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National Cathedral: There is no need to rush project – Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has called on the Akufo-Addo-led administration to consider pacing the construction of the National Cathedral project.

According to him, it is not feasible to be undertaking such a costly project with speed while the country is still reeling from harsh economic conditions.

In a recent development, Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simmons had revealed that the cost for the construction of the National Cathedral had jumped from the previous $350million to $400million.

Critics have also warned that the cost would inflate exponentially should the institutions and persons affected by the construction be added to the current amount.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, Okudzeto Ablakwa stated that the opacity that has shrouded the activities of the government in relation to the construction cost and details has rendered the project unpopular even among the Christian community that the project is said to target.

“Look, if after what you’ve told the courts, what you’ve told the venerable clergy, you realize that probably you’re having difficulty with fundraising – what I have picked up talking to people associated with this project is that the fundraising has not been very good.

“What you’ll do as the Christian Council is now demand and be transparent with the Ghanaian people, with Parliament, with all of us and say that ‘look, fundraising has not been very good.

“That itself should give you a certain message about what Christians are considering a priority now. If within Christians, we’re not seeing such euphoria to support this project; that itself should send you a certain message.

“You come clean, let’s have a national debate, ‘should we do this project now, considering our current economic crisis?’ if we say we should do it someway, how do we do it? How do we pace ourselves?” he said.

The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee noted that most major Cathedrals across the world were not built within such a limited time period as Ghana’s Cathedral has been scheduled.

He said “Washington National Cathedral, which there is a lot of talk about, 82 years construction period; the Cologne Cathedral, 74 years; the St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, 75 years; Notre Dame, the first phase 25 years; Milan Cathedral, 579 years; I can go on and on.

“So why are we in a hurry to do ours within 4 years, or 3 years, with a March 2024 completion deadline? And we are breaking our backs, I mean, demolishing everything in sight to construct that. Is that the best model?”

He also called on the government to embrace transparency and accountability just as the Christian Council has requested and come clean on the issues surrounding the project for proper national consensus to be reached on how the project should proceed.

“So you come clean, achieve a certain buy-in; that is what a democracy is about,” he said.

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