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COCOBOD’s GH₵4,500 keyboard saga: It’s like using a GH₵1 duster to clean a shoe – Prof. Adei

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General News of Thursday, 11 April 2024

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Senior Ghanaian economist and public administrator, Professor Stephen Adei has shot down public criticism of the decision by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to procure iPad keyboards for the company’s board members.

According to Prof. Adei, it is not out of place for COCOBOD to see it necessary for its board members to have the keyboards for the dedicated iPads considering the status of the state-owned company and the kind of work they are required to do.

“Sometimes we make mountains out of anthills. COCOBOD is a multi-billion organisation. If they are working like any other board now, they do a lot of things by Zoom and the rest of it and I think there should also be some protection of the materials… So if they need it for their job, it is like saying you clean your shoe with a Shell duster that costs GH₵1. I don’t think that if they are doing their job that should be something we should be sitting here discussing at all.

I serve on the board of Adansi Rural Bank, to see the magnitude, Adansi Rural Bank we are seven [on the board]. Each one of us has been given an iPad which is coded so that we have our system and every information is sent to us. So if Adansi Rural Bank can do that, why should I sit here and talk about COCOBOD,” he told GHOne TV in an interview.

While the critics have called the price of the keyboards and its prioritisation into question, Prof. Adei maintained that while there is always the need to be concerned about issues of corruption, the focus on the COCOBOD iPad keyboards is misplaced.

“So I think it’s not an issue. The problem sometimes we have is because of the widespread corruption, and you can talk about it in the system, the ordinary person who is struggling for GH₵10 in the morning feels that you’ve bought a tablet or keyboard of GH₵5,000 for somebody, who? But at that level, that is not the issue to be discussed. What is to be discussed is whether they are being efficient, they are keeping an eye on the management, not wasting our billions of money that they have these cocoa bonds not being paid, pensioners dying so-called for not having the services they need with their own money. These are the weightier things so let us not digress,” he stated.

Meanwhile, COCOBOD has issued a statement noting that the decision to purchase the keyboards is only at a proposal level and has not reached the procurement stage.

An earlier memo, originating from the Information Systems Department, requested approval for the procurement of iPad keyboards, each costing four thousand five hundred Cedis (GH¢4,500.00) for the agency’s Board of Directors.

This resulted in a massive backlash on and off social media.

However, in a statement released on April 1, 2024, the COCOBOD management said that the memo was just a proposal request and that it had not sanctioned the procurement.

It explained that the request was made due to the adoption of the “CONVENE” App to enhance productivity and reduce paper usage during board meetings.

The statement emphasised that the request is pending approval and no transactions have occurred.

GA/DO

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