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Construction of National Cathedral: We are making progress – Akufo-Addo

by Isaac Mintah
Construction of National Cathedral: We are making progress - Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has stated that stakeholders in the ongoing construction of the National Cathedral project are making progress and getting close to the completion of what he says will be an iconic monument on the African continent.

Construction of National Cathedral: We are making progress - Akufo-Addo

Speaking at the National Cathedral Bible Reading Marathon Thanksgiving Service held at the site of the National Cathedral, Ridge, Accra, today 2 January 2023, President Akufo-Addo said he is grateful to the group of eminent clergymen and women who have “taken it upon themselves the responsibility of shepherding the project to completion”.

The process for the construction of the National Cathedral began with my announcement on 6 March 2017, our 60th independence anniversary. The following year in March 2018, on our 61st independence anniversary, I unveiled the compelling design by British-Ghanaian Architect Sir David Adjaye for the Cathedral, President Akufo-Addo said.

Construction of National Cathedral: We are making progress - Akufo-Addo

“On the eve of our 63rd anniversary on 5 March 2020, I was here at the ground breaking ceremony signaling the commencement of the construction of the National Cathedral.

“Today 2 January 2023, I am here at the site to join you to climax the Bible-reading marathon and to partake in the celebration of the laying of the foundation for the National Cathedral. We are getting close,” Akufo-Addo added.

President Akufo-Addo, to demonstrate his commitment to the project and to encourage all Ghanaians to donate GHc100.00 a month toward the project, donated GHc 100,000.00 to the NCG.

The three-fold rationale

In his address, President Akufo-Addo reiterated the three main reasons behind his decision to mobilize support for the construction of the Cathedral.

Firstly, since gaining our freedom from the colonial power sixty-three years ago on the 6th of March 1957, Ghana has so far been spared civil war, famine and epidemics. We are certainly no better than the other nations in our neighborhood who have been confronted with these challenges. I believe it is by the grace of God that we have been preserved and sustained.”

The construction of the Cathedral will be an act of thanksgiving to the Almighty for His blessings, grace, favour and mercies on our nation, President Akufo-Addo said.

Construction of National Cathedral: We are making progress - Akufo-Addo

Secondly, President Akufo-Addo had noted, “71% percent of the Ghanaian people identified as Christian religion grouped under the various persuasions of the Christian Faith.

The interdenominational National Cathedral will help unify the Christian community and thereby help promote national unity and social coercion, the President said.

Lastly, President Akufo-Addo noted that he made a pledge to Almighty God that if He was gracious enough to make him President, he would help build a cathedral to His glory and honour. “I am determined to redeem this pledge,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

Commitment to NC project

Apostle Opoku Onyinah, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral Ghana (NCG) quoted from the book of Ezra 3:6 and 11 in the Bible which states; “6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.

“11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid”.

He noted, that the National Cathedral was planned as a truly national interdenominational initiative that will mobilize Church leaders, Church denominations and para-Church organizations for three days of Bible reading.

“Ultimately, our goal was to focus attention on the essence off the National Cathedral project and its Bible Museum on the other hand and promote Christian unity amongst the various denominations in our country,” Apostle Opoku Onyinah said.

The celebration of the laying of the foundation is also a timely reminder that the building of the National Cathedral is not completed. We therefore pray that through the Bible reading and worship, we will come to the understanding of the essence of the National Cathedral and continue to support it fully, he added.

Progress of work / Accountability

Dr. Paul Opoku Mensah, Executive Director of the National Cathedral Ghana Secretariat on his part gave a status report on the project. He noted that the site facilities has been completed and five cranes have been purchased and delivered to the site, three of which have been installed to date.

The NCG boss added that the Secretariat has judiciously accounted for all funds it has received for the state or through donations and same has been submitted to Parliament.

“An area of about 70,000 square meters has been cleared, about 120 trees within the construction perimeter have been retained. Existing services on site, electricity, water, sewage, telecommunication have been relocated.

“About 230 square meters of soil has been excavated and removed from site. About 1,400 square meters of concrete have been laid on the site so far and about 1,900 tonnes of rebar have been purchased and delivered to site,” Dr Opoku Mensah said.

“About 220 tonnes of rebar have been installed up to date. 10,000 square meters of water proven material have been purchased and are being installed.

“The idea that somehow, we (NCG) took the funds and just dug a hole is simply mischievous. A record of all these activities I have mentioned supported by detailed pictures have all been submitted to Parliament,” he added.

