Top Officials Pocket Over C70,000 Monthly Amid Cocoa Losses

Whether the COCOBOD CEOs salaries are cut or not, the monthly pay of some top officials of the board remain higher than that of the president of the Republic of Ghana!

The new chairman of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman has stressed the need and relevance of government’s plan to cut down the salaries of top management officials of COCOBOD, describing the current pay packets which range from GHc 70,000 as “unthinkable”.

Speaking on Citi Eyewitnesses News, Mr Owusu-Agyeman emphasized that the COCOBOD being a government owned institution, must be included within the same remuneration structure with other state services.

The COCOBOD chairman explained that both before and after effecting the planned 50% reduction, the salaries of some top officials of the board will still stand above the monthly remuneration of any government officer under article 71 of the constitution which is stands at a maximum of GHc22,000.

For me, it is absolutely unthinkable that the gross salary of the Chief Executive Officer should be in the neighbourhood of GHc 70,000 to GHc 75,000 a month, and the net is about GHc 55, 000 to GHc 57,000 a month. If you even discount this by 50 percent, it would still be higher than anybody under article 71 of the constitution, Hackman noted.

Owusu-Agyeman stressed the need to keep officials’ salaries at per with the amount of work they do, as well as within the capabilities of the country’s economy. He also stated that the COCOBOD CEOs salaries reduction is very necessary to cut down expenses, especially while considering the fact that cocoa has been yielding losses for some years now.

The country’s Balance of Trade for the month of February, 2017, as released by the Central Bank of Ghana substantiates this as it revealed a 10% decrease in total cocoa revenue; from 688.5 million dollars to 619 million dollars between February 2016 and February, 2017.

Also See: Ghana Imported 15,500 Tons of Cocoa in 2014/2015 Crop Year

Speaking further, Mr. Agyeman lamented the skyrocketing of COCOBOD CEOs salaries over the past three years. He noted the untold exploitation of the cocoa farmers by this outrageous remuneration of their supervisors – the CEOs; pointing out how the farmers who are the people doing the actual work are subjected to poor living conditions.

Making reference to the Ghc2 million budgetary allocation to cocoa farmers’ children, he said that the amount is just the total gross salary of the two or three executives of the board. He concluded by saying that “those who do the work should benefit more than anybody else”.

Hackman Owusu-Agyeman who is the current MP for New Juabeng North constituency, was sworn in as Chairman of COCOBOD by President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, 28th March, alongside other board members. Owusu-Agyemang has served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Interior and Minister for Water, Works and Housing, all under the erstwhile Kufuor administration.

He succeeds Daniel Ohene Agyekum, the immediate-past Board Chairman of the Board. The President during the swearing in ceremony, charged him, together with other newly sworn in members to rid COCOBOD of corruption and to work hard to raise Ghana’s cocoa yield to 1 million tonnes per annum.

The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) formerly known as the Cocoa Marketing Board, is a government-controlled institution that sees to the welfare of cocoa production and selling in Ghana; the world’s second largest producer of the commodity.

Among other responsibilities, the Cocobod fixes the prices of cocoa; this is to protect farmers from the ever unstable prices prevalent on the global market. The board also conduct researches on on cocoa plant diseases, as well as provides farmers with higher quality hybrid seeds.

Stephen Kwabena Opuni was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cocobod since 2013, until he was dismissed earlier in 2017 by President Akufo-Addo over corruption allegations.

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