Committee says ATI key to transparency, accountability

Committee says ATI key to transparency, accountability

Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communications says implementation of the Access to Information (ATI) Act is crucial in ensuring accountability of public institutions and winning the fight against corruption.

Speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday during the official opening of a workshop on ATI regulations to train Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (Teveta) management on how to implement the law in their organisation, committee chairperson Susan Dossi said the ATI law empowers citizens to hold public officers accountable.

She said it also exists to ensure that public resources are prudently spent on activities that would benefit the public in line with Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development strategy.

Dossi: Access to information critical

Said Dossi: “Within the perspective of the Malawi 2063, access to information is critical for empowering the public to make decisions, holding government accountable, evaluating public officials in implementing and monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and facilitating effective public participation.”

In an interview, Teveta executive director Elwin Sichiola said the authority contacted the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to orient Teveta management to build their capacity on how and which information should be made available to the public while remaining transparent and steadfast to the law.

MHRC director for civil and political rights Peter Chisi said institutions must put in place structures and mechanisms for handling ATI requests and further train their staff on how information should be accessed by the public for accountability and transparency.

ATI Act was passed by the Malawi National Assembly in 2016 and became operational on September 13 2020.

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