The new Board Chairman of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, has condemned what he says are “outrageous” salaries for top management of the state institution.
Mr Hackman has since called for alignment of the Board’s salary with the state remuneration structure.
“COCOBOD is a state institution. It cannot be taken out of the context of the overall remuneration structure and within the executive and those ancillary services,” Mr. Owusu-Agyeman told Citi FM.
President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday sworn in former Housing Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman as Board Chairman of COCOBOD, urging him to secure higher yields for Ghana’s flagship commodity.
Mr. Owusu-Agyeman has hit the ground running and has suggested a cut in the salaries of the top management of COCOBOD.
“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,” he noted.
The new COCOBOD Chair said the fact that the salary of the COCOBOD Chief Executive Officer dwarfed the President’s salary was problematic given that “at the end of the day, we have to be able to say that the work that is being done is getting reasonable levels of remuneration commensurate with the work that they do, and also within the context of the Ghanaian economy.”
The fact that COCOBOD is not even making profits also compounds the issue and makes the cuts necessary, according to Mr. Owusu-Agyeman.
“If they were making profits, it would have been a different story, but in the last three to five years, there has been deficit upon deficit. If you are making no profit and we begin to say we want to discipline and trim down expense and what have you, then you have to look at the whole thing.”
Cocoa workers should see the most benefit
He also expressed concern about the fact that many cocoa farmers whose activities are being supervised by these managers, have rather become poor in many instances.
“I saw one of the budgets where the amount of money allocated to cocoa farmers’ children amounted to basically GHc 2 million and that is easily the total gross salary of the two or three persons at the top. All I am saying is those who do the work should benefit more than anybody else,” he noted.