The budgetary allocation for the National Cathedral Project in the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government has been shot down.
Yesterday, Tuesday, December 20, the Minority members of the Trade, Industry, and Tourism Committee of Parliament won by a majority decision [11-10] to reject the GHS 80 million additional budgetary allocation for the National Cathedral of Ghana.
Before the voting by the committee, the Minority in Parliament, had warned that the allocation will not be approved.
The members argued that in the midst of the economic crisis, it is out of place for the government to channel scarce resources into the construction of the National Cathedral.
Speaking on the allocation contained in the Appropriations Bill of the 2023 fiscal policy, Ranking Member on the Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, said officials of the Finance Ministry failed to make a solid case for it.
He also noted that the officials of the Ministry, have not been able to account for the over GHS300 million spent on the National Cathedral Project so far.
In a post on social media after the Minority won the vote, North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said, “Congratulations to my gallant NDC MP colleagues on the joint committee of Trade and Sports for defeating the outrageous and sleazy GHS80million Cathedral budgetary allocation by a crunch 11-10 victory a few minutes ago. “Glory be to God for helping us with this sweet victory.”
Former Deputy Information Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, later waded into the matter hitting out at government over its decision to push for the approval of budgetary allocation to finance the National Cathedral project.
In a statement, the aide to former President John Dramani Mahama, says the insistence by the government to spend millions on the project is the most senseless decision taken by President Akufo-Addo’s government.
“NDC MPs on the joint committee of Trade and Sports of Parliament have voted to defeat the GHS80million Cathedral budgetary allocation by an 11-10 margin few minutes ago.
“The insistence on spending hundreds of millions of Ghana cedis of public funds on the needless Cathedral at a time when we have defaulted on our debts and imposed crude haircuts on lenders is by far the most senseless decision taken by the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration,” a post on the Facebook page Felix Kwakye Ofosu, said.
On Monday, the Ministry of Finance announced that a decision has been taken to default on the servicing of external debt including Eurobonds, commercial and bilateral loans. The announcement comes on the back of the launch of a Debt Exchange programme earlier this month. The two key announcements are geared toward getting the country out of the current economic crisis.
Just this Sunday, the President thanked the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the support it continues to give for the construction of the National Cathedral.
He stated that, 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 bedevilled the histories of virtually all our neighbours, 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 (70+%) of the population.”
The President, therefore, 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 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.