Following agitations by the staff of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) currently in demanding for salary increment and bonuses despite a myriad of challenges, including the huge debt overhang, Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyeman the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in an exclusive interview with tnpnewsonline.com has described the workers as making unreasonable demands at this point. 

“There is a debt overhung of GHS19 billion and normally when a business goes into such level of crisis, it either folds up or cuts the number of staff dramatically so that it can survive… But we are not cutting off any body,” he told tnpnewsonline.com.

Hon Owusu-Agyeman explained that under his chairmanship at COCOBOD, last year, two months’ salary with interest free loan was granted to workers adding that 10% increment in salary was also given to them with all allowances paid.
‘How can we borrow to pay salaries and bonuses?, We are trying to ask them to be more efficient and restore COCOBOD to profitability’ he pointed out .

‘Farmer price has not been increased for the past three years. President did not bring me there to collapse the industry. My interest is for farmers and not workers’ Hon Owusu-Agyeman said.

Hon Owusu-Agyeman added that ‘I believe the farmers who toil and sweat, if there is any benefit, must come to them.”

‘I believe that if there is any group of people who are to be pampered then it should be the farmers who suffer most with snake bites’ Hon Owusu-Agyeman revealed.
Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyeman made the above statement as some workers of COCOBOD are accusing him currently that he does not listen to their concerns and does not have their interest at heart.

Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyeman said ‘Workers should not see decisions coming from the board as my personal one. It’s a collective decision of all board members’.
He added that ‘We are only asking them to be reasonable at this point and when things are better whatever due workers will be given to them’.

Hon Owusu-Agyeman averred that the industry is making losses and that they should appreciate what government is doing for them and have the interest of farmers at heart.

Hon Owusu-Agyeman revealed that despite this fall in price, government is paying cocoa farmers $400 more for one tonne of cocoa than the current world market price.
Again,the government is forced to pay because of the forward sale policy which offers farmers guaranteed price for the commodity agreed with farmers long before harvesting time.

Source: tnpnewsonline.com/ Samuel Appah-Peniel

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