Yeji Flood Victims Send SOS To Govt, Others

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THE CHIEF and people of Cherepo and Kobre near Yeji in the Pru West District of the Brong Ahafo Region have appealed to government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to disinfect their communities in the aftermath of the recent floods which displaced many residents of the area.

Victims of the flood are at the risk of contracting possible communicable diseases if the area is not disinfected as soon as possible.

Nana Osisiri Twumasi Ankrah Kwabrafo made the appeal on Wednesday at Yeji after DAILY GUIDE had visited the area to ascertain the condition of the people after the rains had flooded their communities and displaced about 1,000 inhabitants, some of whom are currently living with family members.

According to the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Pru West, Joshua Kwaku Abonka, the assembly provided a temporary measure by ordering the closure of primary and junior high schools in the area to allow the people to use the classrooms as their dwelling and sleeping places. Unfortunately, the Pru District Assembly and district NADMO office could not provide any relief items because it was beyond their means.

Though the flood waters have not fully receded, the people have returned to their homes wading through flood waters to embark on their daily activities. The rains, according to the chief of the area, destroyed about 30 houses completely and displaced close to 1,000 people.  Some of the affected areas included the Cherepo community, a suburb of Yeji; Kobre near Yeji; the Yeji Senior High School; VRA Resettlement Primary School and English and Arabic School.

Electricity poles meant for an electrification project in the community have all been submerged. The girls’ dormitory of the Yeji Senior High School and the school park, have been flooded and students wade through water to attend classes.

The senior housemaster of the school, Eric Abonkra, told DAILY GUIDE that some of their students had been hospitalized at St. Mathias Catholic Hospital due to malaria, for which reason they are afraid that if nothing is done immediately there could be an outbreak of cholera.

The chief of Cherepo, Nana Twumesi Ankrah, who spoke to DAILY GUIDE, said the flooding of Cherepo dates back to 1960s when the people were relocated from their original place of Cherepo-Ayimade to the current place, and since then floods have occurred after every 10 years, with the worst flooding occurring in 2008.

“Resettlement houses built for us by the Volta River Authority (VRA) have all been submerged. The irony of it is that we were moved from a low lying area and told that after the dam was constructed, we would be affected but they moved us to another low lying area. We asked for resettlement fund but the VRA would not give us anything because according to them they have finished with us,” he lamented.

The DCE, Joseph Kwaku Abonkra, said the gravity of the flooding is beyond the assembly so he appealed to central government and other organizations like Zoomlion to help the community, by constructing drains to connect to the river to carry the flood waters into it or deepen an already existing pond to contain the situation.

danielyaodayee@yahoo.com

FROM Daniel Y Dayee, Yeji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam George slams gov’t over telcos tariff raise

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A member of the Communications Committee in Parliament, Sam Nartey George, says the government should be blamed for the imminent increase in the tariffs of the telcos.

He stated that government deliberately set in motion the processes that have culminated in the decision by the telcos to increase the charges on their data and call services from November 1 with the recalibration of the VAT, NHIL and GETFUND levies.

READ ALSO: You don’t support creative arts; why the high expectation? – A Plus to Gabby

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Sam George, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, described this move by the government to raise more revenue from the unsuspecting public through the telcos as ‘lazy.’

He noted that although he believes the telcos were making enough money and they are not even fully transparent about their earnings.

“This new tax levy must be placed solely at the doorstep of President Akufo-Addo and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. They are the ones who have chosen to go the lazy route in raising revenue by trying to impose a service bill tax. The better alternative would have been government expanding the base of its tax collection. But what it has done is that it has chosen the very lazy options.”

“This increase in the cost of telecommunication is not being brought about by MTN, AirtelTigo or Vodafone but by President Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori Atta. The extra money is not going to go to the Telcos, it is going to go to government.”

READ ALSO: Fear grips Akumadan SHS over rituals on school land [ Audio]

The three telcos have announced that they will increase their tariffs from November 1

Prior to the presentation of the mid-year budget, the Minority had expressed concerns about a reported increase in the Value Added Tax.

