Parliament’s Trades and Industry Committee has suspended the approval process for an amount of GH¢80 million allocated for the construction of the National Cathedral.
The allocation, was the first time an amount had been explicitly made in lieu of the project, with previous disbursements made out of the Contingency Fund.
According to Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, over GH¢330 million has so far been expended from the fund.
The 2023 allocation was made in respect of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), but the Committee’s said the previous disbursements will need to be justified along with the new allocation for the budgeted sum to be approved.
Tamale Central Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed who disclosed the development to Accra-based JoyNews on December 13, said the suspension will be in place till justification for the allocation is made.
“What the Committee decided was that we cannot just approve this GH¢80 million, we must know how the other GH¢339 million was spent. What did it constitute?
“The GH¢80 million you want us to approve, how did it find space in the budget line of the Ministry of Tourism when the Minister and the directors could not speak to the questions we were asking? What constitutes the GH¢80 million, they should give us a breakdown,” he stressed.
The cathedral project and Akufo-Addo’s luxury jet travels have become topical in recent months with the minority in Parliament pushing for disclosures on how much the state is spending on both.
Whiles efforts to get official records of the cost of the presidential jet travels have serially failed even through Parliament, the issue of the National Cathedral recently got concrete answers, especially from the Minister of Finance.
Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed while appearing before an ad hoc committee of Parliament that monies paid in lieu of the project were drawn from the Contingency Fund.
For the first time, government also included an expenditure item relating to the project in the 2023 budget with an amount of GH¢80 million cedis earmarked for disbursement.