A Bolgatanga-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Teere, 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.
When passed into law, the RTI Bill 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 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 It was subsequently withdrawn to review some clauses.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 2018.
Project Officer of Teere Avea Prosper Avea said the NGO strives to improve the wellbeing of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and the less privileged.
Mr. Avea, however, lamented that the delay in passing the Bill poses a challenge to the NGO in its quest to seek information from Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper East Region on the 3% allocation of the Assemblies Common Fund to PWDs.
He, observed: “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.”
He made this observation on A1 Radio about templates designed by the NGO to help in the management of the disability fund.
Teere, which literally means ‘positive change’, is implementing a one-year project dubbed; ‘Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the disbursement of the 3 percent disability fund’.
The project is funded by the French Embassy, and implemented in partnership with the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) and the Regional Coordinating Council.
The Upper East Regional President of GFD, David Aniah, observed that some misappropriations of the fund on the part of some signatories to the account was a challenge to the beneficiaries.
“Officials of the Social Welfare in the Builsa South District claimed to have purchased a bicycle and paid school fees of our beneficiary. But it was later proven to be false after we conducted thorough investigations,” Mr. Aniah revealed.
He noted that some assemblies procure logistics and livestock as a settlement package for PWDs, a move, he said, is bound out of the naivety of 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.