Cathedral financing: Trustees to operationalize state-church partnership – Secretariat

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Besides the state financing the national cathedral project, a fundraising strategy has been developed by the Trustees to operationalize a state-church partnership envisaged by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the development of the National Cathedral, Executive Director of the National Cathedral of Ghana, Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah, has said.

Dr Opoku-Mensah said this in a statement on Friday June 17 to respond to issues raised against the project.

“Besides the state financing, a fundraising strategy has been developed by the Trustees to operationalize this state-church partnership envisaged by the President for the development of the National Cathedral.

“The strategy has four elements, namely: Mass Mobilization Strategy, at the heart of which is a 100-cedis-club, which seeks to mobilize a million Ghanaians able, and willing, to give 100 cedis a month to the project. A short code *979# has been developed for this purpose; Church Mobilization, including statutory budgetary support from the churches, and a National Cathedral Week, which for 2022 is slated for July 4-10; Private Sector Strategy, at the heart of which is a Business roundtable to mobilize Christian businesses, and Christian businessmen and women, to financially support the project ; International Fundraising, which includes Ghanaian Diaspora churches, and other international actors who support the vision of the National Cathedral Project,” he said.

Concerns have been raised against the financing of the project especially by the Minority in Parliament.

North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said that on October 29, 2020, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on the request of the Chief of Staff Frema Opare, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, authorized the release of GHS142.7million for national cathedral “planned activities”.

He said an amount of ¢200million of unconstitutional releases have been done so far.

In a tweet on Wednesday June 8, he said “Latest exposé on Akufo-Addo’s Cathedral. On October 29, 2020; Ken Ofori-Atta on the request of Prez Akufo-Addo’s Chief of Staff, authorized the release of a gargantuan GHS142.7million for national cathedral “planned activities” GHS200million of unconstitutional releases so far.”

Mr Ablakwa earlier questioned the government for releasing an amount of ¢25million for the National Cathedral project in the midst of economic challenges.

In his view, the funds could have been used to pay trainees under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme, school feeding caterers and also service personnel.

His comments come after the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance authorized the release of ¢25million for the construction of the National Cathedral.

A letter dated 31st March and written to the Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD) by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta said “Authority is hereby granted to release the sum of 25million Ghana Cedis as additional seed money to the National Cathedral Secretariat for the construction of the National for part payment of the outstanding claim from RIBADE.”

But in a tweet reacting to this, Mr Ablakwa said “Considering the current debilitating economic crisis, why is the Akufo-Addo govt releasing a colossal GHS25million for the National Cathedral project? Shockingly, this is the same govt 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 answers in Parliament.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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