Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng is calling for a rethink into the use of cocoa funds particular with the cocoa road project.
He said projects such as the Cocoa Road projects is contributing to the financial difficulties of COCOBOD and it is about time leaders define the core mandates of the Ghana Cocoa Board to save it from total collapse; adding that as members of parliament he would hope they would avert their minds to these matters.
Mr. Eric Opoku had accused the government for awarding more cocoa roads amounting to GHS 13.6 billion prior to the 2020 elections, having criticized the National Democratic Congress administration for doing same to the tune of GHS 5.1 billion.
But the Obuasi West insists that the political leadership of this country both past and present must make a clear decision what we want COCOBOD to do, otherwise, we risk destroying not just COCOBOD but ultimately, the industry that COCOBOD leads”.
Responding to comment from Mr. Eric Opoku about current financial position of the Ghana Cocoa Board in which he alluded to the debts the institution finds itself as per the 2020 Auditor General’s Report, and how COCOBOD is not giving the farmers some of the benefits due them as indicated by the finance Minister, Mr. Kwarteng said the reality is that “one of the challenges of COCOBOD which in my view is threatening the industry is the political unwillingness to review incentives we give to producers of cocoa even when the return we are getting as a country are inadequate.” “As such the assumption is that whatever it is cocoa farmers have votes so find money somewhere and make the cocoa farmers happy”.
He advised that motivation for cocoa farmers is very important, and we see in this statement, efforts by not just this administration but also previous regimes to help the cocoa farmer. What we have not critically analyzed is where we are getting the resources from in order to provide the incentives that Hon. Eric Opoku said is not inadequate.”
He said unless they sit down to review the workings of COCOBOD again, look at the finances of COCOBOD, we will continue doing politics with COCOBOD and in the end destroy the industry.