Dr Joyce Aryee, a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral of Ghana, has disclosed that the National Cathedral project will continue despite Parliament’s rejection of GH¢80 million budgetary allocation to it.
According to Dr Aryee, the GH 80 million rejected by Parliament was only part of the seed money the government promised for the construction of the cathedral and not the entire money that is needed to construct and complete the project.
Her comments come after the trade industry and tourism committee of parliament rejected the budget, with the minority side of the committee voting against it in an 11:10 majority decision.
Speaking in an interview, she noted that “It does not mean the project can not go on because I know you are going to bring your money and I will bring mine and everybody that we will approach and is willing will bring theirs.”
“Really, those who are willing are the people making the money available for the construction. I think we should all keep calm and not be disturbed.”Dr Joyce Aryee
The former minister of state clarified that there is a provision of seed money which is from the Consolidated Vault.
“People have said that there has not been transparency, but every year in the budget there has been some seed money not taken from what I understand from the Contingency Fund, but I heard there’s something called Contingency Vault.”Dr Aryee
However, Dr Aryee indicated that Parliament has every right not to accept what a budget brings or otherwise.
A member of the committee, Mr Yussif Sulemana, noted on Tuesday December 20 that “I can tell you on authority that at the end of the day, we had to vote and after the vote, the minority carried the day. We have voted against it and we are saying that this is not the time for us to be spending that huge sum of money on building a cathedral.”
The Bole-Bamboi MP said: “Apart from that, we were told at the committee[-level] that they had already spent GHS339 million and when we asked them to give us evidence of how the money was spent, it was a challenge.
Recently, the Minority in Parliament accused Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta of releasing GHC25million to the National Cathedral Secretariat as additional seed money for the project without Parliament’s approval.
However, Ken Ofori-Atta has denied taking money from the Consolidated Fund to finance the National Cathedral project. “I have taken no money from the Contingency Fund to make payments for the National Cathedral,” he said.
Support From The Diaspora
Currently, the Board of Trustees is organising a three-day bible-reading event to seek God’s face, as well as support from Ghanaians and Africans in the diaspora toward the construction of the edifice.
At the opening of the bible-reading marathon, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Apostle Professor Opoku Onyinah stated that Christians in the diaspora will be incorporated into the whole programme.
“Ultimately, it will also be a way of reaching out to the diaspora to support the National Cathedral project. It is our prayer that through the Bible-reading and worship service, we will all come to the understanding of the essence of the National Cathedral project and support it fully.”Opoku Onyinah
The Man of God revealed that the programme is conceived as an initiative for the African diaspora to experience authentic Ghanaian Christian worship and based on one of the distinctive aspects of Ghanaian and African Christianity, the vibrancy of its worship.
“It will involve reading of the Bible by some of the African diaspora, which is one of the main activities that goes on in temples, cathedrals, and basilicas.”Opoku Onyinah