The Minister of Finance Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura has pledged that his ministry will do the needful to comply with its obligations under the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act of 2013.  

The Minister was responding to a presentation by the Chairman and Information Commissioner of the Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC), Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw and his team to the Ministry of Finance on the rights and obligations of public authorities as enshrined in the RAI Act of 2013.

At a consultative meeting held in the Minister’s office on Monday 21st August, 2023, the Commission also outlined areas of collaboration with the Ministry of Finance such as increasing financial transparency and accountability through the effective management of public data and records.

The Minister noted that his ministry generates a lot of data that is shareable and assures the Commission that save the exemptions, they will comply. He added that he will play his part in his ministry’s open-door policy in the budget process and the creation of synergies with other international bodies like the World Bank.

Chairman and Information Commissioner (CIC) of RAIC Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw said from previous public engagements such as workshops held with public Information officers and records officers of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) concerns were raised on the need to engage the political heads who most times have the final say in the granting of information whenever a request is made, hence the need to engage one of the class A ministries, the Ministry of Finance.  

The RAIC CIC gave a brief background of the RAI Law in the Country and underscored its importance in the socio-economic development of the nation. He called on the Ministry to comply with its duty as a public authority in proactively disclosing information for public consumption and to respond to FOI requests to help boost public trust in their service delivery.

The RAIC boss also drew the attention of the Ministry to Part 3 Sections 12-26 of the RAI Act which provide for exempt information, which are classes of information such as national security, personal data, economic interest, third party information etc. which cannot be disclosed except where the public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm in doing so. He however warned against ignoring FOI requests just because the public authority feels they fall among the exempt provisions, and rather advised engaging with the process by acknowledging and processing the requests, or reaching out to explain why the information cannot be released if it is available.  He said it is important that the compliance rate is up since the country participates in an annual UNESCO survey monitoring progress on SDG 16.10.2 which relates to Public Access to Information and the freedom of information scorecard in the MCC.

He encouraged them to liaise with the Compliance team of the RAIC to complete the Annual Compliance Report template that catalogues a list of information requests received in the reviewed year, whiles the Proactive Disclosure of information PDI mandates the public authorities to publish a minimum of 22 classes of information proactively.

Legal Counsel and Head of Compliance, Alan Benjamin ESQ added that access to information is a two-way traffic involving the supply and demand of information, and that public authorities can always find themselves on either side of the divide depending on the circumstances.

Executive Secretary of the RAIC Hon. Mustapha Braima said access to information is a win-win for the information requester and supplier, and that it is always better to provide access to information that is supposed to be in the public domain.  

During the Questions and Answers, Deputy Financial Secretaries (Admin) Mr Momoh and Madam Mamie Kallon, expressed their willingness to comply with their obligations under the RAI Act 2013.

The Minister concluded by thanking the Commission for the engagement and assured them of his ministry’s support in realizing their mandate in the country

For media inquiries, contact:

David Patrick Kamara

Public Information Officer

Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) National Secretariat




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