Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has assured the general public that the National Cathedral will pay off after its completion.
In his view, the cathedral is not costing the nation as much as has been reported in a section of the Ghanaian media.
“At any point in time when these buildings were built in Europe, was it ever the right time? How do we fund it will become the question. Is the executive mindful of the current situation? We shouldn’t snuff out our religiousness or spirituality because we are poor. The Lord will understand if we put our widows mite in there,” he told Ghana Television (GTV) on Sunday.
“That question being asked is that are we spending money from state coffers? Is that too much to do because we are politicizing it. Do we really want to stop it? That is going to be my question,” he added.
It is recalled that North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said that on October 29, 2020,Mr Ofori-Atta, on the request of the Chief of Staff Frema Opare, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, authorized the release of GHS142.7million for national cathedral “planned activities”.
He said an amount of ¢200million of unconstitutional releases have been done so far.
In a tweet on Wednesday June 8, he said “Latest exposé on Akufo-Addo’s Cathedral. On October 29, 2020; Ken Ofori-Atta on the request of Prez Akufo-Addo’s Chief of Staff, authorized the release of a gargantuan GHS142.7million for national cathedral “planned activities” GHS200million of unconstitutional releases so far.”
Mr Ablakwa earlier questioned the government for releasing an amount of ¢25million for the National Cathedral project in the midst of economic challenges.
In his view, the funds could have been used to pay trainees under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme, school feeding caterers and also service personnel.
His comments come after the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance authorized the release of ¢25million for the construction of the National Cathedral.
A letter dated 31st March and written to the Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD) by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta said “Authority is hereby granted to release the sum of 25million Ghana Cedis as additional seed money to the National Cathedral Secretariat for the construction of the National for part payment of the outstanding claim from RIBADE.”
But in a tweet reacting to this, Mr Ablakwa said “Considering the current debilitating economic crisis, why is the Akufo-Addo govt releasing a colossal GHS25million for the National Cathedral project? Shockingly, this is the same govt claiming lack of funds to pay NABCo trainees, School feeding caterers, service personnel, the 3-year no-textbooks-syndrome, etc.
“This gross lack of priority cannot be pleasing to the compassionate God we all serve. It is also important to stress that this manifestly insensitive conduct is without parliamentary approval — we shall be demanding answers in Parliament.”