A modern accommodation facility initiated by the erstwhile, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni-led COCOBOD Management and Board, has been commissioned at a ceremony at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
The $34 million facility, at ‘Cocoa Village’ in the Tema West Constituency, will give over 200 staff, decent accommodation which until the completion of the facility, had been one of the biggest challenges facing workers of COCOBOD.
Work on the 208 units block edifice, started in February 2016, after contract with an Israeli company, Amandi Group, was signed in December 2015.
Each apartment has two bedrooms, toilet and bath and a hall.
At a ceremony to handover the edifice to management and board, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said the edifice forms part of efforts by management to provide accommodation for staff.
He said, it was in line with that vision, that his predecessors initiated the project adding,the provision of accommodation, transport and other welfare packages, are high on the agenda.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, added management takes them very serious and is committed to find solution to.
Mr Boahen Aidoo, who commended the previous administration for initiating the project, leading to the face-lifting of the old ‘Cocoa Village’ said the current administration, had to review the contract downwards upon assumption of office, for value for money reasons.
According to him, after engaging the contractors who rejected their claim of inflating the contract, Amandi Group, later obliged management it request to reduce the cost by $2 million just to satisfy the government, following which the contractors built additional 16 apartments to cover the said amount.
“I must place on record while commending the previous management that originally, 192 units of apartments, were to be built here [costing] US$34 million.
Now, when the new administration took over under the auspices of the Hon. Chairman, Hackman OwusuAgyeman, we decided to review the cost of putting up all this facility and in doing so, we amended the project contract and we were able to secure additional block which is going to give us 16 apartments. In simple calculation, that saved Ghana Cocoa Board and our hardworking farmers an amount of US$2million.
The negotiation was led by our Board Chairman and we have been able to take US$2 million which is contributing to the additional block of 15 apartments”.
Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, said accommodation challenges is one issue they are going to pay attention to, announcing that the wish of workers to have Phase Two of the project underway, has been taken on board and work will commence as soon as possible.
He commended the contractors for agreeing to continue to work with the new administration even after he led in negotiating that certain additions (eg. wardrobe, fan) be included in the project.
Mr Owusu Agyeman, asked management to have a team at the premises, which would monitor every activity at the facility and also sanction anyone who works to destroy it. “We can’t turn this to another Nima”.
He warned under no circumstance should any member of the staff be allowed to bring in container for any business of the sort.
In allocating the apartment, Mr Owusu Agyeman, asked that those that would be put in charge for that purpose be fair and transparent.
“This is a board with a vision, even the Cocoa Clinic in Accra is going to be modernized completely into brand new referral medical centre. Again, we are going to establish a world cocoa centre also at the old site.
The roads at the Mampong Hospital are being done by COCOBOD, all these are part of our corporate social responsibility. The Board Chairman joined in the calls to ensure the usual Ghanaian lack of maintenance culture does not leave the edifice in a bad state in few years to come”.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema West and a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkrah, applauded COCOBOD for the project and added that knowing the deplorable state the old ‘Cocoa Village’ was in, he pleaded that COCOBOD ensures that, occupants of the facility, are not allowed to bring in just anybody to come and work for electrical, plumbing and other woks.
He recommended that, COCOBOD, employs such artisans permanently so that they are stationed on the premises for any artisanal work on the apartments.
“I like to also mention that, I grew up here, I was born here in Tema I know how this place looked like. Most building in Tema were built in the 1960sand the place was near deterioration,if it was not deteriorated so, it was a very god idea to bring everything down and put high rise building as we see it today”.
He further called on the contractors to come to the aid of his constituents by collaborating with the constituency to bring down most of the old buildings and replace them with modeling high rise buildings.