The government, however, dismissed these reports, with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta announcing instead that the National Health Insurance Fund Levy and the GETFund component would be separated from the old 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, thereby making the two components straight levies of 2.5 percent each.

The Minority maintained that the recalibration of the levies would still result in an increase in tariffs, and Sam George believes that the announcement by the telcos has vindicated the Minority.

“When it came to the floor of the House, the Minority opposed it. It’s on record that the Minority held a press conference where we indicated that one of the new taxes to be introduced was a tax on communication services but we were told that we were purveyors of doom and we were liars and that we have been swerved. Well, the truth will expose you when you tell a lie; it’s come home to roost now.”

READ ALSO: Poisonous tilapia caused by Chinese – MP asserts [Audio]

Sam George also alleged that the government plans to impose a tax on mobile money services, a plan he says the Minority will “resist vehemently”

“You cannot continue to take policy decisions that will impede people’s fundamental human right to communicate or transact business.”

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications which made the announcement in a statement said the increment is in accordance with the implementation of the new tax laws.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sam George slams gov’t over telcos tariff raise

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Sam George slams gov’t over telcos tariff raise

A member of the Communications Committee in Parliament, Sam Nartey George, says the government should be blamed for the imminent increase in the tariffs of the telcos.

According to him, government deliberately set in motion the processes that have culminated in the decision by the telcos to increase the charges on their data and call services from November 1 with the recalibration of the VAT, NHIL and GETFUND levies

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Sam George, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, described this move by the government to raise more revenue from the unsuspecting public through the telcos as ‘lazy.’

He noted that although he believes telcos were making enough money and were not even fully transparent about their earnings, in this case, he blames the government.

“This new tax levy must be placed solely at the doorstep of President Akufo-Addo and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. They are the ones who have chosen to go the lazy route in raising revenue by trying to impose a service bill tax. The better alternative would have been government expanding the base of its tax collection. But what it has done is that it has chosen the very lazy options.”

“This increase in the cost of telecommunication is not being brought about by MTN, AirtelTigo or Vodafone. It’s being brought about by President Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori Atta. The extra money is not going to go to the Telcos, it is going to go to government.”

The three telcos have announced that they will increase their tariffs from November 1

‘Vindicated’

Prior to the presentation of the mid-year budget, the Minority had expressed concerns about a reported increase in the Value Added Tax.

The government however, dismissed these reports, with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta announcing instead that the National Health Insurance Fund Levy and the GETFund component would be separated from the old 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, thereby making the two components straight levies of 2.5 percent each.

The Minority maintained that the recalibration of the levies would still result in an increase in tariffs, and Sam George believes that the announcement by the telcos has vindicated the Minority.

“When it came to the floor of the House, the Minority opposed it. It’s on record that the Minority held a press conference where we indicated that one of the new taxes to be introduced was a tax on communication services but we were told that we were purveyors of doom and we were liars and that we have been swerved. Well, the truth will expose you when you tell a lie, it’s come home to roost now.”

Mobile money tax?

Sam George also alleged that the government plans to impose a tax on mobile money services, a plan he says the Minority will “resist vehemently”

“You cannot continue to take policy decisions that will impede people’s fundamental human right to communicate or transact business.”

Ghanaians to pay more for telcos services

Barring any last minute changes, Ghanaians will from November 1, 2018, start paying more for the services rendered by the telcos.

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications which made the announcement in a statement,said the increment is in accordance with the implementation of the new tax laws.

The Chamber said “customers of telecommunication services will be notified by their service providers prior to any changes being made”

By: Edwin Kwakofi/citinewsroom.com/Ghana

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Your gov’t has done nothing for movie industry – Lydia Forson jabs Otchere-Darko

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Lydia Forson has taken a swipe at Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, after he said he felt disappointed with some Ghanaian movies he watched.

The actress described as unfortunate, that Mr Otchere-Darko, who is a leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), will criticise an industry the government has failed to support. 

