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Date: 12th May 2023

The Minister for Public Enterprises, Hon Joseph Cudjoe has commended the Board and Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for implementing sustainable operational practices that ensure efficiency and profitability of the cocoa sector which are worth emulating by other public enterprises in Ghana.

Hon. Cudjoe, accompanied by a delegation  from his outfit paid  a working visit to the management of the COCOBOD during which he said it was imperative for the ministry to apprise itself with the operations and performance of public enterprises in the wake of the current economic downturn which has affected many state organs. 

He explained that efficient performance of state enterprises is paramount in the President’s vision of building a viable and resilient economy where the contribution of public enterprises cannot be undermined.

The Minister lauded the role of COCOBOD, as a key state agency in the socio-economic development of the nation as it contributes to 2 percent of Ghana’s GDP. He said that since Ghana’s independence, over 1000 state enterprises which were set up, have reportedly failed due to poor corporate governance systems.

‘It is for this reason that, the Ministry has embarked on a monitoring exercise to interact with state enterprises to understand and appreciate their operational strategies, in order to advocate better for Government support, especially for a state enterprises in good standing like COCOBOD', he disclosed. 

Touching on a presentation of the operational strategy and modules implemented by the Board since 2017, the Hon. Minister was pleased with the socio-economic and environmental interventions such as the Cocoa management System (CMS), Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEP’s), Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, Living Income Differential (LID) and Cocoa Roads projects which the Board had pursued to complement Government’s infrastructural development agenda.

The Minister commended  Management for spearheading these interventions as they have gone a long way to support Government’s efforts at strengthening the economy.

 ‘I must say that I am pleased with the operational model put in place to tackle the challenges of compliance to international regulations on deforestation, child labour and illegal mining, alongside the fluctuation of international market prices on cocoa pricing. So far, these measures have made COCOBOD stand afloat to withstand the myriad of global challenges affecting cocoa trade. These organizational strategies are commendable and worthy of being replicated by other state enterprises involved in different food chains’, he emphasized.

He charged  Management to deal with its indebtedness by considering long term loan facilities and engage the Ministry regularly to fashion out policies geared towards improving the Board’s solvency to safeguard its image in Ghana’s public enterprises space.

The Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo was appreciative of the Minister’s directive in prioritizing COCOBOD during its performance monitoring exercise and appealed to him to help magnify the contributions of the Board to Government’s policy think-tanks to solicit adequate Government support  its  mandate.

In the light of this interaction, Hon. Boahen Aidoo made a passionate appeal to the Minister to spearhead policy designs aimed at providing tax exemptions, on the importation of inputs to state enterprises operating in the agricultural value chain. 

He noted that the recent removal of tax incentives by Government has led to skyrocketing operational costs borne by state agencies and increase in the general cost of living in the country, alongside other socio-economic ramifications that go along with the removal of tax incentives.

‘Public enterprises would need the support and collaboration of Government and its related agencies to weather the challenges and remain competitive. In the case of COCOBOD, we need interventions in policy design in the area of import duties and policies to regulate environmental activities’, he said.

The COCOBOD boss added that, with adequate support from Government in these domains, the burden of high producer prices would be reduced thereby encouraging producers to expand their ventures to sustain the sector. Speaking on smuggling and illegal mining which are major industry challenges, he called for tighter regulations and sanctions against offenders, adding that these two factors account for the losses registered by the sector in recent times.

He asserted that a review and design of practical policies and regulations by the relevant state legislators in these sectors will help sanitize the Public Enterprises space in Ghana, to make them competitive and viable. 

Hon. Aidoo assured the Minister of the Board’s commitment to collaborate with his outfit and relevant stakeholders to address the existing challenges in the cocoa sector to ensure sustainable cocoa production.

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