Opposition politicians in Ghana, which is in the throes of a debt crisis, forced the removal of funding in the nation’s budget to build a cathedral.
Members of the National Democratic Congress in the country’s hung parliament rejected the 80 million cedis ($8.4 million) earmarked for a 5,000-seat cathedral designed by Ghanaian-British star architect David Adjaye.
This comes after a decision by the Majority in Parliament and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to reintroduce the allocation to the budget estimates for the Roads and Highways and Communication Ministries.
The House subsequently approved an amount of GH¢180 million for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture against the initial allocation of GH¢260 million for the year 2023.
Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin made the announcement in Parliament after fierce opposition from the Minority.
“It is our proposal that since many of us filed questions on roads, we for the time being without letting this affect appropriation, Finance Minister is in agreement that this GHS 80 million will find space in Communication and Roads. That is what is going to happen.”
Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi demanded a breakdown of the allocations to the Ministries since the house has already approved their budget estimates.
“The Minister of Finance must give us the breakdown. How much is going to the Ministry of Roads and how much is going to the Ministry of Communications? We have to approve the additional allocation going to these Ministries. So the motion should be amended.”
The Minority in Parliament had voted against the approval of budget estimates of GH¢80 million for the construction of the National Cathedral for 2023.
This was because the Finance Ministry had failed to account for an amount of GH¢114 million out of the GH¢339 million spent so far on the project.
The caucus said the House would only approve the Ministry of Tourism’s budgetary allocation without the funds allocated to the National Cathedral.
The National Cathedral project has seen a lot of controversies, as many Ghanaians continue to question the prudence of the state financing an edifice that is said to be President Akufo-Addo’s personal pledge to God.
But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been unwavering in his resolve to build the National Cathedral in Ghana.
“Just like Sanballat and Tobias, in the days of Nehemiah, there are some who do not share my views on the building of the National Cathedral, I respect their right to differ but I am confident (of) my decision, by the vast numbers of enthusiastic supporters of this project whose spiritual dimension is limitless”.
The President passed the comments on Sunday, December 18, 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.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES