Friday , 3 February 2023

Minority not against National Cathedral – Haruna Iddrisu

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has reiterated that his side, in principle, has not been against the construction of a National Cathedral.

He said “We respect and uphold the right of Ghanaians to freedom of worship, and freedom of religion, to which extent the Government and the President want to build a church for the worship of God. Let it be done with honour and let it be done with good money.”

“Let it not be said anywhere that the NDC Minority is against the construction of the National Cathedral,” Mr. Iddrisu said on Monday at a news conference in Parliament House in Accra.

He alleged that the Government had supplied GH₵80.00 million in the 2023 Budget for the construction of the National Cathedral, and that had it not been for the censure motion against the Finance Minister, the Government would have taken the amount from the contingency fund without recourse to Parliament for approval.

“And those of you who are familiar with article 179 of the constitution, it is not for nothing that they have the appropriation act is an itemized act, because you want to be able to appropriate for it,” he said.

Minority not against National Cathedral - Haruna Iddrisu
Mr Haruna Iddrisu (middle), with members of the NDC Minority Caucus addressing the press conference

He said for the National Cathedral project, the Government should have provided a budget line item, which would be approved by appropriation.

The Minority Leader said despite huge public outcry and in defiance of prudence, another GH₵80 million had been earmarked for the National Cathedral, which does not constitute a spending priority at this time.

Mr Iddrisu said so far if the GH₵80.00 million was approved by the House, the Government would have spent GH₵420.00 million of taxpayers funds on the National Cathedral project.

“Is that our national priority? This is a project which will eventually cost the state and taxpayers $400 million, are we not right to ask how was procurement done? How is value for money ensured? What is best practice in determining it, so we are not against the principles and concept of a Cathedral for a Church,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu said for a government that was unable to print textbooks for basic school pupils several years after introducing new curricula unable to pay NABCO arrears and that is indebted to contractors and suppliers to the tune of over GH₵40 billion, this was most imprudent and unacceptable.

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