The Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) with support from the World Bank has held a review and validation of the Draft National Records and Archives Bill 2017.
The review and validation held at the Family Kingdom Resort in Freetown, climaxed the pre-consultations with stakeholders led by the RAIC across regions of the Country between August and September.
Giving an overview of the process, Executive Secretary of RAIC Hon. Mustapha Braima said the management of Records is a very important tool in the governance structure of every public authority considering the raging challenges the sector faces at the moment.
The former Member of Parliament (MP) said he was a sitting MP when the bill was tabled in 2017 but unfortunately was not passed. The Executive Secretary expressed optimism that the bill will be passed into law after the validation Process.
Hon. Abdul Marray Conteh said Records Management is a new era of responsibility to bridge the gap of data poverty which affects our development as a nation, noting that the availability of credible and reliable information largely depends on proper records Management. The Hon. Member of Parliament craved the indulgence of professionals representing various institutions to seize the opportunity and have fruitful deliberations to resurrect management of records in Sierra Leone.
RAIC Commissioner for the Eastern Region Mary Wuyata Karimu, who is charged with the responsibility of overseeing Records Management, said the success of the RAI law greatly relies on Records Management, as one can only access information where the management of records is in proper shape. She demystified the notion that records with stakeholders in the regions is to allow them gain ownership in the process and to ensure that their inputs are reflective in the bill.
Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Information and Communications Hon Joseph William Lamin said he felt privileged to be given an opportunity to share his opinion on behalf of other members of Parliament, adding that the significant of replacing the a 56 year old law; the 1965 National Archives Act cannot be underestimated . He recounted the Research analysis he championed in 2019 on data on women rights that has led to the high level of awareness of Women’s rights across the county. That, he said was only possible because the records were available, which is more so the reason the validation of the Records and Archives Bill of 2017 will be of immense help to the country in diverse ways.
management is a witch hunt tool but rather a deliberate effort to promote openness. She highlighted the less importance attached to records Managements, inadequate storage facility and lack of trained and qualified Records professionals as among the major challenges hampering the successful growth of the sector. She ended up that the essence of this activity and the pre-consultations held
Albert Moore, lead consultant of the validation said he looks forward to a fruitful deliberation with professionals who have vast knowledge in the management of records and hopes their views will be incorporated in the final document that will be taken to parliament for enactment.
The validation of the Draft National Records and Archives Bill 2017 is believed, will bring a lasting solution to replace the outdated National Archives Act of 1965 and bring sanity and respectability professionals in the Records and Archives sector deserve. Participants were drawn from Academia, Ministries, Department and Agencies, and Civil Society organisations across the country.