Executive Director, National Cathedral of Ghana (NCG), Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah, has called for a national discussion on the relevance or otherwise of the religious edifice.
“This historic, and game-changing project, – the National Cathedral of Ghana – deserves a more elevated national conversation on its nature, funding, and relevance than has been the case so far.”
A statement signed by the Executive Director and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the Secretariat of the NCG was committed to that elevated discussion on the project, and to an open and transparent process of communication.
It said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his first official announcement on the project on March 6, 2017, underscored the nature of the project as a national cathedral for interdenominational worship services for the nation.
The statement said subsequent elaborations, led to three main reasons as the rationale for the project namely; gesture of thanksgiving, symbol of the Christian presence and contributions to the nation; and a personal pledge to God.
It said of the three reasons, the personal pledge came to be associated with the Cathedral as a “private” project that needed to be developed without state support.
The statement said for the avoidance of doubt, the National Cathedral is a National Monument, and thus a public, not private, project.
It said legally, the NCG was a state-owned company limited by guarantee, and was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) on July 18, 2019.
“We hope this brings to a closure the seemingly vexatious issue of whether the National Cathedral is a private or public initiative. The National Cathedral is a National Monument and Asset, and not a private project. It is, however, being developed in partnership between the State and the Church,” the statement said.
It said the President, in introducing the National Cathedral indicated that although it was a National Monument, he was determined that its building would not put undue financial burdens on the State.
Thus, the President proposed a partnership between the State and the Ghanaian Christian community, at home and in the Diaspora, to develop it.
Within the partnership, the role of the State was specified as follows: “Appointment of the Architect and Design team; the Land and its Preparation; setting up and equipping the Secretariat, and seed money.”
The statement said the release of the seed money, as Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, indicated in his Talking Point discussion on June 13, 2022, was thus a practical response to the commitment made by the State to the National Cathedral project, which the Minister informed Parliament, and the nation, in his Budget presentation in November 2018.
It said given the need for the public to understand that partnership, in particular the role of the State, all publications from the Secretariat, including the National Cathedral Update, sent individually to members of Parliament, included that structure and the role of the State.
“Seed Money” for the National Cathedral, as part of the role of the State in the project, should, therefore, be public knowledge, the statement said.
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Today’s front pages: Monday, June 27, 2022