“Proactive disclosure promotes transparency, accountability & good governance”

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…Foreign Affairs Minister

December 10, 2018

By Regina Pratt

proactive
Dr. Alie Kabbah – Foreign Affairs Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Alie Kabbah, has said that proactive disclosure of information held by public officers would promote transparency, accountability and good governance in Sierra Leone.

He was speaking Thursday, December 6, during a seminar hosted at the Miatta Conference Hall by Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) in collaboration with Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation project in the Ministry of Finance on the theme “Proactive Disclosure for Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance.”

Dr. Kabbah averred that voluntary disclosure of information and transparency would help preserve the interest of citizens and improve performance in the public sector.

 “Global access to information is a right guaranteed by law. Every person has right to access information held by or under the control of a public authority,” he said, noting that citizens holding the government to account would be good for democracy.

The foreign affairs minister noted that in order to enhance the provision of information to interested parties or citizens, it would be vital to enact a Records Management Act that would clearly spell out procedures on how to access information.

Also, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru stated in his keynote address on behalf of the Vice President that all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) should make information available through the establishment of websites, for ease of access by the public.

He said the government was committed to upholding the fundamental freedom of expression as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1991 Constitution and the Right to Access information Act of 2013.

“Today marks five years since this Act was passed into law. I am pleased to nurture and kick start to comply components of the law which includes the proactive disclosure of information and mediate support for the development of publication schemes for 10 pilot MDAs,” he said.

Jamiru further stated that he was pleased to have launched the proactive disclosure component of the law to all public authorities, as stipulated in Part 2 Section 18 (1) of the Right to Access Information Commission Act.

Project Implementation Specialist in the Ministry of Finance, Amos Lansana, said proactive disclosures entails an environment where information is routinely disseminated and protected by handlers.

Executive Director of Society for Democratic Initiative, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, stated that for the past ten years they have been advocating for Freedom of Information.

“Public officials are custodians of information and the people are the owners of the information. It is not the business of the public to call on your office for certain information .They should just go through the websites to access information of their interest,” he said

He promised that SDI would train officials to monitor how public institutions go about providing information requested by certain sections of the society.