Kwaku Ofori Asiamah  — Minister of Transport
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah — Minister of Transport

Daily Graphic drags Transport Ministry to RTI Commission - Move to secure updates on proposed Ghana Airlines

The Daily Graphic has petitioned the Right to Information (RTI) Commission over the refusal of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to provide updates on the yet-to-be-established national carrier.

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The information was requested in September last year under the Right to Information Act, 2018 (Act 989).

In its petition, the Daily Graphic explained that the move had become necessary because the ministry had frustrated all attempts to access the information on the proposed airline.

The petition signed by the Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey, and filed at the commission in Accra last Monday, stated that the information being requested was in the interest of the public and for that reason, the Transport Ministry must be compelled to make it available.

Background

The country for many years has not been able to fly the national flag in the aviation space and therefore lost the economic and other benefits that would have accrued to the state.

Consequently, the decision by the current government to establish a national or home-based carrier generated a lot of enthusiasm from the public.

It featured in five different budget and economic statements of the government in the last seven years with the latest updates in 2023.

The 2023 budget announced that the new carrier would be called the Ghana Airlines.

It added that shareholder and partnership agreements had been signed with a strategic partner for the home-based carrier to be operational in 2023.

The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, at the Minister’s Press Briefing in Accra on March 29, 2023, further noted that the national airline would be operational by June-July 2023.

However, the proposed carrier is yet to come alive as of February this year, leaving many Ghanaians whose hopes were renewed in the decision to revive the country's dream, shattered, as the 2024 budget statement presented to Parliament went silent on the airline.

Engagement

It was based on this that the Daily Graphic made several attempts to engage the ministry to access the information requested on the update of establishing the national airline but to no avail.

At least, three staff of the ministry put in impediments to block or prevent access to the information.

Initially, the Daily Graphic tried to access the information through an interview with the minister and wrote a letter to the ministry.

Staff at the minister’s office refused to receive two different letters with the excuse that the first letter of August 2, 2023, was not copied to the Chief Director.

A subsequent instruction was given for another letter to be written and copied to the Chief Director, Ministry of Transport” before it could be received.

In adherence to the instruction, a second letter was sent to the ministry on August 15, 2023, and the same staff declined to receive it again, saying that the letter must be addressed to the Chief Director and not the minister because in case the minister was not around, another person could be designated to grant the interview.

When the representative of the Daily Graphic who sent the letter complained about the inconsistency in dealing with the request (letter), the staff flared up and stated that the letter would not be attended to. 

The RTI process

The Daily Graphic then resorted to the RTI Act 989 through another letter which was submitted to the RTI Officer of the Ministry of Transport on September 15, 2023, to request the information but that action also did not succeed.

It followed up with a second letter on January 22, 2024, prevailing on the Chief Director of the ministry to act on the request accordingly but until today, the information is yet to be furnished.

The Daily Graphic insists that as a media organisation with a vested interest in the development of the country, access to the information would be in the interest of the public.

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