Lawmakers on Wednesday welcomed a move by the government to ensure that official acts normally published in the Official Gazette are disseminated even faster in a digital format to reach out to more Rwandans.
Labelling it “e-Publication,” several MPs said the plan was long overdue when the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Tharcisse Karugarama, tabled a draft proposed relating to the publication and notification of official acts.
Karugarama explained that the new system would not lead to discarding of existing ones noting that it is primarily a supplementary instrument.
“It is a means of having multiplication such that many people have easy and faster access. This bill does not remove the current mechanisms but it is an arrangement for improved access to what is in place,” he explained.
The bill which will further be analysed by the lower chamber will govern how official acts from government institutions, including local administrative entities, come into force.
It states that laws, orders and regulations of public interest shall be published in the Official Gazette, as usual, and electronically – on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Karugarama noted that after more than 50 years, it was a matter of urgency to adapt the previous legal framework “to new realities, mainly via the publication of official acts in a digital format”.
The government, which already uses ICT to facilitate access to law and justice, has websites that publish online official documents including: www.primature.gov.rw : www.amategeko.net : www.minijust.gov.rw : and others.
“Official acts to be published include laws, acts with the force of laws, presidential orders, Prime Minister’s orders, ministerial orders and other acts deemed of public interest,” said Karugarama.
“This draft law also provides that laws and regulations adopted by the East African Legislative Assembly [EALA] shall be applicable in Rwanda from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda”.
MP Connie Bwiza referred to the move as “an achievement” but wondered if there would be costs involved, and how they would be plugged.
“Electronic communication, be it in business or elsewhere, involves costs. How is this catered for?” Bwiza wondered.
The minister allayed the MP’s concern on issues of subscription and related costs.
“Just like in other companies, institutions or private businesses, people pay. This means the fee will be implicit in the cost. There is no risk involved that people will get them for free, but instead, it will be a multiplication of services,” Karugarama said.
Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the Executive Secretary Transparency Rwanda, also welcomed the move.
“This is something we really support. It is a sign that Rwanda, day by day, is taking measures to enhance good governance, as well as curb corruption, by being more transparent.” he said.
“What normally causes unnecessary rumours and even confusion is not having all such information published”.