Parliament approves COCOBOD Amendment Bill

Parliament on Thursday, October 8, 2020, approved the Ghana COCOBOD Amendment Bill 2017 to move the oversight responsibility of COCOBOD from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The House approved the legislation without a quorum; with less than 30 MPs on the floor.

The Committee, by majority decision, recommended to the House to adopt its report and pass it in accordance with article 106 of the constitution 1992, and the standing orders of the house.

The bill seeks to amend section 39 of PNDCL 81, to vest ministerial responsibility for the activities of COCOBOD to the Hon Minister responsible for Agriculture.

During deliberations, the committee observed that “the intended change in ministerial responsibility under the law is to properly focus cocoa production as the foremost function of the board”.

It further stated that “it is imperative for the Minister responsible for Agriculture to have oversight responsibility for the Ghana Cocoa Board and related matters pertaining to the production of cocoa as an agricultural product,” in view of the fact that cocoa production is under the remit of the Agriculture sector.

A statement signed by the Chairman, Committee on constitutional, legal, and parliamentary affairs, Hon Ben Abdallah Banda, indicated that the committee is conscious of the fact that the functions of the COCOBOD go beyond the production of the cash crops.

The ministerial responsibilities under the law include the approval of prices of cocoa, coffee, and shea to be paid to farmers.

The Board is also responsible for the processing and marketing of these crops.

Having critically examined the Bill, the committee concluded that “the amendment is appropriate and would enhance ministerial responsibility of the Ghana Cocoa Board, and reposition the COCOBOD to deliver the target of producing 1 million tonnes of cocoa annually,” the statement noted.