National Cathedral priority among priorities — Akufo-Addo

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
An artist impression of the National Cathedral
An artist impression of the National Cathedral

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has mounted a strong defence of the decision to construct a national cathedral.

He said the cathedral was “a priority among priorities” and that since the country could not have enough money to do everything at the same time, the project needed to start.

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Answering a question from the Editor of the Financial Times, Mr Lionel Barber, at the 5th Financial Times Africa Summit in London last Monday, the President said with Christians constituting 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population, the project would be a rallying point for strengthening the unity among Ghanaians.

The summit was on the theme: “Ghana, Africa mean business”.

The President said just as national cathedrals could be found elsewhere in the world, including Washington, DC, USA, so did Ghana also see it as an important spiritual need, for which the means would be found to build it.


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Pledge

President Akufo-Addo had pledged the construction of a national cathedral and cut the sod for its construction last year.

A piece of land has been secured, architectural works completed and the Christian community tasked to use innovative means to pool resources for the construction.

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The construction, however, generated some hullabaloo recently.

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Ghana Beyond Aid

Addressing the business community in London, the President had said his proclamation of the policy of Ghana Beyond Aid was a mobilising idea to generate certain consciousness in the minds of the people and provide the rallying cry for social and political action.

He said the dialogue over what aid could do for Africa and Ghana in particular had dragged on for ages but after three decades of aid, nothing much had been attained because most of the aid ended up in the donor countries.

That, he explained, had not helped Africa to transform its economy and said it was important for the continent’s leaders to mobilise the people to appreciate the fact that development was going to be impossible if it was based on handouts and the charity of foreign taxpayers.

Education

On his flagship educational programme, the free senior high school (SHS), the President said there was no other choice than to educate the population now, indicating that it was a priority that needed to be funded at all cost.

He said if resources from the oil wealth in Ghana were spent on free education, that would be the most equitable and effective way of distributing the resources, instead of allowing the resources to enter the private pockets of some politicians, as pertained in some oil-rich countries.

Economy

Addressing the summit earlier, President Akufo-Addo said the measures taken by his administration to fix the challenged economy it inherited were paying off.

He stated that the government was getting the fundamentals right, a prerequisite for realising the vision of Ghana becoming an industrialised nation.

President Akufo-Addo said the Ghana cedi, despite recent challenges resulting from a stronger dollar, had stabilised, while inflation had dipped from 15.4 per cent in 2016 to 9.9 per cent currently.