Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has assured the nation that expenditure on the National Cathedral will pay off in the future as the project was designed to double as an investment.
Beyond serving the spiritual needs of the country, Mr Ofori-Atta said the project was well crafted to double as a tourist attraction to Christians in Ghana, Africa, and the world at large.
He mentioned the planned Bible Museum and the inclusion of trees and artefacts of Biblical background in the cathedral as avenues to attract tourists.
Through the tourists, the Minister said a substantial foreign exchange would flow into the economy to support the country’s revenue needs as well as payoff for the cost of construction.
Consequently, he said the country should rally around the Board of Trustees, comprising eminent men of God and the government, to make the project a success.
Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking in an interview alongside the Chief Executive Officer of the National Cathedral Project, Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah.
The two used the opportunity to clear some misconceptions about the project, including the cost to the state and the amount spent on it so far.
It also allowed them to clear the air on the amount invested so far from the public purse.
The Finance Minister said the government was mindful of taxpayers’ money being used to support the building of the National Cathedral and as such, was strategising to ensure that monies pumped into the construction were recouped within the shortest possible time after completion.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the current economic challenges should not deter the state from fulfilling its responsibility of building a monument that had huge investment potential.
“At any point in time when these buildings were built in Europe, was it ever the right time? How do we fund it will become the question,” he said.
“Is the Executive mindful of the current situation? We shouldn’t snuff out our religiousness or spirituality because we are poor. The Lord will understand if we put our widow’s mite in there”, he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta said concerns about the cost of the project to the taxpayer were genuine but should be constructive and conscious of the facts to help enrich the discourse.
He believed the raging debate on the financial prudence and relevance of the National Cathedral was misguided.
“That question being asked is that are we spending money from state coffers? Is that too much to do because we are politicising it. Do we really want to stop it? That is going to be my question.”
He further assured the public that his outfit would ensure that spending on the project was prudent and transparent to help make it beneficial to the economy.
“As a Minister of Finance, we are looking at resources and how much we put in there at every point in time that is sensible and so as we speak, we have spent less than one-thousandth of our expenditure on that,” Mr Ofori-Atta noted.