore, entreat all of you participants to query in your duties to under the ACT to access whether in all you do, you aim at promoting transparency and helping public institutions to remain accountable to the people that is my charge to all of you. You have the duty to keep the country accountable and transparent. So anything you do, that seeks to hide non-exempt information from the public you are,  working against the real spirit of the law that has been passed’.

The Head of Human Resource at the Lands Commission, Evans Mamphey, gave assurance of the readiness of the Commission to discharge its responsibilities in accordance with the RTI law.

The Head of Access to Information, Ministry of Information, Dr. Nafisah Mahama, entreated concerned public and private institutions to keep proper records in order to readily respond to lawful requests from members of the public.

“As long as access to information is acknowledged as a right, every effort must be made to promote and enforce the implementation of the ACT in all public institutions. These efforts must focus on educating everyone, particularly, public officials who are responsible for facilitating access to information.

That’s why Lands Commission sees it as very important to you as focal persons put  together, trained  and prepared to be able to be the face of Lands Commission when it comes to information access at the regional levels.

Also, proactive disclosure of information requires good and proper record management systems. Many public institutions continues to struggle with proper records management.

Poor record management may drastically impede access to information whiles also making its retrieval difficult. 
To this end the task of the RTI Officer becomes easier ones management of such institutions recognizes the importance of the responsibility of the ACT places on officer in respect of access to information.”

Mr. Yaw Sarpong Boateng led the participants to swear the official oath.