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The Right to Information office of the Information Service Department of Berekum West District Assembly has educated and sensitized the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) members within the district. The program was done on Wednesday, 22nd February 2023 at the District Assembly Conference Hall when the association was having its annual conference to elect new leaders for the 2022/2023 administration. When members present were asked about the law prior to the presentation by the District Information Officer, it was surprising to note that, about ninety percent (90%) of the members did not know what the Right to Information Act was about even though they had heard about it.

The District Chief Executive of Berekum West District, Hon. Dominic Oppong who opened the conference welcomed all the members present and appreciated them for their services to the district and Mother Ghana at large. He emphasized the need for them to be humbled and hardworking in their respective institutions as it is the surest way for them to learn about the job and be recommended for vacancies as and when they come after their mandatory one-year service. The DCE also admonished them to elect competent leaders who would prioritize their welfare over personal interests. In motivating the incoming leaders of the association to be circumspect in how they utilize the power entrusted to them, Hon. Dominic Oppong recounted how he started his political career as an Assembly Member for the district before rising to become a party constituency executive and finally to his new role and the lessons learnt in them. He concluded his speech by assuring and encouraging them of his continuous support to the association as well as his readiness to give access to information upon their request through the Right to Information Act.

The Right to Information Officer of the Assembly facilitated the education and sensitization on Right to Information Law. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2019 (Act 989) mandates every public and relevant private institutions to give access to information to the general public as their right under article 21 paragraph (f) of clause (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The information officer gave a background to the law, clarification of it and its importance.

“The act 989 was passed by parliament and assented to by the president on 21st May, 2019 which guarantees the General Public access to information from public institutions and relevant private bodies in order to promote a culture of transparency and accountability.” – He said. This educational program afforded the National Services Persons the opportunity to know the classes of information that are exempted from public disclosure and how they can request for information. Members were also given the opportunity to ask questions on the presentation by the Information Officer.  The Information Officer also disclosed that, the Information Service Department will be conducting such educational and sensitization program in various secondary and tertiary schools within the district. The Jinijini Senior High School will be the next destination for the program.

Gideon Kwarfo

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