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Disagreement over Presidential Palace
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General News of Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Source: GNA

Disagreement over Presidential Palace

Accra, July 17, GNA - Members of Parliament visiting the construction site of the Presidential Palace on Tuesday expressed divided opinions the project, which is expected to house the Presidential Offices, Vice President, conference halls, banquet halls, waiting rooms, offices and a Presidential Villa, home to the President of Ghana.

Some of them described the project as long overdue, while others said the people were not going to get value for their money since the building had not been structured to stand the test of time.

Others were happy that at long last Ghana was about joining the league of nations with Presidential Palaces, citing countries in the region such as Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal. Some just looked on in amazement at the work going on and praised the company for its handling of the project.

Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader told the Ghana News Agency that he was not impressed at all. He said he was not happy with the project since "we are not going to leave a befitting place for a future President.

"This is just a model that cannot last up to 30 years and if we are talking about leaving a befitting edifice, we should be talking about excellence that would last for the test of time, about 100 years."

He argued that, "the landscape is limited and dictates how the project should be carried out. I do not think this befits the status of modern Ghana, the Ghana that we want to leave for our children." When asked that the White House for instance, has new and old wings, Mr Babgin said the place is not cut out for any expansion since the current project would be covering virtually the entire site and would leave no room for expansion of future developments.

"I do not see any vision to put up any future developments I thought we would like to put up something in tune with current world leaders and if we are to lead Africa, then we must show the way." On the full cost of the Project, Mr Bagbin said the current sum was colossal, and said the additional wing for visiting Presidents, relocating the military and the new water reservoir and sewage system that would be added would definitely push the cost to the range of 50 million dollars.

He said the amount was not worth it, "I was expecting a much more magnificent building. If I was to site a Presidential Palace, I will not site it here, because of the security concerns and the fact that it was too much in the centre of the city. There are other places to look at and considering the arms of government, judiciary, legislature and the executive you would want to give a symbolic gesture to them so that that the honour and respect would be accorded. I would not come to hide a Presidential Palace in the midst of this confusion, right in the city. I was expecting something better than this."

Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning expressed satisfaction about progress of work and noted that it was about time that Ghana had her own presidential palace like other countries.

He said as a nation we have started from somewhere and it was worth the effort and we would soon have a seat of government of our own. Mr Baah-Wiredu said such an edifice could also attract a lot of tourists that could earn Ghana a lot of revenue and respect. He said it was important for the country to make money from the project. He called for the next generation to be considered whenever we are doing everything and justified.

On what the Minority Leader said about the Project, Mr Baah-Wiredu said Mr Bagbin is not an engineer and cannot argue firmly on the matter.

" . I can say that even for our normal old houses we build, they last for several years. No one can say that the foundation for this project was not done well and we are all witnesses that this project is going on quite well. I visit here very often, about 10 times a week, and I am sure of what I am saying. What we should cultivate is the spirit of maintenance."

He said the Palace would not be completed at a go There should be additions and I can say that we would continue for years to come.

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