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14.12.2010 General News

Government urged to consider forming Ghana Oil Palm Board

By GNA
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December 14, 2010
Benso (W/R), Dec 14, GNA - The management and workers of Benso Oil Palm Plantations (BOPP) have proposed to the government to consider forming a Ghana Oil Palm Board.

They said this would enable the oil palm industry to grow, create many jobs and generate huge revenues for businesses and the state.

Neneyo Mate-Kole, the Managing Director of BOPP, said this in his address at the annual workers' durbar and awards day held at Benso on Saturday.

He said the Board structure, composition and mandate should be similar to what Malaysia had tried and tested over the years.

Neneyo Mate-Kole said management and workers of BOPP had a draft proposal for a bill on the subject and would seek an opportunity to present it to the Ministry of Trade and Industry for study, adoption and ultimate passage into law by Parliament.

"In order that the excitement around the oil find does not eclipse this high potential sector, this matter must be taken up with speed," Neneyo Mate-Kole said.

On environmental issues, he said BOPP had become the proud recipient of this year's Millennium Excellence Award (MEA) of Climate Change - Going Green category.

He said "this is a monumental achievement and recognition that our employees and stakeholders must feel proud about in respect of the sustainable agricultural practices the company employs in its operation".

He said as part of the Company's corporate responsibility a scholarships scheme was instituted in 2000 and had to date sponsored 24 senior high school students from communities in its catchments area.

One of the beneficiaries of scholarship scheme is a student from Benso who is pursuing a PhD programme in the Netherlands in Architectural Design and Engineering.

Neneyo Mate-Kole congratulated the award winners for their hard work.

Mr Edward Kareweh, the Deputy General Secretary of the General Agriculture Workers Union, assured the workers that the change of ownership and management of BOPP next year would not erode the capacity of the Union to continue to secure better conditions of service for workers.

Unilever is in the process of disinvesting its interest in the plantations business of BOPP by the end of March 2011.

He said the Union was in a better position to engage the new owner at all levels of negotiations for purposes of increasing productivity and improving conditions he added.

Mr Stephen Ayeepah, the Union Chairman of BOPP, said now that Unilever was disposing its interest in the palm plantation, at least severance pay as contained in the Labour Law should be considered and paid to the entire workforce.

Forty-six workers were honoured with prizes that included gas cookers, ice chest, cutlasses, Willington boots and gas cylinders.

GNA

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