The Catholic Church in Ghana has petitioned the government to re-consider returning ownership of the Church’s development projects which are solely financed by its donors in the country.
The Church has also pleaded with the government to intervene in the ‘exorbitant’ annual payments of resident permits by its missionaries who had come into the country to help and not transact business.
In a meeting with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House on Monday, the President of the Catholic Bishop Conference, Most Reverend Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, said these challenges encountered by the Church were impeding the flow of work.
Accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński, Most Reverend Gyamfi said the Catholic Church in Ghana is part of an international body that receives yearly support from donor agencies such as the Catholic Church in Rome, the Vatican Church in the US and Europe to assist in its development projects.
He said these donor agencies had sort ownership of projects solely financed by them—schools, healthcare and as it happens in other countries, they are not sure whether the Church will continue to own these projects and use them for the purposes for which they were financed.
“When these are not done, they (donors) tend to limit their support which is beginning to show in the monies they send to support projects undertaken here in Ghana.”
Most Reverend Gyamfi indicated that when the donors are not very clear, “they also limit how much assistance they can offer to support the development projects.”
He said that apart from the Catholic Church’s cardinal aim of winning souls, the Church also engages in social issues—education, health governance, Justice, peace, and social work among others, for which the Church is committed.
On the issue of resident permits by the Church’s missionaries in Ghana, Most Revered Gyamfi explained that the missionaries had not come into the country to transact business but rather to give.
“They come with money and resources and experience to help in remote areas and some cases are not even paid since it is sacrificial work.”
Most Revered Gyamfi said it appears in acquiring their resident permits and maintaining them, “they are asked to pay and make contributions like probably any other businessman or woman pay annually for their resident permits.”
The Most Reverend announced the funeral and burial date of the late Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr which is scheduled for the 12th of January 2023.
In his response to the Church’s request, President Akufo-Addo said matters about the relationship between the Church and the State raised are some of the possibilities of disagreements between the Government of Ghana and the Holy Sea.
The President stated that he would need to be advised by the Foreign Ministry to proceed to formally engage the Church on the matter and a final determination made.
He said it was a sad development for Ghana that a very worthy man who got to the top of his profession as it were that he should suffer this untimely exit “but then as we all know; the Almighty has his plan for each one of us.”
President Akufo-Addo expressed once again his condolences to the family and the Catholic Church.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD