Policy Think Tank, Imani Africa says the release of 25 million Ghana cedis as seed money for the construction of the National Cathedral is evidence of the government’s misplaced priorities.
Although a Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. John Kumah has declared government’s readiness to account for the money spent on the cathedral, the Minority in Parliament is crying foul.
Speaking to Citi News, the Executive Director of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe said the release of the money would further burden the economy since it was not provided for in the 2022 budget.
“The timing of this contribution is quite worrying. To think that we have all the challenges we have right now and to dish out GH¢25 million. The fact that we do not have clear details as to which companies are benefitting and whether they procured the services correctly and all of that is quite worrying.”
“Just tells you that the person crying that we should tighten our belts is, unfortunately, being wasteful. I do not know where we are going to get our monies from. It will short-change some other expenditure plans that we already must have approved.”
The Minority in Parliament has already filed three urgent questions to compel the Minister for Finance to provide details on how much the state has spent on the National Cathedral Project.
The move by the Minority follows the circulation of a letter indicating the release of an additional GH¢25 million from national coffers for the project as additional seed money.
Over the period, government has indicated that the national cathedral project is to be financed largely by donations from the Christian community.
The National Cathedral project was proposed by the government in March 2017 as a physical embodiment of national unity, harmony, and spirituality.
The $350-million inter-denominational cathedral will have an auditorium capable of seating 5,000 people, as well as chapels, and a baptistery.
It is targeted to be completed in March 2024.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been criticised for his decision to build the National Cathedral in the face of numerous challenges facing the country.
In his defence, the President has said the construction is in fulfilment of a promise he made to God in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Franklin Cudjoe is a Ghanaian author and social political commentator. He is the Founding President and chief executive officer of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education.