The National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament says President Akufo-Addo and his government have no credible record to merit any comparison with the legacy of former President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC as far as the cocoa sector is concerned.
Reacting to recent comments made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his tour of the Western region, the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food and Agriculture, Eric Opoku, said cocoa farmers ‘today’ are far worse off than they were under Mr. Mahama and the NDC.
He stated that Cocoa output has declined steadily, whilst all major projects in the cocoa sector have taken a nosedive since President Akufo-Addo assumed office.
Eric Opoku, made the allegations at a press conference held on Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Accra.
He however, outlined a number of interventions the previous government led by John Mahama had in place to ensure increased cocoa production.
These include free fertilizer distribution to cocoa Farmers and free cocoa hybrid Seedlings.
Eric Opoku who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South, also alleged that the NPP government illegally paid $10 million to a private audit firm to probe cocoa road projects.
“…What the Akufo-Addo government has succeeded in doing is to waste millions of the tax payer’s money on illegally procured audits not sanctioned by the Auditor General. We are aware that $10 million has been paid to one of such illegally procured private audit firms owned by a member of Akufo-Addo’s Council of State and at the right time, we shall make the chilling details available to the Ghanaian people,” he said.
The Akufo-Addo administration suspended cocoa road projects in 2017 for an audit over corruption concerns.
But responding to the position of the Minority in Parliament that the expenditure was illegal, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has defended the government’s $10 million expenditure on cocoa roads audit.
The Communications Manager at COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo an interview with an Accra radio, ‘Citi News’ that the expenditure was necessary.
“Management was of the view that certain things were not clear and it was the need for us to have a better understanding of what we are committing state funds to…. For instance if a road that was supposed to cost $17 million balloon to $100 million and you take over as management and you want to go ahead and do it without asking questions or getting experts to advice you, and you go ahead, we do not think that is a better way of doing things,” he said.