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The government has released an additional money for the construction of the National Cathedral, a project the president denied to be government driven. This latest financial commitment by the government of a whopping GhS25m to the National Cathedral Secretariat comes after an initial seed money has been committed into the project since the design for the cathedral was unveiled in March, 2018.
The payment by the Finance Ministry has received public backlash as it comes at a time of a general economic hardship in the country with stipends of young graduates and payments to School Feeding caterers in arrears for months. Beneficiaries of the Nation Builders’ Corps (NaBCO) program have not been paid for the last seven months and have announced a nationwide demonstration against the government on June 10, while the National Service personnels have seen their payments in arrears since the end of April. For over 3 years now, the government has not been able to provide textbooks to basic schools across the country, a situation attributed to a lack of funds to print such books for school pupils.
Many Ghanaians have described the move as insensitive and wondered if God would indeed cherish an act meant to please him when such money could be used to pay the hungry men and women who have worked for months without pay. Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the MP for North Tongu Constituency expressed shock at the decision and also questioned the legality of the payment.
On his Facebook wall, he wrote “Considering the current debilitating economic crisis, why is the Akufo-Addo government releasing a colossal GHS25million for the National Cathedral project?
Shockingly, this is the same government 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 urgent answers in Parliament”.
The Cathedral which is estimated to cost $200m after an earlier estimate of $100m is scheduled to be commissioned in March 2024.