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Business News of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah

Cocoa farmers and Cocobod staff angry over politicization of scholarship scheme

What appears to be the over-politicization of Cocobod’s scholarship scheme for needy but brilliant children of the nation’s cocoa farmers and staff of Cocobod has incurred their wrath.

Speaking on grounds of anonymity at this year’s Copal-Day celebration at Agona-Swedru, the poor and angry cocoa farmers thoughtfully revealed that government functionaries have since 2009 hijacked the scheme.

“Since the change of government in 2009, the Cocobod scholarship scheme which used to support our poor children has been hijacked by Ministers and District chief Executives who are not part of our group,” they complained.

They stressed, “Due to the politicization of the scheme, it has now become selective and what is even worrying is that we have to travel long distances to send our applications to the Cocobod head office in Accra.”

They described the negative impact of the situation as unbearable saying, “Already we are poor and the situation has compelled most of our children to stop schooling because we cannot afford to pay their fees.”

They have therefore resolved to vote massively for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in this year’s elections to get their children back to school courtesy Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo’s flagship free SHS campaign promise.

“We are going out in our numbers to vote massively for Nana Akufo on December 7 to enable him implement his free SHS concept to enable our children have good education.”

Backing the poor cocoa farmers standpoint, majority of Cocobod staff in an interview confirmed the scheme’s politicization and therefore declared their unflinching support for Nana Addo’s free SHS campaign promise.

They maintained that, “We are in full support of the free SHS concept and we consider it as something that will lessen our financial burden on catering for our children’s education.”

“Cocobod has since 2009 neglected its corporate and social responsibilities like provision of portable drinking water, school infrastructure and upgrading feeder roads in cocoa growing communities,” they disclosed.

They further alleged that Cocobod’s resources have been diverted into financing the ruling NDC campaign activities.

The Cocobod staff also chastised government for deceiving them at the Copal-Day event that a special bonus package awaited them which has not been delivered. “Whiles government staff are enjoying the Single-Spine Salary Structure, we the Cocobod staff who lay the golden eggs have been left out even though government announced a bonus package for us and cocoa farmers at the Copal-day durbar grounds.”

Authorities at Cocobod have remained tight lipped on this matter at the time of going to bed.

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