The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will compensate security personnel in the Volta and Oti Regions for the risk they take in foiling cocoa smuggling activities which occur along the eastern corridor of the country.
Members of the public who aid the security agencies by providing information which prove to be vital to the apprehension of the criminals will also be rewarded.
This decision, which was taken by the Board of Directors of COCOBOD, was announced by its Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, during a press conference at the offices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC), after paying a courtesy call on the Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa, and some members of the VRCC.
"The Board of Directors has approved of some motivational package, more or less, in a form of a compensation to the security personnel who risk their lives to curb the smuggling of cocoa,” Mr Boahen Aidoo revealed.
Due to the fact that we want to have all our cocoa intact to trade, the COCOBOD Boss said, for every contraband cocoa [seized by the security personnel] two-thirds (2/3) of the value of the proceeds from the sale of the seized cocoa will be given to the security personnel involved in the seizure as well as any other person(s) who aided the personnel.
This decision, he noted, was taken after a thorough assessment of what he described as the “unpatriotic” and “un-Ghanaian” activities of smugglers along the eastern corridor, and the need to assist the security personnel in those areas, as they protect a vital national commodity.
“There are a number of cases whereby they’ve (the security personnel) tried to curb the smuggling of cocoa across the border at the peril of their lives. We’ve had situations where the security agencies have accosted contraband beans and then the youth have mobilised to confront them with offensive weapons. So, our security personnel have been putting their lives on the line, just to ensure that the economy of the nation is protected. It is in that sense that today, I have come to appreciate on behalf of the board of directors and the management of COCOBOD, the work of the security council.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo pointed out that each bag of Ghana’s cocoa which is sold without going through the trading procedures set by COCOBOD, amount to a loss of revenue for the country; some of which goes to fund COCOBOD’s numerous initiatives in cocoa-growing communities, such as, the Productivity Enhancement Programmes, road constructions and other infrastructural projects.
There is also the loss of the extra income which accrues to farmers through the application of the Living Income Differential (LID).
He said the hope is that the risk compensation package will engender greater vigilance among the security personnel and within the communities in the regions to root out the operations of the smugglers.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo’s visit to the Volta Regional Coordinating Council forms part of his three-day field inspection and farmer-engagement tour of the Volta and Oti Regions.
He is being accompanied by two of his three deputies as well as the heads of various divisions, departments and subsidiaries of COCOBOD.
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