The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has ignored caution from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament from going for a $600 million loan facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to expand the country’s cocoa sector.
COCOBOD says it is optimistic that the loan agreement would be Okayed by Parliament the next time it is laid before the legislative chamber.
The minority had raised some
concerns that forced Parliament to defer the approval of the loan facility on
The Minority argued that COCOBOD had questionably used similar funds secured recently. Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu cited the US$ 68 million used by COCOBOD for hand pollination of cocoa plants, US$5 million used as part of the school feeding programme for the distribution of chocolate and cocoa products and US$ 200 million used promote local processing of cocoa, among others.
“We do not think the situation is going to remain the same when parliament reconvenes because a lot of the things that were said was out of the fact that some members were not privy to all the relevant information on this whole loan facility,” says Fiifi Boafo, the Communications Manager of COCOBOD who tried to explain the expenditure of COCOBOD’s previous loan facility.
“It is our considered view that being informed about what the whole facility is about and it seeks to help cocoa farmers and the entire cocoa industry of the country when parliament reconvenes, a decision will be made. There is the need for us to go ahead because this money will be put to proper use and will be beneficial to our country”, he added.
Already, the Minority in Parliament has threatened to write to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to reject the application for the loan facility.
Cassiel Ato Forson, the Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee argues that the agreement is not in the best interest of the country, hence the resistance.
“The Minority members are going to write officially to the lenders to protest the use of the proceeds of the US$600 million. The structure of the loan agreement is unacceptable. It is an outlier and nobody should encourage this thing to happen in our republic. We are here as citizens and not as spectators. We will fight for the Republic of Ghana because this is not acceptable,” Ato Forson hinted.