Page last updated at 20:29 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Ghana unveils presidential palace

Golden Jubilee House, Accra
The building was constructed with a loan from India

Ghana has inaugurated a presidential palace costing tens of millions of dollars in the capital, Accra.

The Golden Jubilee House, unveiled weeks before presidential elections, will house the president's offices and serve as a residence.

The main opposition party, the NDC, has raised objections to the cost of the luxurious palace.

But its leader, John Atta-Mills, has said he will not boycott the building if elected as president in December.

The original budget was $30m (19m), financed by a loan from the Indian government.

The palace was built by an Indian contractor using Ghanaian sub-contractors.

'Chief's house'

The final cost has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be $45-50m, the BBC's David Amanor reports from Accra.

The main office complex resembles a traditional seat, important in Ghana's folklore, and the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum built for the country's first president and representing a tree cut off in its prime.

The opposition has said the government has got its priorities wrong at a time when Ghana should be investing in infrastructure, health and education.

But at a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests and dignitaries on Monday, President John Kufuor said people look to the seat of government for "national cohesion, aspirations, and inspiration".

"Even in a hamlet everybody knows the chief's house, which is the first port of call for all visitors," he said.

The information minister has said Ghanaians should not worry about the cost, but rather think of the value the new palace brings.

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