Ghana

National Cathedral project must be completed – Egyapa Mercer

by Leticia Osei

Andrew Egyapa Mercer, the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, is seeking parliamentary support to finalize the National Cathedral project, which has been the subject of controversy.

Originally slated for completion in March 2024, the cathedral’s construction has faced delays.

During his vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee on March 5, 2024, Mr Egyapa Mercer underscored the project’s potential to significantly enhance the country’s economic growth.

Expressing his readiness to collaborate with Parliament for the cathedral’s completion, contingent on his approval, the Minister-designate emphasized the pivotal role of Parliament in ensuring the completion of the project.

“Unfortunately, I do not know the details of the financing positions of today. But it’s obvious, I believe to all of us that the private contributions that were expected weren’t as forthcoming. I recall that in the 2023 budget, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta requested some public funds to enable us to move the project to its conclusion, which was resisted by the House.

“But I will entreat [Parliament] to support the project because obviously some funding has gone in there. We cannot allow it to sit the way it’s sitting. And so, if I’m given the nod, I believe that if I have an opportunity to make a presentation to you [parliament]. I will urge the support of all, especially our colleagues on the minority side to support the completion of the project.

“I believe it will be a huge income generation for our country and will help in attracting visitors. If I have to present a budget for parliament for consideration, yes.”

He noted that the funds have ceased and stressed the need to finish the project to draw visitors.

“I sincerely believe that the National Cathedral was well intended. His Excellency the President took a position that it was something that needed to be done between the state and private faith-based organizations. And so, the state needed certain contributions. And the expectation was that the faith-based organizations were also going to make contributions to ensure that the facility was completed.”

Among others set to appear include; Lydia Seyram Alhassan, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources; Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development; Ophelia Mensah Hayford, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation; and Darkoa Newman, Minister-designate for the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection.

Background

The construction of the cathedral has faced heavy criticism from the public, with some individuals asserting that the government has not been transparent in disclosing the funds allocated for the facility’s construction.

The Founder and General Overseer of United Denominations of Action Chapel Churches Worldwide, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, and President of the Eastwood Anaba Ministries, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, resigned from the Board of Trustees overseeing the construction of the National Cathedral in Ghana on October 12.

The founder and leader of the Lighthouse Chapel International, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, also resigned from the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral project in August 2022.

The National Cathedral, a project initiated to serve as a national place of worship and a symbol of unity and pride for Ghanaians, has been a subject of debate and controversy since its inception.

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