“So, Mr. @GabbyDarko our problem isn’t that we don’t want to be criticized; it’s the condescension and simplification of a very complex issue, one your government promised to help with but has so far done NOTHING about”, she said in a tweeted.

She added that: “The few creatives who manage to stay have to learn the hard way that it lacks structure, funding and the right professionals for the job; and so they’re forced to cut corners, underpay people etc just to make something presentable.”

Mr Otchere-Darko ruffled some feathers after he said in a post on Facebook that he felt disheartened after watching 10 random Ghanaian movies.

“I took my time to watch randomly ten Ghanaian movies and never felt so disappointed. It brought home to me one major deficiency in our development. The apparent lack of deliberate consciousness on the part of the creative industry in the development conversation,” he said in the post.

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko

Asare Otchere-Darko noted that “The presence of the creative industry appears at best peripheral in Ghana’s development narrative. Our movies, our songs, our arts, by and large, do not impactfully plug into a greater development agenda.”

Those comments did not go down well with some industry persons including Yvonne Nelson, Adjetey Anang, Kafui Danku Lydia Forson.

Yvonne Nelson said that if the high ranking member of the NPP says he is disappointed with Ghanaian movies, she is also equally disappointed in him.

The actress, in a post on Twitter, asked, “Hello @GabbyDarko is your [post on Facebook] real?? If it is I’m also disappointed! A few of us are pushing really hard for this industry! Since our leaders have also totally abandoned the industry, we contribute too, just like nurses, doctors..etc”.

“A majority lack very little knowledge about our industry and how it works; it’s why you’re quick to jump on the bandwagon. 99.9% of the content you watched is created by people who beg for loans, sell their property etc just to create what you call crap,” Lydia Forson also said in a tweet.

Clarifying his post, Mr Otchere-Darko, who is a confidante of President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo Addo, said “I hope I have provoked a healthy debate. It is not meant to denigrate but rather to generate a discussion about using entertainment more for development, social justice and education.”

He explained further that, “There are many Ghanaian celebrities who use their influence in a positive way to promote a cause and we celebrate them. We saw many Ghanaian celebrities stepping out onto the streets during the pitch darkness of Dumsor to protest and we celebrated their activism.”

“The debate I seek to provoke, however, is that we do not have enough filmmakers, musicians, etc, using their films or music, etc, to promote social justice, educate and entertain or to plug into a greater consciousness, like the theme Ghana Beyond Aid. How do we define that theme of consciousness that has resonated across the globe to effect change in our society and beyond? How do we use our creativity to change the mindset of our people from a culture of dependency and inadequacy to one of a confident AFRICA and Africans united in knowledge of their value and ready to push harder and smarter ahead? That is not to say those leading our creative industry are not good or brilliant in what they do. No!” he added.

 

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Don’t introduce new taxes in 2019 budget – TUC to gov’t

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is asking government not to introduce new taxes in the 2019 budget.

Instead, the Union is calling for an overhaul of the existing tax exemption regime, especially for multinational companies and those in the extractive sector.

According to TUC, government must use the 2019 Budget to show how it is going to steer the economy away from taxation to production.

“We expect government to announce initiatives to plug the leakages in the tax system. We do not expect government to introduce new taxes.

“Rather, the tax exemption system must be overhauled to eliminate exemptions for some multinational companies including those that are exploiting our natural resources.

This one of many proposals in a nine-points document presented to the finance ministry for consideration in the 2019 budget.

The 2019 Budget will be the first to be presented by government after a three-year IMF-sponsored Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme which is expected to come to an end in December, 2018.

This year, the economy is reported to be growing at a relatively higher rate compared to previous years and inflation is trending downwards. The budget deficit, as a ratio of GDP, is reported to have also reduced significantly.

The 2019 Budget is, therefore, expected to tackle the persistent weaknesses in the economy as well as the numerous social and economic challenges that are making life unbearable for the majority of Ghanaians.

The TUC, therefore, expect “policies and programmes that will translate economic growth and macroeconomic stability into tangible improvements in the lives of individuals and their families in every corner of the country.”

