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Religious Affairs Minister goes hard on churches

The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has announced plans to set up a charity commission to evaluate and audit the humanitarian activities of churches.

The Commission, according to the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, will audit the activities of churches at the end of every year and ensure that they use their financial resources for their intended humanitarian purposes.

Answering questions on calls for churches to be taxed when the ministry took its turn at the meet the press series on Wednesday, Mr. Dzamesi said “a charity Commission is the option and not taxes for now.”

“What we intend doing is to set up what we call a charity commission whereby all churches will be registered so that at the end of the year, the commission will see to the work of the churches and see how they have used their resources for the betterment of their people. So a charity commission is the option and not taxes”.

He also stated that the ministry was ready to present the national policy on religion to government.

He said under the policy all churches will be compelled to register under the existing religious bodies such as the Catholic Secretariat, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), and the Independent Council of Churches.

“We are almost ready to present the national policy on religion to government, I think the last but one cabinet meeting, this policy will be presented and we will see our way forward. With the presentation of national policy on religion then, of course, every church must comply and ensure that they live up to expectation,” he said.

“Therefore what we have to do now is to ensure that every church in this country falls under one of these well-established councils if it doesn’t happen like that, then, of course, we will look out for them.”

“These are bodies that are well established and are functioning very well and therefore all churches who want to be regulated and want to follow a certain way of worship must register with these councils, and from what I have seen is that all those churches who fall under for example, Christian councils are able to regulate themselves and have norms and values of what they are supposed to do“, he added.

He added that the ministry will deal with any church that does not fall under any of the existing Christian councils in the country.

This according to the Minister will be done through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), the Municipal and District assemblies.

“What we will be doing now is to liaise with the MMDCEs because they are the ones who register the churches in their Municipal and District assemblies, so we liaise with them, so that they will be able to know all those churches who don’t fall under any of these already existing councils and then we deal with them,” he emphasized.