Final count-down

Dr Opoku Mensah called on the Church in Ghana to stand with the NCG and to raise 1 million Ghanaians who will donate GHc100.00 a month to ensure that the project is completed before the end of 2024.

We look forward to you all joining us in this final countdown of fund raising towards the completion of this historic and game changing infrastructure, Dr Paul Opoku Mensah, the Executive Director of the National Cathedral Ghana Secretariat said.

The National Cathedral project

The proposed National Cathedral project which is currently under construction in Accra, once completed and fully operational, is projected to raise in excess of about USD$ 95,000,000.00 million dollars in revenue within the first 5 years of operation.

Conceived by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as a physical embodiment of unity, harmony and spirituality, the Ghana National Cathedral will be the nation’s ceremonial landmark, Ghana’s ‘mother church’, where all denominations are welcomed to gather, worship and celebrate in spiritual accord.

Scope of the vision

The project, now described as ‘the complex’ comprises three projects; The National Cathedral of Ghana, The Biblical Gardens of Africa, and The Bible Museum of Africa, will have 10 revenue streams, out of which the projected revenue is to be raised.

The revenue streams are; admissions into the Cathedral, the Museum, and the Biblical Gardens. The others are; memberships, restaurant, coffee café, event catering, gift shop, meeting space rental, special events, on-line merchandise and on-line education.

Revenue estimates

According to projections made by the Secretariat of the Board of Trustees, the National Cathedral is expected to receive about 400,000 visitors annually from Africa, other parts of the world and from within Ghana.

It is estimated that 30% of the visitors (120,000) will be foreigners and 70% (280,000) will be people living and working in Ghana.

Out of the 70%, they indicate that 40% (160,000) will be adults, 20% (80,000), will be children between the ages of 10 -17, and 10% (40,000) will be what they have termed groups.

They further project that adults (from outside Ghana) at an entrance fee of $15.00 multiplied by the estimated 120,000 visitors annually, will generate some USD $1,800,000.00.

On the domestic front, the Secretariat projects that the 40% (160,000) adults in Ghana at a fee of USD $ 8.00, will see the National Cathedral generating about USD $1,280,000.00.

The 20% (80,000), children between the ages of 10 -17, at a fee of USD $6, will generate USD $ 480,000.00 annually and the 10% (40,000), referred to as groups, at a fee of USD $10.00, will bring to the Cathedral some USD $ 400,000.00.

Special Museum exhibits are also projected to bring in about USD$ 2,400,000.00, bringing the annual projected revenue target through attendance alone to USD$6,360,000.00.

Managers of the facility estimate that out of 400,000 Museum attendance, 100,000 other paid admissions and 10,000 non-attendance buyers, they will be able to raise USD$1,080,000.00 from the gift shop and food revenue.

Revenues via the restaurant and coffee café is also estimated at USD$ 1,770,000.00 as well as a projected revenue of USD$1,601,600.00 for all other catering service, bringing the total annual revenue from the gift shop and all other food services to USD$ 4,451,600.00 annually.

Museum membership

Museum memberships globally, are very popular and have been used to create a customer loyalty program as well as a good source of regular income for several museums across the globe.

Officials of the National Cathedral plan to use the pre-opening time of three years, to raise USD$12,000,000.00, by offering a limited number of “Founding Memberships”; “Presidential Founding Memberships”; and “Chairman Founding Membership Circle”.

Overall, the National Cathedral estimates that within one year of operation, it will generate about UD$ 23,618,606.00 and by the 5th year, its revenue will hit USD $95,555,419.00.

Birthing of the vision

On March 6, 2017, President Akufo-Addo out-doored his vision for the construction of a National Cathedral to be sited close to the State House in Accra.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, President described the proposed cathedral as an inter-denominational worship project which is also a thanksgiving gesture to God for the blessings God has bestowed on Ghana on the occasion of its 60th anniversary.

The architectural and structural design of the National Cathedral was done by British-Ghanaian Architect Sir David Adjaye, the founder and principal of Adjaye Associates.

The National Cathedral will house chapels and baptistery, a 5000-seater main auditorium which will be expandable to a 15,000-seater capacity for national events and celebrations, among other facilities.

President Akufo-Addo on 5 March 2020, laid the foundation stone which was imported from the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, the Holy Land, at the exact spot where the altar of the Cathedral will be situated when the building is completed to signify the commencement of constructions works.

By: Wilberforce A Asare

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