Trade & industry c’ttee of parliament halts  approval of ₵80m for Nat’l  Cathedral

Story: Kwadwo Owusu Aduomi

The Trades and Industry Committee of Parliament has put on hold the approval of GH₵80 million allocated for the construction of the National Cathedral.

The allocation, which was made to the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), has failed to receive endorsement by the Committee because members want more answers from the sector Minister.

According to Tamale Central MP, Murtala Mohammed who disclosed this to JoyNews, which was monitored by Today  until the Committee was  satisfied, they will approve the Ministry’s estimates without the funds allocated to the National Cathedral.

“What the Committee decided was that we cannot just approve this GH₵80 million, we must know how the other GH₵339 million was spent. What did it constitute?

“The GH₵80 million you want us to approve, how did it find space in the budget line of the Ministry of Tourism when the Minister and the directors could not speak to the questions we were asking? What constitutes the GH₵80 million, they should give us a breakdown,” he disclosed in an interview with JoyNews’ Parliamentary Affairs Correspondent, Kwaku Asante on Tuesday, December 13.

The MP said the Committee has invited the Finance Minister and other stakeholders to provide an explanation on the already expended GH₵339 million on the National Cathedral.

“Those who expended the money we are inviting them, we are inviting the Secretariat to come and explain, the Minister for Finance to come and explain to us how they spent those monies. If not, it will be unconscionable if we will go ahead to approve this,” he stated.

Parliament is yet to approve the appropriation bill for 2023 Budget presented by the Finance Minister which included the GH₵80 million allocation to the National Cathedral.

Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed also alleged that the allocation was imposed on the Ministry by the Presidency without the knowledge of the Minister and technocrats at the Ministry. He argued that the technocrats from MoT were unable to provide a breakdown of the allocation to the Committee.

“Is it the case that it was imposed on the Minister and the Ministry from the flagstaff House? I get the sense that is what happened, because if it was not imposed on the Minister, the Directors and the Chief Directors who were all there, they should have been able to provide us with the answers, they could not do that so it is ridiculous,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Okyehene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II has pleaded support for the building of the National Cathedral so as not to bring shame to President Akufo-Addo.

The MP in responding to Okyehene’s comment said the National Cathedral cannot be built at the expense of the hardship of Ghanaians.

“We have a very respected traditional leader who says that we should not bring shame. We should not bring shame at the expense of our survival, so because of avoiding shame people must rob in the name of God. You think God will be happy? I think that God is angry with this government.”

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