The Ministry for Foreign Affair’s plan to raise an amount of €116 million to reconstruct the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) has been rejected by the minority caucus in Parliament.
The Minority raised concerns at the committee hearing on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, which resulted in a rejection of the plan by the House.
Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, indicated that the project is not a necessity in this current harsh economic climate. He noted that the reconstruction of the AICC has not been listed among the essential projects for the Ministry under 2023, a reason for the rejection of the budget.
“As we have noted in our report, some members of the Committee expressed their inability to support the reconstruction of the Accra International Conference Centre because of the distressed nature of the current economy. They again argue that the reconstruction of the AICC has not been captured in the list of essential projects of the Ministry of Finance for the year 2023.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
The Foreign Affairs Committee has therefore recommended that the Ministry produces the report of the feasibility studies and the structural integrity of the AICC to inform the future decision of the project.
The North Tongu MP explained that the Minority will not support the redevelopment of the AICC when the feasibility reports, value for money report and structural integrity report on the project have not been provided.
Mr Ablakwa also described as unnecessary, the plan of the Ministry to open new embassies around the world.
“We do not think that it is a great idea at this time to be opening a new diplomatic mission in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and in Mexico as has been programmed for projects to be executed in 2023. We have conveyed our strong objection to this plan by the Ministry.”Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Budgetary allocation for national cathedral rejected
Meanwhile, the Minority members on the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee of Parliament has won by a majority decision to reject the GH¢80 million additional budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for the National Cathedral of Ghana.
According to Ranking Member on the Committee, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, officials of the Ministry failed to convince them about the allocation and also account for the over GH¢300 million already spent on the project. He indicated that officials of the Ministry of Finance could also not give ample reason for the allocation.
The Minority members on the Committee, therefore, called for voting to decide the matter. As at the time of voting, the minority were more than the Majority members and won by an 11-10 majority votes.
Nonetheless, the other allocations of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture were approved.
“We asked for a vote, and I think today God was on the people of Ghana’s side. We voted and we were in the majority.”Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah
The Member of Parliament for Ellembelle Constituency, however, expressed concerns that the Majority may use their numbers to overturn this decision when it gets to the plenary. He assured, Ghanaians should be content that no more funds will be pumped into the controversial project from the government coffers.