Ranking Member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Member of Parliament of North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is shocked that the government is to spend GHS9.2 million to relocate the passport office.
The passport office is being relocated to make way for the construction of the controversial National Cathedral.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in the 2020 budget presentation to Parliament disclosed that the project will start in March 2020 and that procurement processes to select a contractor are expected to be concluded by the end of 2019.
The Board of Trustees of the Cathedral has also said that the March deadline is to allow it finalize the paperwork for the project.
The board has so far supervised the demolition of structures within the earmarked area for the construction of the cathedral.
But according to Mr Ablakwa, the amount to be used for the planned relocation of the passport office is not a judicious use of the country’s scarce resources.
“We in the Minority strongly believe that, if the President strongly feels that, he should build a national cathedral, he should site this cathedral at the many encumbered lands all over the country. For a really poor country like Ghana where we cannot even find enough resources to take care of our secondary school students. There are a lot of Regional capitals that do not have Passport application centres."
"So if we can find GHS9.2 million, there are so many things we can do with that money in terms of National Pride. We don’t need to spend that money to relocate the Passport Office. We shouldn’t be pulling down that building and spending another GHS 9.2 million in relocating that building alone. We insist that the President hasn’t been prudent to pull structures to cite the National Cathedral when we are struggling with so many things.”
National Cathedral Project
The government has commenced demolition of houses of judges located on the proposed site for the construction of the National Cathedral at Ridge in Accra.
It selected renowned architect, David Adjaye to design the building which has since been made public.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has been sharply criticized over the project with many arguing that it is not a priority project taking into consideration the country’s developmental needs.
But the president, in indirect responses to the criticisms, had insisted that the state will not fund the construction but rather it has facilitated the process by offering the land in question to be used.
While stressing that the decision to build a national cathedral was a pledge he made to God before the 2016 elections, Akufo-Addon noted that the construction will be funded by private individuals and all Christians.