President Nana Akufo-Addo has not advanced the economic benefits argument for the National Cathedral anywhere, Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan has said.
It is all about the President’s personal pledge to his God to build the cathedral, he added.
His comments was after a Presidential Staffer Mr Dennis Miracles said on the Key Points show on TV3 Saturday, December 24 that the National Cathedral project will have economic benefit to the state.
Mr Miracles Aboagye indicated the same people who are making economic arguments against the project have benefited from highly capital intensive programmes, $25million dollar loan to buy vehicles, even in the midst of the economic situation.
He also indicated that the NDC administration spent $25million to build the Ho Airport even when the country was saddled with severe economic challenges including power outages.
“Where was the justification when we spent $25million to build the Ho airport which is now white elephant?” He asked.
He added “$25million dollars was spent at the time the people of Ho did not have a market. At the time the airport was going to be built a lot of people asked economic question why they were going to put the airport there.
“Togbe Afede advised that half of the money for the Ho Airport should be used to construct the road to Ho but it was not listened to and today, that Airport is a white elephant.”
He stressed “the Ho airport was built at a time this country had dumsor, this county had a health insurance that was near collapsed, this country at that had 88 districts without hospitals.
“The construction of the airport had economic value, the same way the cathedral has economic value.”
But responding to him on the same show, Ricketts-Hagan who is a former Deputy Finance Minister said the government got it all wrong from the beginning.
He said, “President Akufo-Addo has not made any economic benefit argument of the cathedral anywhere, it was all about his personal pledge to God.”
He stressed “the timing of the Cathedral is bad, the time does not make sense with the challenges that the economy is facing.
“It is a bad idea, whether it is the president’s personal idea or not, it has no fiscal space in Ghana at the moment.”
Parliament did not approve the controversial GHS80 million that was earmarked for construction of the National Cathedral.
To that end, the amount has been channeled into communication and road sectors.
Earlier, the Ranking Member on the joint committee of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, on Tuesday, December 20 dedicated a Minority voting decision to reject the budget estimates for the building of the National Cathedral as captured in the 2023 budget statement to Ghanaians.
He said the decision was a victory to all Ghanaians as previous allocations to the project were not properly accounted for.
Eleven Minority MPs as against 10 Majority MPs, therefore, voted to reject the GH¢80-million allocation for the continuation of the project.
Commenting on this development, Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said “Government compelled to withdraw and reallocate the obnoxious and dubious GHS80million for President Akufo-Addo's Cathedral to the Roads and Communications sectors.
“We won this battle for God and the suffering masses. Thank you all for your unflinching support.”