COCOBOD council has denied media reports that the actions of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and its staff have cost the country about US$600 million.
The highest decision-making body of unionised workers in the cocoa sector, the Supreme Consultative Council, has denied media reports that the actions of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and its staff have cost the country about US$600 million in cocoa money this year.
It has, therefore, appealed to the media and the general public to desist from spreading such misinformation, else it will lower the morale of the thousands of people working in the sector.
The chairman of the council, Alhaji Hassan Iddris, also warned his colleagues, especially those at management level, to desist from aiding in the spread of wrong information through the leaking of documents to the media and general public.
"We all know that peace and tranquility brings about high productivity and if that peace is endangered because of wrong reports, misinformation and accusations, then the morale of the staff can go down and that will affect productivity in this all important industry," he said at an emergency meeting at COCOBOD's head office in Accra.
The meeting was at the instance of the Supreme Consultative Council, which is the governing body of the six labour unions in each of the six institutions operating under the COCOBOD, the body that regulates the country's cocoa sector.
The meeting was to update unionised staff on the board, as well as respond to recent media reports on the activities of COCOBOD.
Mr Iddris pointed to earlier reports which alleged that wrong policy decisions by the Chief Executive Officer of the board, Dr Stephen Opuni, and his management staff had led to the loss of more than US$600 million over the past few months.
The council also used the meeting to address issues regarding the distribution of fertiliser and other cocoa inputs meant for farmers, disciplinary actions taken against erring staff and the use of cocoa facilities and materials nationwide.
"I will not say that we are clean but when wrong accusations are levelled and nothing is done or said, it can fuel animosity and that is what we do not want. Cocoa is a very important crop to this country and we need to be careful how we deal with issues in the sector," he said at the meeting which was attended by members and executive members of the council.
Mr Iddris mentioned the US$1.7 billion cocoa loan in the 2014/15 crop season, which helped to "stabilise the volatilities in the economy last year."
While noting that the council was aware of the need to hold management accountable for the benefit of unionised staff, and the industry as a whole, Alhaji Iddris said the union feared a situation where allegations that were not addressed would fester and later create resentment among staff and management.
He thus called on the workers to remain calm and be resolute behind the council as it worked to address the various labour-related issues they faced.
He commended management and staff for what he described as a harmonious working environment and called on both parties to maintain that for the benefit of the industry.
As social partners in the sector, Alhaji Iddris said the union would continue to liaise with management and staff to help create the environment needed to sustain growth in the cocoa business while ensuring that discipline was instilled.