Business executives have been urged to see the recent passage of the Right to Information Act in Ghana as an opportunity to further embrace the culture of integrity in their operations as well as in the wider economic system. The call was made by a panel of experts from the public sector, civil society and the private sector who took part in the Alliance for Integrity Dialogue on “The Right to Information Act: Implications for the Private Sector”.
Welcoming the participants, Christian Widmann, Coordinator of the Sustainable Economic Development Cluster of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, highlighted the essence of information for transparency stating that “unfettered access to relevant information can only help increase the pace of economic development, whilst ensuring transparency”.
Speakers and panellists called on the private sector to ensure integrity in their operations as the country took steps for greater transparency through the passage of the law. They agreed that information created by private businesses may be accessed where such information relates to the performance of a public function and is submitted to or in the possession or custody of the public institution, even in the absence of follow-up regulations to be passed under the Act to determine aspects that will apply to the private sector; hence, the need for the private sector to be abreast with the full implications of the Act. They also entreated the private sector to develop integrity tools and follow good corporate governance principles in their businesses and in their dealings with third parties in order to avoid sanctions.
The event was organised by Alliance for Integrity and was supported by Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Parliamentary Network Africa and Private Enterprise Federation. It followed the passage of the RTI bill into law in Ghana after several attempts dating back to two decades ago. The recent successful attempt was characterised by a series of advocacy by various organisations including the Alliance for Integrity which also submitted a memorandum on the bill upon the invitation of the Joint Committees of Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and Communication of the Parliament of Ghana last year.
Other speakers/panellists for the dialogue included Beauty E. Narteh, Executive Secretary, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition; Clara B. Kasser Tee, Managing Partner, Kasser Law Firm; Nana Osei Bonsu, CEO, Private Enterprise Federation; Rhoda E. Appiah, Director, Corporate Affairs and Facility Management, Public Procurement Authority, Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and Mark Badu-Aboagye, CEO, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Advisory Group Ghana Vice Chair, Alliance for Integrity.