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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ghana hell bent on spending $500m to $1bn on “New Jerusalem” National Cathedral –

The Vice President of policy think tank, IMANI-Africa, Bright Simons, claims that government has decided to spend an amount ranging from $500 million to $1 billion on the construction of the National Cathedral project.

He made this assertion in an X post on December 5, when sharing his views on Ghana receiving clearance from its creditors for an external debt restructuring. He noted that Ghana’s external creditors,, such as China may not grant the country approval to restructure its debt due to the amount being spent on the National Cathedral project.

“I’m beginning to get the feeling that when creditors see that Ghana is hell bent on spending $500m to a $1 billion to turn its capital into a “New Jerusalem”, they feel emboldened to play hardball. It’s like, “these people got dough, but they wanna play us,” Mr Simons wrote.

Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has called for a strategic reassessment of the current discussions on the construction of the National Cathedral, emphasizing its potential as a significant driver of economic growth.

During the Ghana Tourism Investment Summit 2023, Ofori-Atta pointed out the cathedral’s role as a robust infrastructure that could greatly enhance the tourism sector.

He envisioned the cathedral becoming a pilgrimage destination for millions of Christians across Africa, potentially attracting visitors with an average spending of $3,000 each, translating into substantial economic benefits for the country.

“As we look at something like the Cathedral that has economic benefits beyond what we see…In Africa, we have some 600 million people who are Christians so imagine Ghana as the new Jerusalem and these 600 million people floating through with $3,000 to spend, it is a very different reality.”

Despite the ongoing debates and controversies surrounding the cathedral project, Ofori-Atta urged a more constructive approach, suggesting that the government should carefully consider the cathedral’s potential to contribute to Ghana’s economic development.

“Even as we contend with it and fight about it, let’s think of this triangle and find a reason why we should also add that as part of the infrastructure base as we build a society with a strong, resilient, and robust future,” he emphasized.

The Finance Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to transforming the tourism and arts industry, recognizing its immense economic potential for driving growth and generating employment opportunities.

He acknowledged the multiplying impact of the tourism sector, emphasizing its ability to positively influence other industries and enhance overall economic well-being.

National Cathedral

Conceived as a physical embodiment of unity, harmony and spirituality, the Ghana National Cathedral will be the nation’s ceremonial landmark, Ghana’s mother Church, where all denominations are welcomed to gather, worship and celebrate in spiritual accord.

The National Cathedral will serve as a venue for formal state occasions of a religious nature such as Presidential Inaugural Services, State Funerals, and National Thanksgiving Services, amongst others.

The cathedral will include; 5,000 permanent seat auditorium,which expands to 15,000 seats, Baptistery Chapel, Conference Center, Grand Ballroom and Restaurant, Music and Choir Areas, National Crypt and Chapels.

Not all Ghanaians are enthused about the construction of the cathedral amidst an ailing economy. They want government to focus such resources on more productive sectors of the economy which would provide more jobs to address the unemployment rate in the country.

So far, millions of dollars have been spent on the construction of the cathedral which has currently stalled due to lack of funds.

theindependentghana.com

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