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23.11.2004 General News

Minority calls for payment of cocoa farmers' bonuses

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Accra, Nov. 23, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament on Tuesday called on the Government to honour its promise to pay cocoa farmers bonuses due them for the 2003/2004 season without any further delay.

In a statement signed by Mr J. Asiedu-Nketiah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Wenchi-West and Minority Spokesman for Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, the Caucus noted with concern the hardship cocoa farmers were currently going through due to undue delay in the payment of their bonuses.

The Caucus said it had in an earlier statement, called on the Government to increase the producer price to reflect the increased world market prices.

The statement said the Government, however, responded by stating in the 2003 Budget that it would open a "Price Equalization Account" into which windfalls would be paid and out of which bonuses would be paid to farmers.

It called on government to tell Ghanaians the name of the bank where the account was being maintained, the account number, the amount of money so far paid into it, withdrawals made and the current balance. The statement cautioned the Government against any attempt to divert cocoa farmers money into subsidizing fuel prices or any other election related expenditure.

It said the Government would be made to account for every pesewa of farmers' money they misapplied after they had been voted out of power on December 7.

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