National Cathedral Secretariat works to keep costs down – Executive Director

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The Executive Director of the National Cathedral of Ghana, Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah has explained how the Secretariat is cutting down cost regarding the ongoing National Cathedral project.

A statement he issued on Friday June 17 explained that the National Cathedral Secretariat works to keep costs down, by operating with a very thin staff, and using volunteers, including national service personnel, and seconded personnel from the churches — whose remuneration are covered by the sponsoring church.

Portions of his statement said “All the disbursements from the state to the National Cathedral, therefore, have been based on
the framework for the state’s participation in the National Cathedral project. And the procurement of services using these funds have all been within legal procurement practices.

“Similarly, the establishment of positions at the Presidency for the National Cathedral of Ghana is a practical response to the state’s commitment to ‘set up and equip the Secretariat’ of the National Cathedral.

“These positions are used to coordinate and mobilize for the project. These positions notwithstanding, the National Cathedral Secretariat works to keep costs down, by operating with a very thin staff, and using volunteers, including national service personnel, and seconded personnel from the churches — whose remuneration are covered by the sponsoring church.”

This comes after concerns have been raised against the cost of the project.

For instance, North Tongu Member of Parliament 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|3news.com|Ghana

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