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PFMICP in Collaboration with Right to Access Information Sensitize Ngos, Mdas and Media on Right to Access Act 2013

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Mofed Admin

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 14:07
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The Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project in collaboration with the Right to Access Information Commission( RAIC), have ended a three days stakeholder consultation on the Right to Access Information Act, 2013. The program  which started on the 7th February and ended on Friday 9th February 2013, at Santanno House in Freetown, targeted Non- Governmental organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and media Institutions.


The program was sponsored by the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project through funds donated by Donor Partners such as World Bank and Africa Development Bank.

It should be noted that the Right to Access Act enacted by the Sierra Leone parliament in October 2013 provides for the disclosure of information held by Public Authorities or by persons providing services for them and provides for other related matters.

Every person has the right to access information held by or is under the control of a public authority.

The RAIC draws its legal status from the RAI Act, 2013 which states that:

·       In the performance of its functions under the RAI Act, the Commission has all the powers of the High Court.

·       The  Commission and its authorized Agents, Shall in the performance of its  functions under this Act, be independent and not subject to the directions or control of any person or authority.

In his remarks the Project Implementation Specialist of the Public Financial Management  and Improvement and Consolidation Project(PFMICP), Amos Lansana said, PFMICP have been working with different implementing Units with the objective of enhancing efficiency and accountability of Public Financial Management System. He went on to say the PFMICP is looking at ITAS under the National Revenue Authority(NRA) with the aim of improving the revenue and tax system.

Amos Lansana, added that the PFMICP will also be looking at the establishment of a Treasury Single Account( TSA) while making it clear that PFMICP have been supporting other components within and outside the Ministry of Finance.

He spoke about the newly established Open Data, Big Data and Non - State Actors Component which will improve Citizens engagement as well as provide data, stating that is one of the reason why the PFMICP decided to work with RAIC, which have the mandate to ensure that the populace have access to information, which he reiterated is the people's right and they should be able to access it.

He pointed out that the PFMICP supported the RAIC in the popularization of the Act, stating that the PFMICP is also working with the Ministry of Information and Communication(MIC), as MIC will provide and mann the infrastructure of the Web potter.

Amos Lansana, maintained that MIC will ensure that there are Open Data centers regionally wherein people will not have to pay to access information.

In his speech Chairman of the Right to Access Commission, Unisa Sesay, said the sensitization of the RAIC Act was held in order to engage NGOS, CSOs, MDAS and media to have frank discussions on the Act for better understanding and communication.

Mr Unisa Sesay, went on to say that their motive is for the whole of Sierra Leone to understand what the Act entails and know how to use it.  He said one of the objectives of the sensitization is for Sierra Leoneans to be aware of the powers accord to them in the Act, as  it clearly state that public information should be given to people requesting for it.

He went on to explain the key issues discussed during the Stakeholders Consultation which include the following:

Ø The Rights and responsibilities of every Sierra Leonean in the act to ask and demand questions on issues

Ø The responsibility of using the system as this is the first time Sierra Leoneans have been given the power to demand public information

Ø The issue of Records Management which according to him is very poor in Sierra Leone

Mr Sesay said very soon the Commission will start enforcing legal action against Public authority  ie who fail to provide public information after fifteen days of making the request and receiving complaint of such refusal of any institution or person responsible for providing such information.

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