Parliament discusses construction of national cathedral

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru

The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday raised issues about the government’s decision to partly fund the construction of a national cathedral when many Ghanaians faced difficulties.

It again accused the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, of mentioning that the government would provide seed money for the construction of the national cathedral when it was not captured in the 2019 budget statement.

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But the Majority in Parliament insisted that the government would go ahead with the construction of the national cathedral.

It said the government would follow due process in putting up the national cathedral.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo mentioned the decision for the construction of a national cathedral in his inaugural address on January 7, 2017.


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The debate on the national cathedral was heightened following the information that the cathedral would be sited at Ridge, a prime location in Accra and would involve the demolition of buildings housing judges.

But the President indicated that the national cathedral project would go on, and while presenting the 2019 budget to Parliament on November 15, 2018, Mr  Ofori-Atta announced that the government would provide the seed money for the project.

Majority's response

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Responding, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Tempane and Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, said the government would go ahead with its decision to put up the national cathedral.

"In fact let me state without equivocation that the cathedral will be done by the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

“We are going to ensure that due process is followed in executing same for posterity to judge.

"I have no doubt come 20 years from now, Ghanaians will look back and all those with elements of skepticism will have a change of mind that it has indeed served its purpose and there is no dispute on that", he said.

Minority on cathedral

Leading the debate for the Minority in Parliament, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East, and former Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayini, said per the report of the Financial Times of London, a national cathedral would cost about $100 million.

He expressed surprise at the decision of government to expend about $100 million on a national cathedral when people faced challenges while the country also lacked infrastructure.

"What in God's name are we doing with $100 million when we cannot afford to feed the hungry among us, when we cannot clothe the naked among us, provide shelter to the homeless ?

"What in God's name are we doing with a $100 million cathedral when we don't have good roads, or hospitals for the sick, when our children sit under trees to learn," Dr Ayini asked.

He said the construction of the national cathedral was not a priority.

Transparency

Dr Ayini urged the government to be transparent with the issue of the construction of the national cathedral.