Minority blocks ₵80m budget for National Cathedral, demands accountability for monies already spent
The Minority in Parliament has voted against the approval of budget estimates of GH¢80 million for the construction of the National Cathedral for 2023.
The Minority says this follows the failure of the Finance Ministry to account for an amount of GH¢114 million out of the GH¢339 million spent so far on the project.
Speaking to Citi News, a member of the Trades and Industry Committee of Parliament, Dr. Dominic Ayine said the Minority would only approve the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Tourism without the allocated funds to the National Cathedral.
“This afternoon, a joint committee of Youth and Sports, as well as Trades and Industry, met and took the decision by an 11-10 majority to reject the budget estimates of the Ministry of Tourism especially the allocation of GH¢80million for the construction of 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.
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. 🙏🏽
— Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa (@S_OkudzetoAblak) December 20, 2022
But President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been unwavering in his resolve to build the National Cathedral in Ghana.
In the 2023 budget, the GH¢80 million was allocated to fund the project despite the current economic crisis.
OccupyGhana, a pressure group, in a recent release recommended that the government suspends all public expenditures on the cathedral considering that the country is going through an economic crisis.
The project has been hit with financial controversies as a letter released in May 2022 by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to the Controller and Accountant’s General, directed that the sum of GH¢25 million be credited to Ribade Limited, for part payment of outstanding claims. This directive and payment clearly contravened the president’s word that the project would not be built with State funds.
The Minority in Parliament had accused Ofori-Atta of “unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund in blatant contravention of Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution, supposedly for the construction of the President’s Cathedral.”
But the Minister denied the accusation when he appeared before an 8-member ad-hoc committee probing allegations in a vote of censure against him, saying “with both humility and confidence, I have not breached the Constitution in making payments to support the construction of the National Cathedral of Ghana.”