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GH¢80m National Cathedral budget reallocated to roads and communication sectors

National Cathedral National Cathedral building

Thu, 22 Dec 2022 Source:

The Minority in Parliament has successfully compelled the government to withdraw and reallocate the GHC 80 million allocated in the 2023 budget for the construction of the national cathedral to the Roads and Communications sectors.

Further, the said amount was completely removed from the final appropriation bill.

MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who disclosed this in a Facebook post said this means the government's 2023 expenditure is, therefore, reduced by GHC 80 million.

A member of the minority, Yussif Sulemana, who kicked against the budget for the cathedral, told journalists on Tuesday, December 20, 2022: "I can tell you on authority that at the end of the day, we had to vote and after the vote, the minority carried the day. We have voted against it, and we are saying that this is not the time for us to be spending that huge sum of money on building a cathedral."

The Bole-Bamboi MP said: "Apart from that, we were told at the committee [-level] that they had already spent GHC 339 million and when we asked them to give us evidence of how the money was spent, it was a challenge."

Again, he noted, "we were told that they have moved the cathedral from wherever it was to the ministry of tourism. And the question I put to them was that that organization that is handling this cathedral, the secretariat, is it under the ministry of tourism?"

"If it's not under the ministry of tourism, then it means that you want o use the ministry as a conduit to send the money wherever you want to send it and we, the minority, will not accept it."

A few days ago, President Nana Akufo-Addo said upon completion, the National Cathedral will serve not only as the country's collective thanksgiving "to the Almighty for the blessings He has bestowed on our nation, sparing us the ravages of civil war that have bedeviled the histories of virtually all our neighbors, and the outbreak of deadly mass epidemics but also as a rallying point for the entire Christian community of Ghana, which represents seventy-plus percent of the population."

The president made this known on Sunday, 18 December 2022, when he delivered an address at the centenary celebration of the Ga Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, held at the Black Star Square, Accra.

Addressing the congregation, which included the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, asked the Ga Presbytery, and, indeed, all Christians, to continue to pray for Ghana's peace and unity, so the nation can move forward in unity.

"I need the support of every Ghanaian, together with the prayers of the church, to help me and my government carry out our mandate successfully. Pray for me so that Almighty God will continue to give me wisdom, strength, courage, and compassion to enable me to execute my duties as a good leader. With Him, all things are possible, as the battle is the Lord's. For this, too, shall pass," President Akufo-Addo said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, recently said the National Cathedral is not a sensible project to undertake in the midst of an economic crisis.

In his view, the government could use the site for the project, for a more sensible venture.

Speaking at a roundtable organized by the Citizen's Coalition in Accra on Thursday, 15 December 2022, Professor Prempeh said making allocations for the cathedral in the 2023 budget beats his imagination.

"When you are in a crisis, you can do exceptional things, I don't see anything in the budget to suggest that this is a crisis and that this is being done as an emergency measure," Professor Prempeh said.

"This is not the time for vanity projects but we have preserved a vanity project in the form of the cathedral. I was expecting that this being a crisis period, we will reflect on that decision and say: 'even if this is sensible to do at all' – and I do not think so – that it will not be the appropriate period or we will change the idea to something else."

"There is a lot that we can still do with that site that can make sense".

"So, generally it is a missed opportunity in terms of seeing this as a crisis moment and seeing it as a moment to reset the button," Prof Prempeh noted.

"I think we have not quite done that," he stressed.

"It looks to me that it is purely an emergency thing targeted at the IMF to approve a loan, as opposed to something that is going deep into the structure and our governance," Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh admonished in his assessment.

Prof. Prempeh is in good company with the pressure group OccupyGhana, which recently recommended that the government suspend all public expenditure on the National Cathedral considering that the country is going through an economic crisis.

"Whatever arguments there might have been to support spending now-non-existent money on the proposed National Cathedral, have been eroded by the dire straits that the nation faces," the group said in a statement.

"Our current situation makes the continued commitment in the budget to spend GHC 80m on the cathedral, look like a vanity project," it noted.

OG said: "We lose nothing by suspending expenditure on that project until the economy recovers."

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