The World Bank project was launched in December 2018 with ten MDAs being used as a pilot phase. These MDAs include the Sierra Leone Police, Environment Protection Agency (EPA), National Revenue Authority (NRA), National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA), and Statistics Sierra Leone.
RAIC last week certified the four MDAs that met the deadline. Statistic Sierra Leone, Environment Protection Agency, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the Sierra Leone Police were issued with Certificates of Compliance at a Roundtable Enforcement Forum held in Freetown recently.
Mrs. Nancy Tengbeh, Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Chief Minister, expressed her dismay over the failure of majority of the MDAs to deliver on time, according to a statement issued by RAIC’s communication team.
“Being a liberal institution, RAIC is kindly appealing to MDAs not to miss the 30th May, 2019 deadline, in order to avoid negative repercussions,” she said, noting that the government is in a hurry to develop.
According to the relevant laws, MDAs that fail to meet the deadline will be subjected to a tribunal and, if found guilty, will face punitive measures.
The Right to Access Information, which is popularly known as Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), is the result of years of campaign by pro-democracy organizations who say access to information by the public is crucial for democracy and good governance.
The campaigners say the proactive disclosure scheme will ensure reduction of cost and time in the processing of individual information requests and demonstrates a commitment to openness, accountability and transparency which in turn may increase the people’s confidence in the government.
Chairman and Information Commissioner of RAIC, Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, explained that last week’s roundtable forum was designed to recognize MDAs that met the first deadline while encouraging the others to follow suit.
The Parliament of Sierra Leone is one of the pilot MDAs that missed out in meeting the deadline. But the Head of the Information and Communications Committee in Parliament, Hon. Matthew Nyuma, who doubles as Deputy Leader of Government Business in the House, promised that they will work hard to ensure they meet the new deadline.