Freetown 08/01/2019 The Director of Ministerial Coordination in the office of the Chief Minister, Dr Joe-Lahai Sormana has said that the launch of the implementation of the proactive disclosure component of the Rights to Access Information Act in 2013 and the immediate support of the development of publication schemes for 10 pilot ministries, departments and agencies is indeed an important milestone in efforts to provide access to information to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance, as well as facilitate efficient service delivery.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister, Prof David J. Francis, at a five-day workshop on proactive disclosure publication scheme for MDAs, Civil Society Organizations and Non State Actors at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dr Joe-Lahai Sormana maintained that the proactive disclosure forum aims to facilitate supply and demand-side data training. He stated that proactive disclosure of the supply and demand-side data training seeks to, among others, enhance the disclosure of information and promote transparency, accountability and good governance.
“Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all MDAs to respect the March 1st 2019 deadline for them to produce their Proactive Publication Schemes as announced at the Proactive Disclosure Forum Launch at Miatta Conference Centre on December 6 2018“, Dr Sormana said.
In his Statement, the Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Alpha Timbo said that he inherited huge problem with data collection, storage and management in the ministry and disclosed that his ministry quickly contracted a consultant to develop and implement a data management system, the core of what the consultant is developing is a web based solution that combines solid data storage and processing architecture, visualization and analytics tools and basic management system functions
He noted that the workshop is relevant and timely observing that its importance is seen clearly in his ministry. He stated that in the education ministry, every data has some financial implication and commitment and that any wrong data will carry same effect.
In his opening statement earlier, Chairman/ Information Commissioner of the Right to Access Information Commission, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, while welcoming participants drawn from all over the country, spoke about the significance of the Right to Access Information Act to the socio-economic development of the country and its commitment towards the promotion of accountability and transparency and the prevention of corruption. He told participants that the five-day workshop on proactive disclosure publication scheme is a follow up to the launch of the Proactive Disclosure forum organized by the RAIC in collaboration with the PFMCP project in the Ministry of Finance held at the Miatta Conference centre on December 6, 2018.
The chairman, who also chaired the opening ceremony, added that the Commission has made several strides since its inception but not without challenges which, he hoped, would be surmounted during his tenure. To show that he means business, he showed participants the RAIC web site which is currently under development and said that it will be fully up and running in the coming weeks. He said he made the development of a web site for the commission among his top priorities since taken over about three months ago because he said he believes in leading by example. “The RAIC cannot morally ask other MDA’s to proactively disclose information about what they to do the public if it is not doing it”, Dr Shaw added,
The Chairman called on MDA’s to see the RAIC as partners in their service delivery and listed some advantages of proactive disclosure of information such as controlling the narrative, building public trust, and preventing corruption, The chairman assured all of fruitful deliberations within during the five-day workshop
The Director of Information in the Ministry of Information and Communications Edward King on the behalf of his Minister said the ministry has come a long way with partners to ensure the commission is what it is today. He pledged the unflinching support of the ministry in ensuring that the Commission becomes more vibrant and active.
The Western Area Commissioner of RAIC, Yeama Thompson, giving an overview of the workshop said, it seeks to open discussions on how a shared value approach could be taken to mobilize and empower all to positively disclose or unlock the MDAs valuable high priority datasets, in a most responsible and responsive manner.
She further highlighted the responsibility and obligations of Public Authorities to proactively disclose information referencing sections 8 to 11 of the RAI Act which extensively detail what is expected of MDAs/Public Authorities in the disclosure of data.
Commissioner Yeama emphasized the poor level of compliance by Public Authorities in submitting their schemes and therefore appealed to all participants to work together to build a strong and enduring partnership that will unlock the access to crucial data and information, in the interest of the nation.
The vote of thanks was done by the Executive Secretary of RAIC, Hon Mustapha M.Braima, who also earlier introduced the Chairman of the opening ceremony.
By the RAIC Media Team