The other areas the Union wants government to pay attention to include employment creation, rising cost of living, earnings, pensions, labour administration, housing, social partnership, sanitation and healthcare.

With a number of recommendations, TUC believes that the country is capable of managing its own affairs without IMF programmes as well as achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid dream.

“We expect the 2019 Budget Statement to lay a very strong foundation for this vision. We believe that our proposals will help reduce the widening inequality in Ghana to ensure a stable and peaceful society,” it added.

Click to read the TUC proposal

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54% of Ghanaians want gov’t to focus on economy – iPollGH survey

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More than half of respondents in a survey conducted by polling agency, iPollGH want the Akufo-Addo-led administration to focus on the economy.

Despite the government’s claims that the economy is doing well, it appears Ghanaians want more to be done in that area, the research indicates.

iPoll survey economy

As many as 54% believed there should be more focus on the economy while 21 percent said education should be the government’s priority.

The new research, measuring public perception of major government initiatives also shows many Ghanaians are unhappy with the Education Ministry’s double-track Free SHS system.

At least 59 percent of the 1072 people sampled were opposed to the system introduced to deal with overcrowding in senior high schools.

iPoll survey double track

The survey found that men were more likely to oppose double track.

Generally, they also found great opposition to the double track policy amongst the 18-31 age demographics.

The regional distribution of the findings indicate something interesting. Whereas there was majority rejection of double track system, Brong Ahafo respondents were, however, in favour of double track system whereas respondents from Western and Eastern regions were split.

iPoll survey free shs

There was, however, overwhelming support for the government’s flagship policy of fee-free senior high school education across all demographics.

They found support for it to be strongest among the most educated. In fact, 72.59% of the respondents were for it while 27.41 % were opposed.

The study was done by a team of researchers using a custom-built mobile app, iPoll.

The iPollgh mobile and web application is available to download on Android and iOS. It can also be accessed via web.

iPoll survey China

Majority of respondents were also against government’s use of the country’s resources in barter agreements with China.

Once a user registered, the researchers take some basic bio data that enables them to establish a profile of the user for sampling purposes.

These biodata include age, gender, education, profession and area of residence.

iPoll survey Cathedral

The respondents also strongly opposed the construction of a national cathedral.

Once a poll is loaded, it is pushed out to users who can then take the poll. Results are collected in real time but analysis is conducted after the stipulated period for the poll elapses.

One of the researchers, Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Kobby Mensah says details of the findings will be presented to the government and other political parties.

Click here to download the full research as presented by iPollGH

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Akufo-Addo gov’t saved Ghana paper, not $7bn – Former Energy minister ridicules

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Former Energy minister has ridiculed government’s claim it saved the taxpayer $7bn after cancelling power purchase agreements deemed surplus to requirements

Emmanuel Amarh Kofi-Buah explained the agreements couldn’t have cost the country that much because they were non-binding.

“It doesn’t become effective until you send it to parliament.  They have not saved anything it is paper they are talking about.  Power Purchase Agreements are sheets of paper until that is really formalized” 

“What are you cancelling? That agreement is already cancelled it is out no effect” he told Evans Mensah on Joy News late evening analysis show PM Express Tuesday.

PM Express Armah Kofi Buah

The government has announced, it has terminated 11 power deals signed between Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and private power producers and also rescheduled eight other agreements.

The justification given was that the agreements would increase excess capacity from over 530MW to 2,887 MW by 2021.

Government explained it cost $402m to terminate the projects to produce power. But it was worth it government explained, adding it would have been paying $586m for 13 years for power projects it would not need.

Lampooning the previous Mahama administration, the government declared a savings of  $7.619 billion over the 13 year period.

But the former Energy minister Kofi-Buah who is also NDC MP for Ellembelle constituency has called the announced cancellation a hoax.

He said the reviewed agreements is a sign of a short-sighted administration because government energy policy is to become a net exporter of power.

He said Nigeria needs 10,000MW which Ghana must seek to sell them power while it works to do same with Burkina Faso, Togo.

