Members of Parliament from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), both at the Foreign Affairs Committee and at plenary last night, Tuesday, December 20, 2022, scuttled the government’s 2023 plans to demolish the Accra International Conference Centre and construct a new one for €116 million (GHC 1.3 billion).
The MPs also successfully blocked proposals to open new Ghanaian embassies in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico.
MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who disclosed this in a Facebook post, said the government cannot be defaulting on its loan obligations and imposing “crude haircuts, particularly on pensions for the vulnerable aged and still be pursuing fanciful projects which can be deferred to better economic times in the future.”
This comes after the trade, industry, and tourism committee of parliament also rejected the GHC 80 million budgetary allocation for the construction of the National Cathedral.
The minority side of the committee voted against the budget in a 11:10 majority decision.
A member of the committee, Mr. Yussif Sulemana, told journalists on Tuesday, December 20, 2022: “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 GHC 339 million, and when we asked them to give us evidence of how the money was spent, it was a challenge.”
Again, he noted, “We were told that they have moved the cathedral from wherever it was to the ministry of tourism. And the question I put to them was that the organisation that is handling this cathedral, the secretariat, is it under the ministry of tourism?”
“If it’s not under the ministry of tourism, then it means that you want to use the ministry as a conduit to send the money wherever you want to send it, and we, the minority, will not accept it.”