The Minister of Finance, has strangely announced that he together with the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BOG), Dr Ernest Addison, will now be on the board of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in a desperate attempt to salvage the heavily-indebted institution.
According to Ken Ofori-Atta, a desk will also be instituted to ensure the forward-going of the institution.
Mr Ofori-Atta, had mentioned the desk in response to a question on the future of COCOBOD amidst high debt levels, including a GH¢10 billion debt owed road contractors, a GH¢16 billion and US$600 million Africa Development Bank (AfDB) labelled Cocoa Productivity Enhance Programme.
Interestingly, the BOG Governor, is already a member of the governing Board of COCOBOD.
Additionally, a Deputy Minister of Finance by law, is also a member of the Board of Directors of COCOBOD representing the Finance Ministry.
The Herald’s findings are that, Section 7 of the Ghana Cocoa Board Act (PNDCL 81, 2020 as amended) provides for the composition of the Board of Directors of COCOBOD.
According to the law, the Board shall be made of three members appointed by the Government, one of whom is the Chair of the Board; the chief executive; two farmers’ representatives; one representative of the working staff of the Board; the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, representatives of the Ministry of Finance and representatives of the Ministry of trade.
Thus, the Board is made of Government appointees, farmers and institutional representatives.
Tthe Board from 2017 to 2020 composed had Hackman Owusu Agyemang as the chairman, – (Government appointee), Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of Bank (replacing Dr Abdul Nashiru Issahaku), Kwame Sarpong, Government appointee, Nana Adwoa Dokua, Government Appointee, Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade, representing ministry of trade and industry, Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State for Food and Agriculture, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD as members.
Others were; Nana Johnson Mensah, Farmers’ Representative, Nana Obeng Akrofi as farmers’ representatives, Peter Atta Boakye, as the workers representative and Charles Adu-Boahen of the Ministry of Finance.
After the 2020 election, the board was reconstituted in 2021 to last in 2025. It has Peter Mac Manu, Chairman, a Government appointee, Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana; Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Charles Adu Boahen, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance; (up to November 2022), he is not officially replaced after his 2022 dismissal.
Others were; Madam Nana Adwoa Dokua, Government appointee, Nana Johnson Mensah, Farmers Representative, Nana Obeng Akrofi, Farmers Representative, Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry; Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture; Kwadjo Asante, the Member of Parliament for the Suhum Constituency and Edward Okoh Ampofo; COCOBOD Workers Representative.
The Finance Ministry, currently has Dr Amin Adam as a rep of COCOBOD attending meetings, although without locus because he has not been sworn-in officially. The Finance Minister’s position, therefore means that Dr Adam, a Minister of State, will soon be replaced.
“Both the Governor and I will now be on the board and the Ministry will set up a desk that will work with the Finance division at COCOBOD so that we manage the future in a much stronger way,” he said while addressing the press on October 6, 2023.
Dr Ernest Addison, also hinted at the press briefing that the size of this year’s Cocoa Syndicated Loan will reduce to about $800 million, which is a decline from the earlier figure of $1.2 billion.
He explained that this forms part of debt sustainability measures contained in the IMF programme to restore macroeconomic conditions across the cocoa value chain.
Dr Addison confirmed that the cocoa regulator [COCOBOD] will still receive the syndicated loan facility for this year.
“I think that they’re still getting the syndicated loan this year but it’s just that the size of the syndication has gone from I think $1.2 billion to $800 million,” he noted.
The development is however expected to impact Ghana’s cocoa output for the 2023/2024 crop season.
Details available to The Herald is that COCOBOD is on its knees as the many loans especially US$600 million Cocoa Productivity Enhance Programme which was to be used irrigate cocoa farms, prune existing farms as well as replant old and diseased farms have not lived up to expectation although the money cannot be traced.
In the 2021/22 cocoa season, out of 900,000 metric tones projected, COCOBOD got only 600,000 metric tones.
In the 2022/23 season, the board projected 800,000 metric tones, but got 655,000 metric tones.
The Herald, is also informed that the COCOBOD, is owing some major processing companies abroad 120 metric tones, and the board will have to cough up the beans sooner rather than later.
Source : The Herald