A visionary government, the NDC MP said, would invest in exporting power for cash. The former minister also argued the so-called excess power could prove critical to the Akufo-Addo administration’s ambitious industrialization policy.

The ‘one factory in every district’ policy needs power. 

Kofi-Buah said Ghana’s first government, the CPP administration under Kwame Nkrumah was criticised for wasting Ghana’s money in constructing Akosombo Dam to produce more power than the country needed.

Rejecting the government’s explanation that it would cost over $400m to cancel some agreements, the former Energy minister said there is no need to pay the companies when they have not started building the power projects.

Emmanuel Armah Kofi-Buah challenged government to list all the companies whose agreement with ECG has been cancelled.

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Gov’t doing things in 20 months that have not been done in 60yrs – Bawumia

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Vice President has reiterated the resolve of government to transform the country within the shortest possible time through the implementation of policies and programmes.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said after just 20 months in office, the Akufo-Addo government has done more to digitise and formalise the Ghanaian economy and society than what has pertained throughout Ghana’s 61 years of independence.

“The Akufo-Addo government is doing things, life-transforming activities and reforms, what we haven’t done as a nation over the past 61 years, in just in 20 months. We are implementing reforms that will provide the critical, soft infrastructure that will ensure that Ghana becomes a modern economy.

“In just 20 months, we have implemented policies and programmes designed to formalise the economy and make life easier for both the ordinary Ghanaian and businesses.

“For instance, today, through the use of technology, getting a Drivers’ Licence has been made easier and cut out the need to pay a middleman before accessing an essential service. This is certainly good for the ordinary Ghanaian and business.”

“This government is building a new, confident, modern Ghana through the use of technology and the implementation of critical reforms. We have delivered in this short period, and will continue to deliver in the coming days, months and years,” he maintains.

Vice President Bawumia touted the achievements of the Nana Akufo-Addo government in its short stay in office when he addressed participants at the UK-Ghana Investment Summit in Accra on Tuesday.

UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Ian Walker

Outlining a number of critical building blocks for formalisation such as ensuring unique identification (Ghana Card, to be rolled out nationwide soon), location (National Digital Property Addressing System-GhanaPostGPS implemented), seamless payment system (Mobile Payments Interoperability implemented), justice delivery (E-case tracking ongoing), improved access to education (Free SHS, E-education ongoing), and facilitating business operations (paperless port, E-registration of companies, etc), Vice President Bawumia maintained that government was committed to moving Ghana beyond aid while creating the space for the growth of the private sector.

Other reforms, such as a streamlined, online process for passport acquisition, digitisation of all land records, injecting transparency into the procurement processes by making all processes easily trackable online, and the ongoing development of a national Emergency Number linked with the emergency services, fire and police services, and designed to give a caller’s location for faster response times were all part of the jigsaw, Vice President Bawumia stated.

CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)

“In the area of health, processes are underway to ensure the speedy supply of urgently required blood and medication to isolated, hard-to-access communities through the use of drones. The processes should be completed soon, and I’m happy to say that Government is not paying a pesewa for this. It is being funded by the private sector,” he disclosed.

Vice President Bawumia urged the investor-community to take advantage of Ghana’s business-friendly environment to engage their Ghanaian counterparts to set up shop while pledging government’s commitment to staying the course of formalisation

“While we strive to make further efforts to make Ghana a leading business destination through the formalisation agenda, I will urge you to talk to your Ghanaian counterparts and explore ways we can work together to make Ghana better.

“Given what we have been able to do within this short period, you can be rest assured that we are poised to achieve even more.”

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Gov’t has lost touch with the people – TUC

The Trade Union Congress’ (TUC) has said the Akufo Addo led government has lost touch with Ghanaians as the administration insists on proceeding with the construction of a national cathedral despite public opposition.

The Labour Union is mounting pressure on government to “shelve” plans to construct a National Cathedral because it is a “misplaced priority,” and has asked that monies earmarked for the construction of the multi-million edifice could be put to better use.

The TUC has served notice if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration fails to heed its call it will “invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse.

