Executive Secretary of the Right to Information Commission (RTIC), Yaw Sarpong Boateng Esq., has said the RTI Act (Act 989) does not give room for information holders to make profit from the application and request made by individuals.
According to him, applicants must be allowed to pay for only the cost of the reproduction of the information that is being requested for and not any other extra charges. He made this comment on the back of reports indicating that individuals are made to pay more money than what is expected.
“The law does not require us to trade information or make profit out of giving information. What the law requires us to do as holders of information is to have applicants pay for the reproduction of information. What reproduction of information implies is that if you are coming for information which already exists, you pay for the cost of reproducing the information you want to receive.
“So if the information you want is in the form of sheets and is 200 copies, you only pay for the price of the copies, there is no room for profit-making for any agency when it comes to application and request for information,” he said this during a press conference to launch the RTI Week Celebration this year.
With regards to the fees, he said some finalities will be made soon as the Fees and Charges Act 2022 have been approved by Parliament, and awaiting the assent of the President. But he emphasised that the law is very clear and that no one should be made to make profit out of information reproduction.
The Right to lnformation Commission was set up under the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989) with the mandate to Promote, Monitor, Protect and Enforce the Right to Information that is granted to a person under Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution and the provisions of Act, 989.
In 2021, the board of the commission instituted an annual RTI Week Celebration with week-long activities. The celebration, which has been set to coincide with the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) will take place again this year.
This will be the second event for Ghana since the inception of Act 989. The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘Artificial Intelligence, E-Governance, and Access to Information’, which is aimed at encouraging institutions and individuals to appreciate the use of technology to enhance easy access to information all in a bid to press for greater participation of the public in the governance system.
The IDUAI is set for 28th September each year, which is set aside by the United Nations to celebrate access to information across the globe.
The celebration will be commenced with radio and television interviews to educate and enlighten the public on the Right to Information law. A public forum will be held on September 28, 2022 at Alisa Hotel, North Ridge, where invited guests and stakeholders will converge. The week’s activities will afford the commission the opportunity to interact and engage with its stakeholders on how to strengthen the right of access to information.
Among the dignitaries in attendance will be the President of the Republic, Nana Addo- Danquah Akufo-Addo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Minister for Information, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, members of the Diplomatic Corp, Ministers of State, Heads of State Institutions, key State Institutions, Civil Society Groups, among others.