The President of a country with almost a third of its population wallowing in abject poverty needs to be more than prudent in the usage of public funds. One would expect that President Nana Addo, having picked one of the best economists as his deputy, ought to be well informed that public resources must be directed at programmes and projects that promise very great social returns to the majority of the populace. It appears the President totally forgot his pledge to protect the public purse when he conceived the populist idea of constructing a National Cathedral.
The decision to construct a national cathedral, using a clandestine approach must be very nauseating to a God who is not necessarily interested in where worship is offered but how it is done. And even if God was so much interested, we have countless centres already serving this purpose; adding on to the numbers is illogical.
And, to appeal to Ghanaians and save itself from critique, government has offered the lame excuse that this project will be constructed through public-private partnership. Despite this lame excuse, it still makes no sense (economic or otherwise) why public resources should be expended on such a project at a time when Ghanaians are still struggling to make ends meet. Why not inject these funds into various sectors of the economy, given the challenges the country faces.
It evidently flies in the face of any logical reasoning for a government that rode to power (two years ago) on the promise of not subjecting public purse to wanton spending to turn around and seek financial support from development partners such as China. Any model (economic, social or otherwise) that leads to an increase in the country’s public debt needs restructuring. It goes without saying that any attempt to resort to borrowing as a means of plugging the fiscal hole in our budget makes mockery of President Nana Addo’s Ghana Beyond Aid clarion call. Just recently, the government went begging for crumbs from China. Ghana and China signed eight Co-operation Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in different sectors of their respective economies. We would have probably had a stronger economy if successive governments refrained from engaging in misallocation of public funds in projects such as the construction of a National Cathedral. At least not when our economy is bleeding!
Anybody keen on undertaking a midterm review of the New Patriotic Party’s performance will safely conclude that a sizable section – if not the majority – of Ghanaians who voted for Nana Addo with the hope of making a difference and cleaning up the mess Mahama created are highly disappointed.
President Nana Addo’s actions, since assuming office,have been totally incoherent with his promises during the 2016 campaign. Understandably, one is tempted to entertain the thought that Nana Addo did not take this decision out of genuine love for the church or otherwise. This is purely a move to canvass for votes in the run up to general elections in 2020.It appears to be a decision to hoodwink the Christian community into rallying behind Nana’s re-election bid, and it smacks of unbearable hypocrisy.
The argument that the construction of a National Cathedral will foster congenial relations with religious leaders is not only laughable but also ridiculous. It is an argument rooted in palpable falsehood. A move that will favour about 70% of Christians [majority] will only irk minority groups and might even cause tensions among various religious groups. As Member of Parliament for Tamale North constituency, Suhuyini Alhassan posited, the only way to save the situation is for government to also construct a national mosque and a national shrine. So, while the government engages in wasteful and frivolous spending with the hope that China will always bail it out, it should be minded that its actions – or the lack of it- will affect not only the current but successive generations. It therefore needs to get its priorities right and do the things that matter most first.
By: Marian Ansah/citinewsroom.com/Ghana