We want them to pay up their debt. So we encourage them to go for bank guarantees, if we are to deal with them in the future.
The Ghana Cocoa Board has charged local cocoa processing companies to acquire bank guarantees for future purchases of beans or risk a halt in supply.
This comes in the wake of revelations by COCOBOD, last week, that 5 local cocoa processing companies owed it a total sum of $ 250 million dollars. This compelled COCOBOD to take drastic measures to halt the continued supply of cocoa beans to the companies to save the board from going bankrupt.
The move is likely to affect more than 6,000 permanent and casual workers of the companies and their outsource service providers across the country.
Speaking to journalists in Accra last week, head of public relations at the Ghana Cocoa Board, Noah Amenya said “ The fact is that we want to encourage local marketing companies to enter the business of adding value to cocoa. But not at the expense of the operations of COCOBOD. We want them to pay up their debt. So we encourage them to go for bank guarantees, if we are to deal with them in the future. These guarantees will ensure that COCOBOD recoup our monies back when we supply local companies with cocoa.”
Five out of the 10 indigenous cocoa processing companies in the country owe the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) $250 million in unpaid bills under the Old Beans Supply Agreement. The amount owed COCOBOD ranges from $3 million to more than $50 million per company since 2010.
The companies are Plot Enterprise Ghana, Afro Tropical, Real Commodities, West African Mills Company (WAMCO) and the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).
Under the Old Beans Supply Agreement, companies buying from COCOBOD neither needed to pay upfront nor get a guarantor.
The companies were at liberty to lift the produce, process for sale and later pay COCOBOD its due