The new Board Chairman of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, believes the slashing of the “outrageous” salaries of COCOBOD’s top management is only a reasonable step to align the Board 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 asserted on Eyewitness News.
Mr. Owusu-Agyeman has indicated that even after the planned cut in salaries, some of the top management will still earn more that the highest paid article 71 office holders which is pegged at GHc 22,000. “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,” 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. Mr. Owusu-Agyeman was sworn in today [Tuesday] by President Nana Addo as Chairman of the Board, together with other board members.