COCOBOD US$1.8bn Cocoa Syndicated loan 'all gone' - Hackman

The newly sworn-in Chairman of the Ghana COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman suggested that government must make a timely intervention by raising funds to clear the arrears as the production season draws closer.

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The US$1.8 billion Cocoa Syndicated Loan meant for this year’s cocoa production season has been exhausted even though there are outstanding payments yet to be made.

This was revealed by the newly sworn-in Chairman of the Ghana COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman.

He said it was worrying that the funds were all not invested in the cocoa sector to improve this year’s yield.

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“The syndicated loan of 1.8 billion dollars that we have hoped to you use for this production year, unfortunately, Mr President it’s all gone and we are yet finish the purchase  of the crop.”

He was speaking after he and the board members of COCOBOD were sworn-in by President Akufo-Addo.

On Accra-based Citi FM, he said: “the 1.8 billion dollars that we had syndicated for the cocoa has all been exhausted, meanwhile there is still cocoa out there that we must buy.”

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“Obviously we did not use all the money to buy the cocoa. There are still commitments out there that we must take care of. There was indiscipline in using the money,” he stressed.

He suggested that government must make a timely intervention by raising funds to clear the arrears as the production season draws closer.

“It falls on us to immediately try and organise some financing to carry on the process. The decline in production exacerbates the situation just as the farmers are also selling their farms to galamsey. Smuggling at the borders is also a source of great concern. Huge indebted of the sector of the COCOBOD is something that we really have to tackle,” he said.

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Mr Owusu-Agyeman also indicated the intention of the newly sworn-in board to cut in “outrageous” salaries of COCOBOD’s top management to ensure that the Board does not go beyond the state remuneration structure.

According to him, in spite of plans to slash salaries, some top managers of Cocobod will still earn more than the president and other Article 71 office holders which are pegged around GHC22,000.

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