Minority to write to AfDB over ‘unacceptable’ US$600m cocoa loan
The Minority in Parliament has threatened to write to the African Development Bank (AfDB) over the US$600 million dollar loan facility it is extending to Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). The facility is to be used for the Cocoa Productivity Enhancement Programme.
But, 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.”
Parliament on Tuesday deferred the approval of a 600 million dollar loan facility for the COCOBOD’s cocoa productivity enhancement programme.
This was after the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu questioned the utilization of 68 million dollars for hand pollination, 5 million dollars as part of the school feeding programme for the distribution of chocolate and cocoa products and 200 million dollars to promote local processing of cocoa, among others.
The Majority has however justified the government’s plan to secure a $600m facility from ADB to expand the country’s cocoa sector.
This is because the facility it says is geared towards increasing productivity and the value of the sector.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Cocoa Board is optimistic the agreement will be passed the next time it comes up in the House.
Manager at the Office of the COCOBOD CEO, Fiifi Boafo, tells Citi News that further engagements have been held with the Minority in the hope that their concerns would be addressed.
“Some of them have enquired after what happened in parliament and explanations have been offered. 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.”