Minority’s GH¢80 million budget blockage won’t stop National Cathedral – Joyce Aryee

Chairperson Of The Appiatse Support Fund, Dr. Joyce Aryee Joyce Aryee

Thu, 29 Dec 2022 Source: classfmonline.com

The recent blockage of the GH¢80-million budget allocated to the construction of the National Cathedral in the 2023 budget will not stop the project from continuing, a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral of Ghana, Dr. Joyce Aryee, has said.

The trade, industry and tourism committee of parliament rejected the budget, with the minority side of the committee voting against it in an 11:10 majority decision.

A member of the committee, Mr. Yussif Sulemana, 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 GH¢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 the organisation 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 to use the ministry as a conduit to send the money wherever you want to send it and we, the minority, will not accept it."

Speaking on the rejection of the budget, Dr. Aryee said it will not bring the project to a halt because the GH¢80 million is "not the entire money that is needed to construct and complete the edifice."

She told Accra-based Joy FM: "It does not mean the project cannot go on because I know you are going to bring your money and I will bring mine and everybody that we will approach and is willing will bring theirs."

She added: "Really, those who are willing are the people making the money available for the construction. I think we should all keep calm and not be disturbed."

"People have said that there has not been transparency, but every year in the budget there has been some seed money not taken from what I understand from the Contingency Fund, but I heard there's something called Contingency Vote," she said.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, a few weeks ago, said he did not breach the law when he drew funds from the contingency vote to sponsor the construction of the national cathedral.

He told the ad hoc committee hearing seven allegations against him for which the minority caucus filed a censure motion: "National cathedral is 100 percent owned by the state and is not the president's cathedral as described by the proponents."

"Expenditures in respect of the national cathedral were made from the contingency vote under the other government obligations vault as has been the practice before my tenure," Mr Ofori-Atta explained.

"I have several copies of payments from the contingency vote dating back to 2015 to share," he added.

"Honourable co-chairs, as finance minister, I am fully aware of the approval procedures for use of the contingency funds and I have not breached its requirements," he added on Friday, 18 November 2022.

Source: classfmonline.com
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