But commenting on the TUC’s position on the matter in an interview with Starr News, Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide stated that the TUC’s is in the minority as the generality of Ghanaians are in full support of building the house of worship.

“I do not doubt the capacity of the TUC to mobilize but I want to urge the TUC to mobilize people in support of the Free SHS and want the TUC to mobilize people in support of the reintroduction of allowances both to trainee nurses and teacher trainees. I’m not aware of a groundswell against the building of the national cathedral, I know that there are some people who dissent thankfully they’re in the minority, the TUC can be in the minority on some matters like this. The TUC is a critical voice out there, major Civil Society group we have in this country but on this matter I submit that they stand alone and the vast majority of people are behind their government and its vision of providing leadership and rallying people about to develop this country especially when the people know that we’re not dipping our hands into the consolidated fund. I’m sorry but the TUC will be in the minority on this matter.”

However the Head of Research at TUC, Dr. Kwabena Nyarko Otoo insists government is getting it wrong and has refused to listen to the view of the majority of Ghanaians who are against the construction of the cathedral.

“I’m very surprised to hear that it also means that probably people are completely out of touch, but when we get there we’ll cross it, when we start the mobilization we’ll see whether we’re in the minority on this issue. On the question of the cost, the land in question should not be taken for granted that it’s just something the state is dashing. It’s valued at over $40million so that in itself is a huge contribution. We know of demolitions that will make way for the construction of this cathedral, you should also cost that one.

“Can the Minister tell us the nine judges who have been moved where are they residing and who is paying for that, is it by the churches or by the state. So when the argument is made that the state is not paying anything beyond giving the land then you know that, that argument falls flat in the face.” 

Nat’l Cathedral: TUC standing alone; majority of Ghanaians in support – Gov’t

The Akufo Addo government has rejected the Trade Union Congress’ (TUC) assertion that the building of a National Cathedral is a misplaced priority describing that position as unfortunate.

The Labour Union is mounting pressure on government to “shelve” plans to construct a National Cathedral because it is a “misplaced priority.”

President Akufo-Addo has defended his government’s decision to build the Cathedral, arguing it is a priority to the country.

“People will ask if it (national cathedral) is a priority. It is a priority among priorities. We’ll never find enough money to do everything we want to do. But we have to begin, and that’s what we have started.”

“70 percent of the population is Christian. This is the focus that strengthens the community. We find ourselves in need of a symbol that the Ghanaian nation can rally behind. We see elsewhere in the huge world monuments, and we are going to find the means to sort it out,” President Akufo-Addo said in London recently.

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) feels otherwise and has served notice if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration fails to heed its call it will “invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse.”

 “Why should a national cathedral be “a priority among priorities” in these circumstances? Why should government use scarce national resources to construct a national cathedral when we have all these social and economic challenges to deal with?

“We are fully convinced that if Ghanaians, including Christians, were to be asked individually to list their priorities for the country a national cathedral would never feature in the first one thousand items on the list of priorities, even if it features at all.

“We would like to appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to shelve this plan otherwise we will invite all Ghanaians to join us to campaign vehemently against this misplaced priority and to protect the national purse,” the TUC said in a statement.

But commenting on the TUC’s position on the matter in an interview with Starr News, Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide stated that the TUC’s is in the minority as the generality of Ghanaians are in full support of building the house of worship.

“I do not doubt the capacity of the TUC to mobilize but I want to urge the TUC to mobilize people in support of the Free SHS and want the TUC to mobilize people in support of the reintroduction of allowances both to trainee nurses and teacher trainees. I’m not aware of a groundswell against the building of the national cathedral, I know that there are some people who dissent thankfully they’re in the minority, the TUC can be in the minority on some matters like this. The TUC is a critical voice out there, major Civil Society group we have in this country but on this matter I submit that they stand alone and the vast majority of people are behind their government and its vision of providing leadership and rallying people about to develop this country especially when the people know that we’re not dipping our hands into the consolidated fund. I’m sorry but the TUC will be in the minority on this matter.”